During the toddler years, children begin learning about the world around them, as well as themselves. This is an ideal time to start teaching children about their body parts--their names and their functions. One way to do this is through art, as this age group enjoys hands-on exploration.
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Body Part Painting
Set out pieces of art paper and a variety of colours of finger paint. Review the names of different body parts and their use--specifically the limbs. For instance, have toddlers take off their shoes--review the name of their feet and discuss what their use is. Use a paintbrush to paint the bottom of children's feet. Once painted, children print their feet on the piece of paper. Follow the same procedure with the hands, arms, elbows--printing each body part on the same piece of paper. Once the activity is complete, use a marker to label each of the body parts printed on the piece of paper. Toddlers will have fun using their different body parts as paintbrushes with this activity.
Hang a white piece of paper on a flat wall. Have a child stand in front of the piece of paper. Shine an overhead projector, a flashlight or some other beam of light on to the child so that her shadow is cast onto the piece of paper. To create a silhouette, use a marker to trace the outline of the child onto the piece of paper. If you'd like to create a silhouette of the child's face, have her stand sideways in front of the paper and transfer the image of her face onto the paper. If you'd like a silhouette of the body, have the child stand facing the paper with her arms up and her legs spread out--trace her body's shadow onto the piece of paper. Once the silhouette has been created, have children use paint or markers to colour in the inside portion of their body print. If possible, try to guide them to stay inside the lines. Use the image as a means of reviewing the different body parts. Have children tell you the names of the body parts that you point to. Silhouettes are eye-catching art projects that will help teach toddlers about different face features.
Body Part Collage
Distribute a piece of paper, an old magazine, glue and a safety scissor to each child. Ask children to look through the magazines, searching for pictures of different body parts--eyes, noses, mouths, arms, legs and so forth. Help children cut the images out and glue them to the piece of paper, creating an artistic body part collage. Through this activity, children not only learn about different body parts, but they also develop their fine motor skills.
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