Category Archives: explorations

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)

Materials:

  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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)
Materials:
  • 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 Amazon.com- 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!

Montessori Jar: Cleaning Pennies

Boo and I have been a slacking in doing our Montessori Jar since we moved in December (OK, truth be told we had been slacking WAY before our move, and most of the activities that were in her jar mysteriously disappeared only to be found smushed in her plastic vanity drawer where they are at this very moment). Needless to say, I am excited to be back in the Montessori activity game!
I found the cleaning penny idea at The Science Explorer. We set to work gathering the materials- 20 dull and dirty pennies, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, clear shallow bowl, and 2 paper towels labeled “Rinsed” and “Not Rinsed” (the website suggests doing activities with nails and bolts- we just stuck to the pennies).

Gather your materials. I just love the little Rudolph face in the background! She was our little cheerleader during the activity:)
Stir salt in the vinegar until its dissolved. This was a great time to discuss with Boo what “dissolves” means.

Take a penny and dip it halfway into the vinegar and salt mixture. Count to 10 and…

Half of your penny is clean! So cool!!

After doing this a couple times (since it was super exciting for both of us), dump all your pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture.

After 5 minutes, take half your pennies and put them on the “Not Rinsed” paper towel.

 Take the other half of your pennies and rinse them well. Place these on the “Rinsed” paper towel. And now it’s time to wait.

After one hour, the “Not Rinsed” pennies will have a nice blue tint to them! The reason is that the copper atoms are joining with oxygen atoms and chlorine atoms from the salt.

This was a super easy science experiment that Boo and I both enjoyed. We just love science around here!!:)
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!

Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

aboriginal
 

There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:
 

 

The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! 🙂

 

Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! 🙂

 

 

 

Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.

 

 

 

Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.

 

 

Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

 
  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)

 


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.

 

Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages 


Paper Bag Bird Nest

It recently came to my attention that Rachelle over at TinkerLab was hosting a special kid-directed linky party/contest using paper bags. Well I just happen to have a gazillion paper bags lying around, so I was super excited to get on board with this challenge!

We chose to make a nest because, well, that is what Boo wanted to make! She has a baby golden eagle stuffed animal (doesn’t every 4 year old? The things our kids love!) who has been in need of a nest for awhile now. Keep in mind that this girl is smart as a whip but arts and crafts are just not her thing. I was extremely elated that she actually chose to make something! And she did the ENTIRE project all by her little old self!! Granted, it isn’t anything eloborate or difficult…but to me this challenge was a success because it got Boo CREATING. And I just adore her glammed up birds nest.

 Boo painting and glitzing up her birds nest. Yes, we craft on the floor :).  She also cut raffia for branches, stuck in some feathers, and added plastic easter eggs. On a side note, one of the golden eagle’s eggs contained a small plastic elephant. Love the creativity!

Finished product next to Boo’s baby golden eagle. See the angry birds on the upper right? They are getting ready for a special blog post!

Happy Teaching!

Tinkerlab

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!

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