I couldn't wait to share this fun activity with you! A little background - we're a homeschooling family, and our daughter loves art. Seriously loves it. If there were ever a day where she goes without drawing, it would be my first clue that something is wrong. So of course it would make sense for us to find ways to incorporate arts/crafts to teach other concepts (which I will share with you as we do them). Scroll to the bottom to see how to apply this lesson with older kids (we kept it pretty simple).
Today we learned about our bodies.
For this activity you will need your driveway and sidewalk chalk. If you don't have that, you can use craft paper and markers. It was a nice day, so we picked a cool, shady spot on our driveway for our activity.
First, I had her lie down and traced her with chalk. She wanted to trace me as well, so we did that (bonus - learning how to trace around an object). It looks like I'm wearing a robe of some sort - I was not, that's just how she drew me. Also there was a spider incident while I was waiting for her to draw. She freaked, I brushed it off, then she finished tracing my head. So maybe a quick sweep of the area first would be good.
Next we discussed what happens in the body. Where is the heart? Where is your stomach? (if they say I don't know, ask "where do you feel hungry?" - my daughter pointed to her belly). We talked about lungs - where does the air go when you breathe in? Can you feel the air fill your lungs? Where does poop come from? We drew the esophagus to the stomach, followed by the intestines, and explained how food goes in one end and comes out the other after being digested. We talked about bones. Ribs. Pelvic. Arm and leg bones. She drew a face, and blue hair. She wanted me to add a tongue, so I did. And of course, like any other three year old, she needed to add the poop to the picture, because it's fascinating. She said it's green because she loves broccoli (I have yet to see this love of broccoli, but at least she doesn't turn it down).
To use this activity with older children: it would be best to trace on craft paper, and use tracing paper to draw different organ systems - skeletal, circulatory, nervous, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary/excretory, lymphatic, endocrine, muscular, integumentary (whew, did I get them all?). Some of these would be easier to point to/discuss than draw, and of course use your best judgement - I recall when I was in elementary/middle school we only learned seven of them. Get a good anatomy book from the library to go over which system does what.
Things we accomplished/learned with this lesson:
- Tracing an object
- The concept of body parts and organs, and how they have different functions. By drawing "green poop because I love broccoli" - she showed her understanding of the digestive system, and that yes, sometimes what you eat can have an effect on the color of what comes out.
- We discussed four/fiveish of the systems (skeletal, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, integumentary).
If you give this a try, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes!