It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, a preschool teacher, an early interventionist, or a speech-language pathologist, you know the importance of teaching body parts. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), children should be able to identify a few body parts between the age of 1-2 years.
Maybe your student still needs to learn body parts, or maybe you are wanting to reinforce some emerging skills, but if you have landed on this page it is because you are searching for some ideas to teach body parts…so let’s dig in!
Books For Teaching Body Parts
Like any speech therapist, I love using books to introduce/teach/practice new vocabulary. For body parts, my favorite book is “Toes, Ears, and Nose” by Marion Dane Bauer and Karen Katz.
To turn this book into an interactive lesson for my little learners, I like to print out pictures of each body part featured in the book using a program like Boardmaker or Symbolstix. As we read the book, I help my students match the printed image to the picture in the book. This works on matching two non-identical pictures and helps my kiddos stay engaged while we are reading. I have yet to meet a kid who didn’t like ripping apart two pieces of Velcro.
Songs for Teaching Body Parts
I am sure we all like to use Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as our song companion when we teach body parts. So today, instead of recommending a new song, I would like to suggest a YouTube channel. If you haven’t already discovered the YouTube channel Cocomelon, I would strongly encourage you to watch some of their videos. I love these videos because the characters have great facial expressions and use really good nonverbal language. I also like that they take traditional songs and put a new spin on them. Here is their version of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes if you would like to check it out.
Engaging Activities for Teaching Body Parts
Activity #1: I can’t take credit for this first activity. I have seen it a few times on social media, but its such a genius activity that I wanted to share it here, just in case you haven’t seen it.
You will need band aids and a stuffed animal or doll, that’s it. Pretend that your toy has gotten hurt and needs a band aid, then help your student put a bandage on the hurt body part. I mean, what kid doesn’t love playing with band aids? And what teacher doesn’t like working on pretend play skills, body part vocabulary, and following directions at the same time? That sounds like a win-win scenario if I’ve ever heard one.
Activity #2: Preschoolers + Play Dough = True Love, #amiright?
For this next activity I used my play dough smash mats from the Body Part Activity Packet I created on Teachers Pay Teachers. Your students can have fun smashing out their favorite colored play dough while you are teaching vocabulary and following directions. Fun and multitasking? Another win for the teacher.
Activity #3: Sensory Bins. So you may not want to do this one if you really hate cleaning up messes…but if a little mess doesn’t bother you and you want to take a multi sensory approach to your lesson, give this one a try. And hey, you can always have your students practice those functional cleaning skills when you are done.
For this activity you will need a container and a filler and pictures of the body parts you want to practice. Dry rice, dry beans, dry pasta, pom poms, and cotton balls are all common fillers. For the container, lot of teachers like to use empty supply boxes or food storage containers. You can also use a clothes pin or tweezers to grab the pictures out of the bin for a fun fine motor challenge. To create these images, I have used the matching picture-to-picture worksheet that is included in my Body Part Activity Packet.
All your students have to do is find the picture in the filler and practice matching them to their counter parts. Burying the picture under the filler for a little scavenger hunt is extra fun-but again, messy. I especially love this activity for learners who have limited language abilities.
Activity #4: Slap the picture.
For this activity you will need images of the vocabulary you are wanting to teach and something to hit the picture. I like to laminate the picture and use these little suction hammer things to grab it. I got my hammers as part of another game, but you can use a fly swatter, a pointer, or students can use their hands. You can do this activity individually, or students can compete against each other.
Activity #5: Sentence Builder
For this activity you will need a mirror and some picture cards to use as a visual cue. Students find a body part while looking in a mirror, then make the sentence “I see my _____.” I’ll even give you bonus points if you make silly faces while you look in the mirror. 😉
We have reached the end of this post and I truly hope you have found some activities you can take with you as you teach your students about body parts. If you would like to see these activities and more like them, check out my Body Part Activity Packet on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking the image below.