Playing with Science – The Human Body
Edited by Georgia-Mae Evans
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Children under five years old can start learning body parts with the classic head, shoulders, knees and toes song, singing the names and pointing to the right parts – you can quiz your child on it too, asking them to point to certain parts of their body. You could also try role playing ‘doctors’ with your child, going to them with a ‘knee injury’ and asking them to make it better.
The My World: My Body puzzles by Gibsons feature lovely colourful pictures, and are a brilliant way for children to not only practice external body parts, but also learn internal body parts (bones, muscles, organs etc.). The puzzles include some great facts about all the body parts too – for example, did you know that you have the same amount of bones in your neck as a giraffe?
Everybody (Rock your Body)
To help your child learn more about how their body works, there is The Human Body science kit by Thames and Kosmos. This includes lots of activities that encourage children to listen to their heartbeat, test their lung capacity, and more, as well as handy booklets, to teach your child more facts about the human body.
For older children, the Human Body app by Tinybop is fantastic for demonstrating how the various systems in the body work. Children can interact with a virtual body, seeing what happens internally when the character is fed, stung by a wasp, goes for a jog, and lots more. The virtual body is very detailed, including the nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems, the skeleton, muscles and organs, along with the scientific terms for these.
Stopping to Smell the Roses
You can help your child understand the five senses by setting up a sensory table for your child and getting them to compare different textures, tastes and smells.
Cut a hole (big enough for their arm to fit through) in a few cardboard boxes, and put various materials such as shredded paper, buttons, or wool inside, then ask your child to feel around inside (without looking!) and guess what is in the box.
To help them become familiar with different tastes, try doing a tasting session – blindfold your child (or get them to close their eyes) and let them taste a range of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty foods, and ask them which taste they think each one is.
For smells, cover a few jars with paper and put different smelling things (such as cheese or flowers) in each one, cover your child’s eyes again, and get them to sniff each jar and guess what is in them.
For older children, the Cell Command app by Filament Games is great for learning the role of critical cell structures in the body. Children can investigate the scientific theory of cells through a series of exciting missions aboard a microscopic “cell ship”. The hands-on approach can help children understand the complex way cells work, for example, using ribosomes to make protein. Every successful mission rewards the student will “cell experience” that can be used to upgrade both their ship and crew!
Using their fingertips or mouse, children can see inside the human body and virtually dissect 3D models. The Incredible Body app features eight sections: circulation, muscles, sense, kidneys & urine, skeleton, respiration digestion, and brain & nerves. They can take rocket rides through the different body systems, listen to fun science facts, watch short animations and take quizzes.
Toca Doctor (2-6 Years)
Be a doctor for a day! Examine and help your patient by solving fun puzzles and mini-games that take place in the human body. There are no timers or stress elements so that children can play in their own time. Toca Doctor is a great, fun way to educate your child, as they can relate to their own experience and you can have some really interesting conversations with them.
Life Size Me (18 Months – 5 Years)
Children under five years of age can start learning body parts with Life Size Me. Ask your child to lay down on a large sheet of paper and draw an outline around your child. You can quiz your child on it too, asking them to point to a certain part of the body on themselves. This can open up discussions about the human body and how it works.
There are lots more ideas for learning about smell and touch on the learning4kids website.
Tags: science, Science activities, Science Week
Categorised in: Toys and Play
This post was written by Anna Taylor