Category Archives: human body

STEAM Summer Camps

Happy Summer everyone! I am so excited to have lots of time to hang out with my #1 kid before she heads off to first grade (and all day school! eeks!) I like to have a lot of summer plans to avoid lots of down time (aka TV time). steam I will be honest- as a teacher mom I have been frustrated with the lack of differentiated curriculum and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning in our schools. So I have taken it upon myself to provide my daughter with more extensive activities based on these areas and her interests and abilities. I was introduced to Core Knowledge by my sister and a colleague and knew it was a curriculum I wanted to integrate into our activities as well. Core Knowledge is a comprehensive curriculum that builds on the knowledge of previous years. I took some units from this program, tied them in with STEAM, and came up with this summer camp program. I am really excited about it!

The basis of this program is to provide my daughter with activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Every week we will be experimenting with Science on Saturdays. There will also be a weekly Engineering Challenge. The majority of our STEAM learning however will be from learning camps we will have on Thursdays and Fridays. I have a lot of science camps planned (based on content from Core Knowledge and my daughter’s interests) as well as Art, Music, and Math camps. Each camp has different ways you can integrate STEAM. For example, the Rock Camp will not only teach kids the science behind the rock groups, but have ways to incorporate technology, engineering, art, and math into your lessons.

Here is our weekly plan:

Make Something STEAMy Monday: (art project/fun treat/iMovie/etc) centered around STEAM

Take a Trip Tuesday: a day we can take a STEAM centered field trip

Wednesday: Worksheet (I just had to sneak in one day of paper and pencil work) and work on an Engineering Challenge. I made a letter template so the challenges could be done with friends who live far away.


Engineering Challenge idea


STEAM Engineering Challenge Letter template

Thursday and Friday: STEAM camp


Sample STEAM camp idea sheet

Science Saturday with Daddy

science saturday

Science Saturday ideas

I am uploading my plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Feel free to download and let me know what you think! There are also lots of STEAM based activities that can be found in many communities. Check your local library… many libraries will have science activities that go along with their summer reading programs. I also know of communities that have “Arts in the Park” or “Science in the Park” activities. If you live in the Salt Lake area, The Leonardo Museum downtown will be opening up some children exhibits in a few weeks based on STEAM learning…. I am thrilled!!!! And if all else fails, host your own camps! Your neighbors will love you 🙂

Happy STEAMing!

Human Body: Printables

Our human body project is over. I still can’t believe it! This is a quick run down of all the printables we used while learning about the human body. I will break down the post by systems/sections of the body.  This post has materials for the body chart only- so if you want to do some of the science experiments, click on the title of each section. It will take you to the blog post on that specific topic where you can get more ideas for science experiments, videos, and more.

Before starting, trace your child’s body on a large piece of butcher paper. I used packaging paper from Amazon- we got a ton since we did a lot of online Christmas shopping. After tracing the body- cut out two copies. MAKE SURE that all three body outlines line up. Learn from my mistake! FYI- I will be referring to these cutouts throughout this post as “body charts”.

Skeletal System (click on this link for more ideas)


  • body chart
  • child-size skeleton printout from eSkeletons. (I had to make some adjustments- my daughter isn’t quite that tall yet, so I shrunk the size a bit before printing. Due to size issues, I also had to add a different pelvic bone (found here), ribs (found here), and I ended up drawing a skull.
Favorites: The skull and ribs with flaps- designed to add the brain and heart/lungs.
Suggestions: Be prepared to do a little bone surgery- the fingers in the skeleton might not align with your childs handprint on their body chart.
Nervous System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • paper cut out of the brain (I did a google search and came up with this one, but there are a ton available!
Favorites: The fact that the brain is inside the skull
Suggestions: We just did the brain, looking back I would do the entire nervous system. This could easily be achieved with embroidery floss for the nerves, and colored cellophane over the spine (or just yarn) for the spinal column.
Lymphatic System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • green embroidery floss (lymph vessels)
  • green and white paint (to be used as the lymph nodes and white blood cells)
  • green paper for a spleen
Favorites: the subject material- my daughter is really curious about her germs, and I liked that it wasn’t a  cut and paste activity but we were able to use paint and string
Suggestions: Gluing the embroidery floss on the body chart was difficult- we had to switch to tape, it worked much better for us, and I was able to move it around later on when I had to do some trimming
Respiratory System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • lungs (clipart from Kidopo)
  • bubble wrap (air in our lungs)
  • blue paper for a diaphragm
Favorites: we made a model of a lung- by far my favorite part of the activity (click here for more information)
Suggestions: Use 2 pieces of straw as the trachea and upper throat. We didn’t add this until we were working on the digestive system and needed to make an esophagus.
Circulatory System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • red and blue embroidery floss (arteries and veins)
  • heart (clipart from Phillip Martin)
Favorites: I really liked using the embroidery floss for the blood vessels.
Suggestions: I tried adding a few capillaries here and there- but it was getting too detailed so I didn’t really pursue it. I also wished I would have invested in a stethoscope.
Digestive System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • white, pink, and blue straws (upper throat, esophagus, and trachea)
  • digestive system cutout (I think this is the one I used, but I am not sure…. I did print it in black and white)
Favorites: The Youtube video on the digestive system– it was a WINNER with my daughter
Suggestions: Try the science experiments from our blog, and you could add the vocab word rectum. I just couldn’t bring myself to talking about that word YET, and as you probably know from viewing the rest of these posts, we did leave out a few body systems that were a little mature for my 4 year old)
Urinary System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • yellow paper for a bladder, urethra, ureter, kidneys
Favorites: Probably the kidney experiment and the fact that my daughter drew and cut out the different parts of this system
Suggestions: Talk more about the importance of drinking water
Muscular System (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • red plastic tablecloth (from dollar tree)
Favorites: I love the transparency of the muscular layer, however this brings me to my suggestion…
Suggestions: Using one of the copies of your body chart, glue the muscle layer on the back. TRUST ME- having a plastic layer that won’t stay in place is a bit of a headache.
Eye (click on this link for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • clear plastic sheet protector (glue on top of the eye as the cornea)
  • white, black, and blue (or whatever color your child’s irises are) paper
Favorites: The plastic cornea. This is one of my favorite things about our body chart.
Suggestions: We could have done SO much more with the eye- optical illusions, perception, using telescopes and binoculars, etc. A lesson on using all 5 senses would fit nicely here, too!
Skin and Hair (click here for more ideas)
  • body chart
  • 2 copies of your body chart (one for the skin, one for the clothes- just cut off the head, hands, and feet)
  • yarn (hair and eyebrows)
  • construction paper, material for clothes
  • red paper for lips
  • paint for skin
Favorites: the eye and mouth openings that show off our teeth and eyes
Suggestions: MAKE SURE that all three copies are the same size. After a month of learning, it was pretty frustrating to find out that our poor body chart was made with three different sizes!
Favorite Reference Books
Uncover the Human Body– we love the 3D model of the body
Human Body Encyclopedia for Kids (I can’t find it online)
Favorite Online Resources
Youtube- check out the schoolhouse rocks science clips
For more ideas on teaching the human body, check out my human body board on Pinterest!
Have a great time learning about the human body! This is a wonderful educational journey that I hope you and your little ones can take… there is so much to learn about!
Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Skin and Hair

Our human body unit has come to an end. Tomorrow I will be posting a list of our resources/printables- but as far as my daughter is concerned- we are done! And it feels good. This has been quite an educational journey for Boo and I. Tootsie (one of the MANY names we have given this human body chart) has taught us a lot about the body and how it works.

The skin and hair were really quite easy. We watched a video about the skin (Boo probably replayed this video 30 times) We talked about how our skin gets wrinkly after we take a bath. I had 2 extra body cutouts that I made- we took one for the skin- which we placed on top of the bones. We painted the skin a peachy color, and it looked marvelous. Then we put it on top of the bones and it didn’t line up AT ALL. Somehow all the body cutouts that I cut at the same time are a bit different. I set to work cutting off limbs and taping them back together so it would match up more… in the end it looks better, still not “perfect” but  we are happy with it (or do I say her?). Another adjustment I made was taping the muscle layer underneath the skin layer- the red plastic was just too floppy on it’s own. The hair was just yellow yarn- we also added yarn eyebrows. The second extra body cut out was used as a frame for clothes.

Painting the skin… It is REALLY hard to see the body on top of the matching dropcloth (brown paper courtesy of thanks for sending us yards of this brown paper with our last purchase) And I have admitted this in the past- we love to craft on the floor!

Tootsie is all painted! Just a reminder that this is a separate layer- the bones and organs body chart was taking a break! You can see the yarn hair, eye and mouth cutouts, nose, and red lips (extra red plastic from her muscles). And we had to make her modest. 🙂

The clothes layer was our third body cut-out- minus the head, hands, and feet. Boo and I used material to cut out a shirt, which we glued onto the brown paper. I used the brown paper for two reasons- first, it gave her clothes some support so they weren’t floppy, and second, I didn’t want to attach the clothes to the person- because we did it this way I am able to tape the clothes layer on her shoulders. If that makes sense….

For pants, Boo wanted to cut out orange and blue paper. She is all about the scissors recently.

Voila! Our person! You can see that the three body cut-outs aren’t a perfect match. Learn from my mistake- make sure that the layers line up correctly before you invest a lot of time into the project!

I just love this side look of Tootsie. 

I honestly admit- this is one girl that is definitely more beautiful on the inside than out. This weekend our final human body post will have all links to all our printables and resources!
Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Eye

We had so much fun today learning about our eyes! If you don’t know, my daughter and I are doing a learning unit on the human body. Initially I wasn’t even going to do anything with the eyes, other than paint them on the skin. However, my daughter had some cool eye ball chocolates left over from Halloween, and I thought they would go perfectly for a little eye unit… and after a few minutes of google searching we had some activities planned!

First, we talked about vocabulary. The sclera (white part of your eye), the pupil (black part which my daughter pronounces pwEEple- its so cute!), the iris (colored part), and the cornea (clear outer protective layer). We talked about how the eye is shaped like a ball or sphere. We looked at the blood vessels in our scleras. To learn more about the pupil, we did a short and easy science experiment. We got a mirror, dimmed the lights, and watched our pupils get bigger to let more light into our eyes. Then we turned on the lights and watched how quickly the size of our pupils was reduced. My daughter was AMAZED by this- we probably did it at least 15 times.  After watching our pupils dilate, we talked about our iris. I asked her questions like “What color are daddy’s irises?” Then we talked about how the cornea is clear and it protects our eye. When we touch the inside of our eyes, we are touching the cornea. Later, when we were finishing up our eye unit Boo told me that we should never touch our corneas and then proceeded to have her human body chart guy touch her cornea. I guess we can tag this guy as a stinker!
After munching on eye ball Halloween candy and watching a short video on the human eye, we grabbed paper and started cutting out the different pieces to our eyes. Looking back- I would have made the iris with a whole in the middle and the pupil underneath, but we did it the easy way by just gluing the black circle on top of the iris. So not scientifically accurate, I know!! And we cut out circles from an old sheet protector to use as the corneas. My favorite part of the eye model, I must say.
Once the eyes were made, we started working on the skin. So far it looks SO CUTE! I am excited to post about it tomorrow!
For more ideas on the human body, check out my human body board on Pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body~ The Muscular System

Today we briefly talked about the muscular system in the human body. We talked about how muscles cover pretty much our entire body (that is why our illustration below is entirely covered with red paper), that eating healthy and exercising builds muscles, and that just because you are a grown up does not mean you have big muscles :).

We also stretched rubber bands and talked about the elastic nature of muscle tissue. We ripped scraps of red paper and talked about how muscles can rip and tear. This would have been a great time to talk about how the body can heal itself after this type of injury with proper rest and nutrition.

Since muscles cover a large portion of our body, I decided to cover our entire body in red. I was rummaging through my craft drawers looking for red tissue paper when I came across this old red plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Tree. It was PERFECT. Translucent, semi-durable, red, big size… perfect. I traced our body chart on the red tablecloth, cut it out, and stapled it to the body chart at the top. I love how I can still see the inside of the body.  It is kinda sad to be nearing the end of our human body unit. Tomorrow we work on the eyes and maybe the skin… this has been a long but very educational learning journey for us!

To learn more about the human body, check out my human body board on Pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body: The Urinary System

Our newest learning adventure on the human body was studying the urinary system. For some reason- learning about bones, blood, and the brain were exciting- even the digestive system was fun to teach….but when it came time to talk about urine- well, lets just say I procrastinated the topic for awhile. It doesn’t seem right to talk about this on a blog- I feel like I am pushing the envelope here!

We started our little learning exploration by explaining the scientific terminology (kidney, bladder, & just briefly mentioned the ureter and urethra). This is actually something we have discussed for a couple months. It’s kinda funny to hear a four year old tell you that she doesn’t need to go potty because there is nothing in her bladder. 😉

Tonight we worked on actually creating the urinary system. I taught my daughter how to draw a bean shape and she did a pretty good job of drawing one I might add! And then she cut it out…it looks completely different but I love it even more because she made it all by herself!

My daughter then drew the bladder. I told her to draw a circle- she grabbed the marker and said “I know Mom”… I guess she already knew the shape! The FUNNY thing is that she then drew the urethra. No prompting from me, in fact I had pipe cleaners that we were going to glue on. I much prefer her artwork. I just am so proud of her for knowing to add it!!

After seeing Boo’s cute drawing of the urethra, we cut out paper ureters to match. We then glued on all the pieces (lucky for me I didn’t glue the digestive system completely down!). 

After adding the urinary system to our paper body, we did a fun little science experiment. These are my daughter’s favorite activities in our human body learning. We made blood and used a strainer to filter the urine- just like a kidney. This is a very rudimentary example but it got the point across!

To make the blood, we used the following recipe:
red beads- red blood cells
white beads- white blood cells
yellow beads- platelets
corn syrup- plasma
water- water!

 Boo was so excited that we repeated the experiment 4 times! And she couldn’t believe that we actually made urine. She then proceeded to make her own science experiment- which tells me that she is learning to love creating and exploring on her own. Love it!

For more ideas on the human body, check out my human body board on pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Digestive System

This is the area of the human body that my daughter has been so anxious to study! Hilarious, seeing though most people are grossed out by the whole process. 🙂 I have to honestly admit that I, as an adult, am learning so much about the human body.

Our body has a digestive system now! Yippee! 

We did a couple activities to start off our learning exploration. First, we just talked about the whole process. Boo was just naturally inquisitive about this topic, so it wasn’t another boring lecture (think of Charlie Brown’s teacher!) I explained everything from the mouth to the large intestine and everything in-between. We also talked a little bit about the liver and how it produces bile. This was especially of interest to Boo because our dog Sammy had a sock stuck in his duodenum (part of the small intestine) and would throw up bile. At first Boo was proud that Sammy threw up the icky green liquid- I had to explain to her that bile coming out of our mouth is not a good thing!

Our next learning activity was watching this short clip on the digestive system. My daughter thought this was SO fascinating. I like that it was short and sweet, and used proper terminology. I got the idea to use this clip from Spell Outloud. We watched the movie AT LEAST five times per Boo’s request!

It was time for a more hands on activity using a paper towel tube, baggie, water, and bread (another activity inspired from Spell Outloud.
The paper towel tube was our esophagus and the bag of water was the stomach and stomach acid. As we put pieces of bread into the esophagus, we discussed how it is a tube with muscles that help move the food down towards the stomach.

Putting the bread down the esophagus
Squeezing the esophagus, mimicking the muscle movement that brings the food toward the stomach

Once the bread reached the stomach, we talked about how the acids break it down into smaller pieces called chime. As you can imagine, watching bread turn into a liquidy goop was extremely fascinating and we had to repeat the experiment a few times.

“WOW! Can we do this AGAIN?” I just love this face!

The last step was adding the digestive system to our body! I know the proportions are off a bit- but I am still happy with how it turned out!

The upper part of the digestive system: the upper throat meeting up with the blue trachea and pink esophagus 
The lower part of the digestive system: liver, pancreas, gall bladder, stomach,  and small and large intestines. 

I hope that in some way this will help and inspire you as you teach your kiddos about the digestive system!

For more ideas on the human body, follow my board on Pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Circulatory System

It’s time for another post on the human body! Today we talked about the circulatory system…. more specifically the heart, arteries, veins, and lungs. Before we set out for our activities I had two goals: First, I wanted my daughter to know that the red arteries deliver oxygen, while the blue veins carry out the “garbage” (the term carbon dioxide was not part of today’s lesson!!) The second goal was to add the circulatory system to our human body.

Two ways to teach your child about the circulatory system:
I drew an enormous chalk figure of the human body in our unfinished basement, and made sure to include the trachea, lungs, heart, arteries, and veins. I also pulled out my red and blue unifix cubes for the blood. I also grabbed some cans of silly string we had sitting around.
Example #1: We tossed all the red cubes in a ginormous dump truck from my daughter’s sandbox. I told Boo that the blood goes to the lungs to get air, then we blew on the red blocks. We delivered red oxygenated blood by “driving” the truck down the arteries and tossing red blocks throughout the body.

Dispersing the oxygenated blood by driving the truck down the artery path.

The dump truck then turned around, and drove up the veins while Boo picked up the blue blocks- AKA garbage (for older kids I would use the term carbon dioxide!).

Collecting the garbage (carbon dioxide) into the dump truck and driving it back to the heart up the vein path.

When the truck got back to the lungs, it dumped out the garbage, then we ran it up the trachea and breathed it out! I know a lot of the technical stuff may not be remembered, but we had fun…and at the end of the day, thats what counts.

Example #2:  We cleaned up the blocks and played the game again, but this time we used silly string. And it was a lot more captivating. We started at the heart, went to the lungs to get our air, then back down the heart and into the arteries. My daughter enjoyed squirting the silly string throughout the body, although she had a difficult time pushing down on the valve. The silly string…I mean oxygen…. was picked up in the trusty dump truck along the vein path and hauled away to the lungs, were it was exhaled.

After picking up the carbon dioxide (silly string), Boo dumped it into the lungs. Right after doing this,  she picked up the silly string and exhaled it by running up the trachea and out the mouth.

After our kinesthetic illustrations of the circulatory system, we went upstairs and added the components to our human body chart. The heart was printed out from this site, and the veins and arteries were pieces of old embroidery floss (yarn would work just as well).

Look at our body develop- this is turning out to be such a fun project!!

We had plans to make a stethoscope and listen to our heart beats, but that didn’t happen…. we were able to  feel our heart beats with our hands before and after running around. This is a great time to discuss why our heart beats increase when we exercise and the importance of oxygen to our muscles.

I couldn’t resist adding this cute School House Rock video on the circulatory system. It’s classic, educational film at it’s best.

For more ideas on the human body, follow my board on pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Respiratory System

The past couple of days we tackled the respiratory system. It was a bit of a challenge to get Boo excited to learn about lungs… honestly, how many four year olds are excited to learn about lungs! And although she was convinced our lung activities would be boring, we ended up having a pretty good time. And I think we actually learned a few things along the way!!!

We started our breathing exploration playing a fun game called Oxygen Cycle. I adapted the game I found at PE Central to meet the needs of my four year old. To play this game I drew an outline of a person with sidewalk chalk… making sure to add a mouth, trachea, lungs, and muscles. The only supplies you need are beanbags. The oxygen (pile of beanbags) started out at the mouth. Boo would run to the mouth, get some oxygen, run down the trachea path, through the lungs, and then to a muscle. When she got to the muscle she would have to perform a little exercise- like arm circles, jump in place, etc- until she ran out of oxygen. Then it was back through the lungs, trachea, and to the mouth to get more oxygen and repeat the process. And while we were playing Boo made some adjustments- like deciding it was much more efficient to ride her bike down the trachea path instead of running. And then piling her bike with ALL the beanbags instead of going back and forth. 🙂 We both had a good time, and that’s what counts!

We watched an episode of Blue’s Clue’s that talks about taking a deep breath when you feel frustrated. Not that my Sweet Pea is ever frustrated- ha! Good lesson on how deep breathing relaxes our body. (For those that are curious and want to watch this with your little ones it is Season 2 Episode 18)
Our little family spent an evening doing various lung activities (found here). We took a straw and taped string on the end. Boo blew into the straw and watched the string elevate. The longer/deeper the breaths were, the longer the string would float. 

 The same concept was also illustrated by blowing into a harmonica. Deeper breaths would play longer notes, and shorter breaths would play shorter notes.

 We practiced blowing feathers with deep/short breaths.

And then we made a lung! It was SO much fun! A must-do if you are planning on teaching your child about the respiratory system. I followed the steps found here and it worked perfectly. A great visual of the trachea, lungs, and diaphragm. And how the diaphragm contracts during the breathing process. Boo  was able to see that the diaphragm goes down to create room for the lungs as they expand.

We couldn’t forget to add lungs to our body (Boo has named her Bony. What a name, right?)

 We glued some bubble wrap on top of the lung picture (since there is air in our lungs) and added a diaphragm.

Last but not least… a great resource in teaching kids yoga breathing techniques (as well as lots of other yoga poses). 
For more ideas check out my Pinterest board on the human body:

Tomorrow we talk about the circulatory system! Boo told me tonight she wants to add meat to her body chart…any suggestions? 🙂
Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Lymphatic System

What child isn’t fascinated with germs? Today we talked about the lymphatic system- more specifically how our body gets rid of those germy bugs!

Disclaimer: I am not in the medical field and I hope what I am teaching my daughter is somewhat accurate!! Ha! 
We looked at the lymph nodes in our human body encyclopedia (my daughter refers to the nodes as “beans”, which makes sense because they are so small!). We talked about white blood cells: how they are the guys that fight the germies and that some of these cells are stored in the lymph nodes.  
I then had a visual to show my daughter why lymph nodes get swollen. We inserted white blood cells (aka cotton balls) into the lymph node (aka balloon). The more white blood cells, the bigger the balloon got! 

We then pulled out our body chart.  Lymph nodes were added using green thumbprints- and although they are found throughout the entire body, we just stuck them in a few spots.

We couldn’t forget to add white blood cells- little dots of white paint with a q-tip.

Boo decided it was time for a break…..

 Then it was back to work taping on the lymph vessels using green embroidery floss.

The last thing we added was the spleen. We talked about how one of the jobs of the spleen (referred to as the “big bean”) is to store extra white blood cells. We might go back tomorrow and actually paint some cells on the spleen!

Boo and I played a quick game of Germ Attack… germs entered various parts of the body and the white blood cells (cotton balls) raced along the lymph vessel to attack the germs!

We tried watching the Once Upon a Time video on the lymphatic system– but we only got through the first part (it’s a three part series). This would be much more entertaining for an older child!

Here is a closer look at our body with the lymphatic system:

For more ideas check out my Pinterest board on the human body:

Happy Teaching!

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