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22 Simple Body Parts Activities for Preschoolers

Starting a ‘My Body Theme’ with your kids at home or school? Here are some fun body parts activities for preschoolers. 

They are all play-based ideas incorporating art, music and movement, stories and discussions, science and maths, cooking and dramatic play.

Kids need to develop an awareness of and appreciation for their bodies for several different reasons. 

When they become more aware of their body parts and their remarkable functions, they learn to feel confident about all the different things their amazing bodies can accomplish. 

In addition, understanding how their bodies move and where they are positioned in space increases body awareness

Knowing how they relate to people and objects helps when children move their bodies, determine how close to stand near others, and when moving from one spot to another. 

A great deal of this learning happens naturally during the course of a day. 

Parents and teachers can also ensure that human body preschool activities are integrated into all areas of play, such as art, music, movement and storytime. 

Here are 22 ideas to get you started.

Creative Art 

Kids love to produce various types of “masterpieces,” and body parts art is a great opportunity to increase awareness of their bodies.

1. Body Tracing

Children lie on lengths of paper to be traced around by adults. 

Then kids can decorate their tracings with their names, body details and labels of body parts, depending on their age and level of learning.

2. Hand and Foot Painting

Working outside, when possible, paint the bottoms of feet and palms of hands with washable paints. 

Children then press their feet or hands onto large sheets of paper, leaving colourful prints. Make sure you have plenty of soapy water available for cleanups.

3. Bone Painting with Cotton Swabs

Show kids several examples of x-rays. Give them cutouts of the human form on dark construction paper (or traced for them to cut out). 

They can then dip cotton swabs (such as Q-tips or cotton buds) into white tempera and paint “bones” on their cutouts.

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4. Fingerprinting Fun

Share one of the Ed Emberley fingerprinting fun books, showing how cute pictures can be made with fingerprints:

Sale
Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book
  • Emberley, Ed (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Provide washable coloured ink pads and plain paper, urging kids to design their own fingerprint pictures by adding details with pencils or markers.

XoreArt Craft Rainbow Finger Ink Pads, Set of 6 DIY Multicolor Craft Stamp Pads for Kids...
  • High Quality and Beautiful Color: Non-toxic and easy to clean, 24 shades of gorgeous colors looks pretty good,...
  • Applicable Wide: Applicable to fabric, wood, paper, scrapbooking card-making, posters, notepads, journals. The...

5. Modeling with Playdough 

Get kids to make fun 3-D figures of bodies. Show them how to take pieces of dough and roll them to make limbs, or into a round ball for a head.

They can also form large, flatter models of faces with the appropriate features affixed.

Here’s a recipe for easy playdough without cream of tartar.

Child making a body with playdough

Music and Movement

Many movement activities, games and songs about body parts reinforce the concepts in a fun way, often giving preschoolers some exercise at the same time.

6. Playing and Singing Old Favorites

These songs teach the body parts as well as movements that the body makes.

  • Hokey Pokey
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Shake Your Sillies Out
  • Open, Shut Them
  • Simon Says
  • Where is Thumbkin?
  • Scrub a Dub Dub Song

7. Moving to the Beat

Using clips of different music types, challenge kids to adjust their dancing to fit the speed and mood of the various tunes without touching any of the other dancers!

Children dancing and moving in class

8. Moving Like Animals

Look at pictures of and discuss various types of animals. 

  • How would they move their heads? 
  • How would they walk and prance? 
  • What sounds could come from their mouths? 

Encourage children to move and behave like the animals of the forest, farm, or jungle.

9. Body Balancing

Show kids how to walk along a rope or masking tape “balance beam” affixed to the floor. 

Add more of a challenge by asking them to walk with a beanbag in various positions: on the head, in the hands, in the crook of an elbow, under the chin, etc.

Stories and Discussion

Share stories about body parts with preschoolers, discussing them as seems fitting. Books can be non-fiction/informational or presented in a fictional manner. 

10. Sharing Books and Videos

Tons of books in print and other media can be found at the library and online. Here are just a few popular titles that fit with the human body theme:

My Hands / My Feet / I’m Growing – by Aliki

Sale
My Hands (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science)
  • Aliki (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Parts – Tedd Arnold

Sale
Parts (Picture Puffin Books)
  • Arnold, Tedd (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Your Body – Melvin and Gilda Berger

Your Body
  • Melvin A. Berger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Belly Button Book – Sandra Boynton

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Belly Button Book (Boynton on Board)
  • Boynton, Sandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

From Head to Toe – Eric Carle

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From Head to Toe Board Book
  • Carle, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body – Joanna Cole

Sale
The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
  • Author Joanna Cole
  • 40 pages paperback

Bonaparte Falls Apart – Margery Cuyler

Bonaparte Falls Apart: A Funny Skeleton Book for Kids and Toddlers
  • Cuyler, Margery (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Here Are My Hands – Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Sale
Here Are My Hands
  • Bill Martin, Jr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Nose Book / The Ear Book – Al Perkins

The Ear Book (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))
  • Perkins, Al (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Tooth Book – Dr. Seuss

Sale
The Tooth Book (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))
  • Seuss, Dr. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Hear Your Heart – Paul Showers

Hear Your Heart (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
  • Showers, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

11. Writing and Illustrating a Class Book

After sharing a variety of books about bodies, urge children to help write a class book based on a popular title. 

They dictate while you write on a large chart paper tablet, leaving open spaces for illustrations. After the writing is finished, kids help illustrate the pages. 

When completed, read the book together.

Dramatic Play

Make dress-up clothes, puppets, dolls and various types of props available to children for encouraging the use of their imaginations.

Child playing with puppets

12. Acting Out Literature

After reading and discussing fictional stories that fit with the body parts theme, invite preschoolers to act out the stories, using puppets, costumes and props.

Here are four types of puppets that are easy to make.

13. Playing Hospital

Provide simple pretend or real tools and supplies that doctors and nurses often use, encouraging dramatic play. 

Don’t forget to include papers and pencils for the “office work” that often accompanies this type of setting.

Science and Maths

Many science and maths concepts can be presented through play-based learning. To fit with the human body parts theme, think about counting, body symmetry and how various body parts work.

14. Exploring Body Symmetry

Fold or draw lines vertically in the middle of body shapes from top to bottom. 

Talk about how both sides have one of each facial feature or appendage, and how each foot or hand has five of their own appendages.

A great book to use with this topic is Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy.

Sale
Seeing Symmetry
  • Leedy, Loreen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

15. Counting Bones

Put together, our two feet contain 52 bones! Show what 52 of something looks like in materials such as small building blocks or dominoes. 

Practise counting up to 52 together. Share The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss.

Sale

16. Digesting Stomachs

Offer small sealable plastic bags and a variety of foods that are easily smashed, smushed and mushed. 

Children choose the foods for their plastic “stomachs,” seal them closed and apply pressure with their hands to show what happens to foods when they are digested.

17. Measuring with Non-Standard Units

Kids can measure things around the room without tape measures or rulers. Encourage them to use their own feet to measure and compare distances or lengths of various large objects. 

They can list these, by drawing pictures of the items on paper and noting the number of how many “feet” long they each measure.

Here are more measurement activities for preschoolers.

18. Sorting Body Parts

Children cut/tear out pictures of various body parts from magazines. 

They can then glue them into pre-set categories (heads, arms, hands, legs, feet, etc.) on a large, labelled sheet of paper to form a collage.

Cooking

Cooking activities should be integrated where possible into every theme.

19. Designing Fruit and Veggie Faces

Provide kids with the bases such as toasted bread, heated tortillas, or English muffins, to be spread with choices such as cream cheese or peanut/plant butter. 

Faces on toast made with banana, blueberries and peanut butter.

Offer a variety of healthy foods they can arrange for facial features, such as raisins, carrot/banana coins and apple slices.

20. Cutting and Spreading

While making easy snacks, such as cracker “sandwiches,” kids practise controlling their fingers, hands and arms while using safe tools to cut and spread various food items.

Free Play 

Here are two more ideas to incorporate while children are playing freely.

21. Taking Heartbeat Breaks

During free play time, take occasional breaks for children to feel their chests for elevated heartbeats as compared to how they feel when at rest. 

22. Spontaneous Exercising

While playing outside, children exercise and become even more aware of their bodies by running, jumping, crawling, skipping and climbing. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas for teaching body parts to preschoolers. As you can see, body theme activities can be carefully planned or spontaneous. 

Pick and choose as you wish, even incorporating challenges into cleanup time: “lift the blocks using only your thumbs and pointer fingers” or “bulldoze the blocks toward the corner using only your feet!”

The opportunities for learning are endless.

Here are more preschool themes if you need some fresh ideas.

Children playing a game in class. Text reads "22 super fun body parts activities and games for kids".

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kay

Saturday 25th of November 2023

very creative work, thank you for sharing

Ikechukwu Faith.

Wednesday 9th of August 2023

I love it! It's so amazing.

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 17th of August 2023

I'm glad to hear it!

farrell

Thursday 18th of May 2023

I love the learning

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 19th of May 2023

I'm glad you liked this!

Marita Maponopono

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

Leersame en goeie ideas om kinders te leer,

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

Baie dankie, Marita!

Ditlhare

Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Thank you very much for the ideas I really appreciate

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

You're welcome! Thanks for your comment.

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