We’ve wrapped up our human body unit for the season, and as I’d said in a previous post, I overdid the materials. After a couple of weeks wading through lots and lots and LOTS of books (at least three dozen), here are the ones we liked the most.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle – Not only is it a Carle book with his classic, distinctive style of art, it also encourages children to answer the question, “Can you ___?” by acting it out with their bodies. Every movement is followed by, “I can do it!” This is a message I definitely want to sink in with my son, who often claims he can’t do simple things he’d already conquered.
My Bodyworks by Jane Schoenberg – Loved the movement inspiring lyrics of this book of body songs.
Human Body by Dan Green – Though this book is intended for older children, our family loves this series of books, and owns all of the ones related to Chemistry and Physics from my daughter’s middle school years. The content is frank, the pictures are cute, and you can choose what parts of it you wish to share as you go.
Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin – A simple, colorful book of diverse children excited about all their body parts can do for them from hands to feet and beyond.
Our Blood by Charlotte Guillain – My son selected this himself. The book contains clear, textbook styled explanations with photographs about blood and its purpose in the body. We read it three times.
Inside your outside! by Tish Rabe – Tish Rabe uses familiar Seuss characters to look inside the human body and explain how organs work. A little weird, a lot of rhyming, and not quite Seuss, but definitely eye-catching for a Seuss-obsessed preschooler.
We all move by Rebecca Rissman – Another photographic book containing a diverse selection of people engaging in varied activities.
Busy body book by Lizzy Rockwell – I love the art in this book. Lots of color, lots of kids, all celebrating their bodies. There’s more text than Here Are My Hands, but it has a similar feel to it.
Foot book by Dr. Seuss – Oh, the joys of feet, as told by Seuss.
Teeth by Sneed B. Collard – Not entirely about human bodies, but a great book full of colorful sketches of animals (including humans) and their teeth, contains some good beginner information.
In addition to reading all of these books (and many more):
We sang songs that involve movement each day, like “Head, Shoulders Knees, and Toes,” and “The Hokey Pokey.”
We watched a Sesame Street video called “Happy, Healthy Monsters,” which proved to be mostly jumping and watching funny sketches, rather than actually moving our bodies.
We made paper organs and added them to a paper body, using a large sheet of rolled drawing paper (from IKEA). I wanted my son to lie on the paper so I could trace an outline of his body, but he was convinced the marker would hurt (even after touching it to my finger and then his), so he laid next to the paper, and I made a hasty approximation of his body and size.
Then we used various colors of construction paper. I drew rough shapes of the organs in the approximate size they’d be in his body, and he used safety scissors to cut around the shapes. He cut through his brain, his kidneys, and his lungs, but tape made it all better. Our Little Fox paper model had a brain, two blue eyes, lungs, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, liver, pancreas, diaphragm, gallbladder, large and small intestines with appendix, and spleen. As we placed them into the body shape on the paper, we discussed what each one did. I kept the systems together, so we could talk about the body in small bursts. We did brain and eyes first, then lungs, heart, and diaphragm, and finally the digestive system. Here are a couple of the models I used (found on Google Image Search) to help remind me where to put everything: