The Human Body Lesson Plan

Courtesy of Tami L. Maldonado-Mancebo
Early Childhood Curriculum Consultant, Omaha Public Schools

This themed unit allows students to develop a variety of academic skills as they learn about the human body. Individual student goals will vary according to the ability and ages of the children and can be easily adapted for children with special needs.

Learning Objectives: Learning objectives include communication skills, spatial concepts, problem solving, grouping, sequencing, identification, labeling, fine and gross motor development.

Arts & Crafts

Stop Germs - Cover Your Mouth & Nose

Make "Tissue Tina" and "Tissue Ted". Cut a basic oval face shape with ears from flesh-colored construction paper. It should be about as big around as a coffee can lid. Then trace each child’s hand on flesh colored construction paper. Next, ask each child to draw a face (eyes, nose, mouth) on the paper face and add hair by using yarn. Then give each child a tissue, and have them glue the tissue over the nose and then glue the construction-paper hand over the top of the tissue. This visual reminder helps kids remember to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.

Fruitful Options for a Healthy Body

Cut out strawberry shapes from red construction paper, then mix green Tempera paint with strawberry scented/colored shampoo and give children Q-tips to paint green seed spots on their strawberries. Strawberries smell good and are good for you!

At your art table, provide two or three colors of paint in shallow containers. Then set out fruits and vegetables for kids to use as painting utensils. Slice off the bottom of a bunch of celery, cut an apple so the star pattern shows, or make a shape out of a potato for stamping…there are lots of options. Finally, provide kids with plain paper and watch them create!

Take Care of Your Smile

Cut an oval from tag board and fold it in half (like a taco). Color one side of the oval red – this will represent a tongue. Then, give children miniature marshmallows to glue around the edge of the oval. Fold in half again and you’ll have a mouthful of marshmallows smiling at you!

Foot Painting

Allow students to use their toes and feet to create a painting. Have them compare that to doing a finger painting.

Get A Head

Take the children outside, or if the weather isn’t nice, turn a bright light on in the room. Take a white piece of construction paper and have the children stand with their side to the paper so that the shadow of their head profile is on the paper. Trace with a pencil. Next, take a black piece of paper and place it under the white one and cut around the profile of the head. Glue the profile head onto a large piece of colored paper and label with each student’s name.

Dramatic Play

Healthy Choices Restaurant

Provide small note pads to use for ordering and “pretend money” for food. Provide tables and chairs, aprons, kitchen furniture and pencils and paper. Provide laminated menus, placemats, etc. Consider using a play phone for call-in orders.

Doctor’s Office

Cut the shape of a doctor's bag out of black construction paper. Have the children glue on a red "+" sign, a band-aid, cotton ball, tongue depressor, Q-tip, and whatever else you think will look good. Medical supply stores provide a wealth of materials that could be used to create a hospital-themed dramatic play center. You can purchase caps, face masks, bandages, gowns, shoe covers, and other real materials for very little expense. Incorporate toy medical bags and nursing tools. Make an X-ray from a shirt box and black paper. Hang it on the wall along with an eye chart. You can also create “Dr. ID badges” by taking the students picture, typing out their name and laminating it.

Games

In the Bag

Provide a variety of healthy and not so healthy foods. On two paper grocery bags place a smiley face or a frowning face. At circle time, place all of the items on the floor and have the children sort them as healthy or unhealthy. Discuss the difference – meaning that healthy foods make your body strong and happy while the other foods made your body sick and sad. Teach students that there are a lot of foods that can go either way (ie. juice). For those examples, tell students why eating too much of the food could be bad for your body. Some children may also be confused about how a food like cookies that tastes good and makes them happy could be unhealthy and make their bodies sad. Discuss the affects of sugar on your teeth and body.

Friend-to-Friend Game

Have the students choose a partner to begin the game. Call out a body part (knee to knee) and have the children touch knees. Call out body parts 2 or 3 times, then call out "Friend to Friend" and they have to find a new friend to play with.

Musical Chairs

This movement version of musical chairs provides the opportunity to learn about body parts. Make sure each child has a defined space (a colored spot, X on the floor, carpet square, etc.). These spaces should be randomly placed around the room/gym. The more room you have the better! Each child begins by standing on a space and moves as you direct when the music begins. You might say, "crawl" and everybody crawls around the room. When the music stops each child will return to his/her space. As they reach their space you will yell out a body part, for example, "elbow", and the children will touch their elbow to their space. Begin the music again with a new movement and a new body part to stop with. Very fun!

Math

Sort Things Out

Cut out pictures of all kinds of foods and laminate them. Include packages from foods as well. Have the students sort these foods into healthy foods and not-so-healthy foods. Explain that each food has some nutritional value. These can also be used to sort into food groups, or used to graph their favorite foods.

Get a Sense of Things

Ask students to look through magazines for pictures that show people using their senses. Then have students sort the pictures according to the particular sense most evident in the picture. Arrange students into groups, and provide each group with one category of pictures. Then ask the groups to use the pictures to create a collage.

Taste Test

Have students conduct a taste test comparing two foods, such as grape juice and apple juice; red and green grapes; or oranges and apples. Ask students to pick their favorites and chart the findings.

Start a Pattern

Make an AB pattern with sounds, such as “clap, stomp, clap, stomp.” Have the children copy the pattern. Then encourage them to come up with new patterns of their own.

Music & Movement

Follow the Leader

My hands upon my head I place
On my shoulders
On my face
At my waist and by my side
Then behind me they will hide.

Now I raise them up so high
Make my fingers fly, fly, fly.

Now I clap them 1-2-3,
Then I fold them quietly.

 

Hokey Pokey

(You can also use this to teach right and left sides.)

You put one arm in
You take one arm out
You put one arm in and shake it all about
Do the hokey pokey and turn body around
That's what it's all about!

(Continue with other body parts)

 

Sung to the Tune of B-I-N-G-O

There are five senses we all know,
Can you help us name them?
See, hear, taste, touch, smell
See, hear, taste, touch, smell
See, hear, taste, touch, smell
These are our five senses!

Ten Little Fingers

I have ten little fingers and they all belong to me. I can make them do things, would you like to see? I can shut them up tight. I can open them wide. I can clap them together and make them all hide. I can put them up high. I can put them down low. I can fold them together and hold them just so!

(Do the actions that fit the words and end with hands folded in your lap.)

Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands (Tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Wash, wash, wash your hands.
Wash them nice and clean.
Wash them on top, wash them on bottom and fingers in between.

(Sing twice through while washing hands in bathroom)

Sung to the tune of Wheels on the Bus

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.
Sud, sud, sud.
Sud, sud, sud.
The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.
And the germs go down the drain.

Call out this song in an “army voice” while marching. After the teacher sings out each line, the kids repeat it, just like the army does in boot camp.

"We are healthy little ones (we are healthy little ones),
watch us jump and watch us run (watch us jump and watch us run).

Healthy bodies, healthy hearts (healthy bodies, healthy hearts),
we are winners from the start (we are winners from the start!)."

This Is the Way We Wash Our Hands

This is the way we wash our hands
Wash our hands
Wash our hands
This is the way we wash our hands
To keep our bodies healthy

This is the way we eat good food
Eat good food
Eat good food
This is the way we eat good food
To keep our bodies healthy

 

This is the way we..........

(Have the children name other things they can do to keep healthy and include them into the song.)

 

Outdoor Activities

These activities can be used to demonstrate the benefits of healthy, active play to students.

 

Go for a Ride

Plan a Bike Day to promote exercise. Have the children bring their bikes from home along with their helmets. Have supplies on hand like crepe paper steamers and balloons that can be used to decorate their bikes for a short parade. Don't forget playing cards and clothespins to attach to the wheels! Block off a section of the parking lot and have a bike rodeo.

 

Red Light, Green Light

In this game, one person plays the “stoplight” and the rest try to touch him/her. At the start, all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stoplight child. The stop light faces away from the line of kids and says green light. At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight. At any point, the stop light may say "red light!" and turn around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out. Play resumes when the stoplight turns back around and says "green light". The stop light wins if all the kids are out before anyone is able to touch him/her. Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be "stop light" for the next game.

 

Popcorn Play

You will need a parachute - no strings - with a hole in the middle, and 20 or more bouncing balls - one for each player. Number the balls and assign one to each player. Every player places his/her ball on the parachute and everyone grabs and lifts the parachute with two hands. Then everyone starts (usually after the teacher says "GO!") pumping the chute up and down to remove the balls. The player with their ball on the chute last wins.

Sensory Table

  • Squirt shaving cream on a table and let your students "write" with it! The texture is appealing, and even your most reluctant writers will feel confident.
  • Put a textured object inside of a brown paper lunch bag and pass it around. Some examples are smooth rocks, rough shells, fur fabric, or even ice cubes! Ask the children to guess what they think is inside and describe it according to how it feels.
  • Make scented playdough and add Kool Aid® instead of food coloring. The powder will not only color the dough, it will make it smell wonderful too! You can also add extracts such as vanilla, orange, or peppermint to make the dough smell good.
  • Explore the texture of dry sand, then add a little water and talk about how the texture changes. Mix some mud and describe the results.
  • Fill tubs with different dry materials such as gravel, shredded paper, feathers, shells, beads, etc. Have the students handle all of the materials and describe what they feel.

 

Snacks & Nutrition

Eating the Food Pyramid

Gather small pictures of foods from each of the food groups from old magazines. Have children paste pictures onto a divided triangle to represent the food pyramid. After the pictures are dry, cover them with plastic wrap and then pass around snack foods from each of the groups. This can also be done on a paper plate, but may bet a bit crowded.

Pop popcorn

Popping popcorn allows all 5 senses to be engaged. You can hear the kernel’s pop, smell the aroma, feel the warmth and texture of the popped kernels, see the fluffy shapes and taste the flavor.

Fruit Kabobs

Using lollipop sticks, cut up several types of fruit into large pieces and speared them onto the sticks. This is safe to do with both toddlers and preschoolers since the sticks are not pointy and the fruit can be cut large enough not to be a choking hazard.

Mrs. Eggplant Head

For a healthy snack that little ones will find inviting, make a giant "Mrs. Eggplant Head" with parts from fruits and vegetables. To start, position an eggplant in the center of a baking sheet. To make it stand up, place an empty cool whip tub on the tray and then cover the tray and tub with foil. The eggplant will stand right up in the tub. Secure all the parts with toothpicks. Use leaf lettuce for the hair. Make a hat out of 1/2 of a grapefruit, decorated with radish roses. Make the eyes with cucumber slices and raisins. Use a slice of red pepper for lips. The ears can be made from cucumbers with dangling radish earrings. Make a necklace for her out of grapes. All around "Mrs. Eggplant Head" you can place sliced carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, grapes or other fruits and vegetables for the children to try.

Gingerbread People

This is a cute, delicious idea to help kids learn to identify body parts.

Materials: People-shaped cookie cutters, store bought cookie dough, 1 rolling pin, and a variety of decorations (icing, sprinkles) for each child.

Step 1. Roll the cookie dough into a flat sheet.
Step 2. Have kids use cookie cutters to cut cookies.
Step 3. Bake according to package.
Step 4. Have kids decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles. Put sprinkles on the arms, put white icing on the legs, etc.

Science

All That Glitters

The teacher puts glitter all over his/her hand, and then shakes a student's hand. The student then shakes another student's hand and so on. The glitter represents germs. This activity shows how germs spread and the importance of washing hands.

Everyone Plays a Part

Start with 2 large sheet of paper, approx. 4 ft long, one to create a boy and one to create a girl. Then have each child take a turn lying down on the paper. Trace around one child's head, another child's arm, another child's hand, body, leg feet, etc, until you have traced a body. If you have more children use fingers, toes, etc. until every child has one body part drawn. Next, use a sponge for the brain and glue it on the paper. Use spaghetti for bones, rubber bands for muscles, kidneys beans for kidneys, draw a heart or cut one out. Use a rolled up piece of paper for the esophagus, sponges for the lungs, yarn for intestines. Draw the eyes, nose mouth and hair, then have the children name their person. Don't forget to label the kids names with their body parts.

What’s Growing On

Give each child a piece of white bread and ask them to cough on it, sneeze on it, rub their hands with it, or wipe it on different areas of the room (the bathroom, pet cages, etc). Then put each slice in a sealed baggie with the child's name on it and a description of where the germs came from. Lay each of them out to examine over the next couple of weeks (put magnifying glasses on the table so students can see what is growing).

Model Behavior

Have a model of a skeleton available in the science area. Allow the children to touch, see and move the different bones in the body. Have them guess the longest or shortest bone in the body.

Piece it Together

Trace each child’s body then provide each child with pre-cut organs like a heart, stomach, lungs etc. Allow the children to glue the organs on their "body" and decorate the faces with yarn hair, wiggle eyes and a smile. To explain to children how the heart works, you can use blue and red string to make “blood pump” into the body.

Heart to Heart

Use toilet tissue rolls as stethoscopes. Pair up children to listen to each other’s heartbeats while they are calm. Notice the speed of the beat. Then have one of the pair run or jump for a minute, and then listen to the heartbeat. Notice the difference in the heart rate. A good opportunity to discuss the effects of exercise!

Now that your students have learned about the human body, look for more fun lesson plan ideas.