Children are often more eager to explore and learn when the learning is about them. This skeleton anatomy activity uses your child’s own image and two free printables to help them understand how the skeletal system is constructed. Sounds complicated, but it is not. Due to how simple this learning activity really is, it is easily adaptable to preschoolers aged 3-5 years and also elementary kids who are in Kindergarten and up.
Young children ask a lot of questions about their bodies-how they are constructed, why they do certain things, and how all the systems work together. It can be difficult to explain the inside of the human body to preschool and elementary-aged children, since they tend to have to see something to believe and understand it. There are ways to make the learning more hands on so that what can’t be seen can be explored in fun ways.
FREE Printable skeleton worksheet with bone/joint name labels (same link as above worksheet, you just have to click the arrow to page 2)
full body (head to feet) picture of your child printed in 4×6 or 5×7 size
children’s book about skeletons (list below) (optional)
clear contact paper, clear packing tape or laminator (optional)
Take a full-length picture of your child. Have your child stand with arms and legs slightly apart as in the image here.
Print off your child’s picture. (Using photo paper or cardstock helps keep the image more durable.) Laminate it if you choose.
Print off The Skeletal System worksheet from KB Teachers and cut apart the bones to create individual skeleton pieces. Cut the hand as one piece otherwise the finger pieces will be too tiny to work with. You certainly can leave the whole arm as one full piece, or two separate pieces to emphasize the elbow joint. (This sounds a little gruesome, but it’s just paper!) These pieces can be laminated if desired-they will last longer.
Prepare the materials so they are ready for your child. Placing the pieces on a cookie sheet or tray can help them stay together and be ready for your child.
I highly recommend reading a book about the human body. Children love the close contact that they get with us when we are reading to them and what better way to reinforce that reading is exciting than by letting them see all that they can learn in a book.
Many of the activities I have shared on the Preschool Activities page were inspired by books that my children and I read together to help teach a deeper concept. Here are affiliate links to a few children’s books for learning about the body.
Time to play! Using the paper bone pieces, help your child match the skeletal pieces to their picture. Older kids can try it on their own. My 3 1/2 year old was completing this one-she asked multiple times to do it again, so we have already gotten some good use out of it!
This is so much more helpful than just looking at a diagram of a skeleton and having your child think about what the bones look like-they can actually see what parts are where in their own body. You can place a piece of rolled masking tape or double stick tape, on the back of each paper bone piece to help it stick to the picture, but we did not have a problem with the bone pieces moving around.
Use the list of bone/joint names from the skeleton printable worksheet to identify the bones of the body. Cut the names apart, and laminate. Read the label name to your child and have them (or help them depending on their age) place the label on or near its corresponding bone or joint.
Use the printable skeleton worksheet with the labels as a guide. This will increase print awareness and encourage reading. For elementary school-age kids, this will help the activity dive deeper.My older children enjoyed learning about their “insides.” Not only is this a fun activity to learn about the skeleton, it teaches a deeper understanding of anatomy to children as young as preschool age!
This activity is featured in A Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: Kids Activities. View the HUGE resource of activities for preschool, toddlers, infants and school age kids including Montessori activities and free printables HERE.
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Enjoy your time at home!