learning body parts

Before I Go to Kindergarten #3: Self-Help Skills for Young Children

Before going to kindergarten, preschool, daycare, or playschool, it helps if we encourage some basic self-help skills for young children, like the bathroom!


Being independent in bathroom needs is one of the biggies for young kids.  Some programs will have separate washrooms or restrooms, but in larger centers there could be ones used by other kids too. If old enough, check if your child can go the bathroom alone, when needed, and can take care of wiping needs. At home, kids don’t always close the door, but this could be a concern in programs. Reminders to wash hands and flush are pretty standard.

Kids can be hesitant about telling someone they need to visit the bathroom. While some kids have twitches, posture, and wiggles that make it obvious they need to go, others don’t. Is your child comfortable telling someone and asking for help, if needed?

Although at home, another family member may complain if a child takes too long, generally the bathroom is a private, quiet space and kids can spend the time they need. That might be an issue in a school or care center. There are no Boys and Girls signs on the doors at home either so kids know which bathroom to use. Not all boys have seen the urinals that are common in larger washrooms and restrooms.

Considering how important and necessary, no wonder this school made a video about bathroom expectations.

Another somewhat related self-help skill is knowing the correct names for body parts, including the private ones. Some adults are uncomfortable or embarrassed by children’s use of these words, but it’s vital they know them for their safety. Being able to use the accurate names increases children’s resistance to abuse. We need to discuss with kids the differences between private and public spaces and behaviors.

Next to these, independence in dressing is a minor concern. What are some other important self-help skills for young children?

(For the entire checklist, visit the first post’s Before I Go to Kindergarten infographic .)

Space Activities #18: Aliens Help Kids Learn Body Parts

For today’s space activity, aliens help kids learn body parts. Knowing the names of parts of the body is really important for kids’ health and safety.

To create an alien, kids can use items and ways that appeal to them. Some might like to color or paint space creatures. A search in the recycling basket might turn up some cool materials to glue or tape. Little hands could trace an alien on stiff paper for big hands to cut out. These can be decorated in various ways.

art activities with children's books

Little Sister made an alien or space monster starting with a paper plate. She glued things she found in the craft box all over. The legs are two pipe cleaners. There are no arms, only a blue hand glued on the side. Big Sister made one with no legs. The pipe cleaners on the top are not hair, but arms attached to the head. After all, these are aliens.

aliens  help kids learn body parts

Parents and caregivers can take advantage of the opportunity when making creatures to see if kids know the names of body parts. Does the alien have any arms? How many legs are there? What does the alien use to see and eat? What part of the body goes to the bathroom? Besides legs, arms, and heads, kids may quite openly talk about private parts of the body. When they do, knowing the accurate names is vital. Just knowing and using the accurate names for private body parts increases children’s protection and defenses against abuse. Names of body parts for gender can be uncomfortable for some adults, so an activity like this one may decrease the embarrassment and anxiety.

Paint, crayons, paper, glue, craft supplies, and recycled bits, are all fun to use to make aliens. As kids manipulate materials, they are developing their small or fine muscle control. Alone or with playmates, they are imagining and creating and using lots of language. Organizing, problem-solving, and concentrating area few of the thinking skills that come into play. Play is the key-word. We supply the stuff, and kids do the rest. Aliens help kids learn body parts and much more. Will any land at your house?

Off to School Toolbox: Where Are Babies From?

Before kids start school, it’s important that parents answer the question where are babies from, rather than have someone else give the information. Uncomfortable as it might be, parents need to establish themselves as the “go-to person” when kids have a question, instead of letting kids ask someone else.where are babies from

Another issue is the correct names for all body parts. Some people feel reluctant or embarrassed about this,  but it is part of protecting children from sexual abuse. When kids use the correct words, they give the message that they can talk about their bodies and have good basic knowledge. Children also need to learn that all body parts are equally special, including the private parts of the body, that is, those covered by underwear or a bathing suit.

Sometimes though, when children know these words, they talk about them in quite public places. Once children begin to have an understanding about privacy, talk to them about private and public spaces and remind them to talk at home or in another private place.

To help protect from child-abuse, sexual health educators use the words of safe touch, unsafe touch and secret touch. Safe touch can be good: such as hugs, bouncing, holding hands, washing and wiping, or yucky: like pulling out slivers and getting stitches. Unsafe touch includes hitting, kicking, biting, and kids usually know this kind of touching hurts others.  Secret touch or private touch is for adults only. If parents have discussed this with young children they have a better understanding of boundaries and have the words to tell us if there are any problems. For children’s safety and well-being these are fundamental issues to address at home before kids come to school.

healthy sexual development for kidsBooks are a great resource. There are some excellent puzzles, too.
Altho they are more expensive, there are anatomically correct dolls.  These can help make talking about sensitive issues much more natural. Just as an aside, boys can also play with dolls. Sometimes, giving a boy a boy-doll is more acceptable for those that have concerns.

Learning is compromised during stress, especially for children when the brain is growing. Feeling comfortable in and with your own body can reduce some of the stress and aid learning.

Have you talked about these concerns with your child?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 3

I’m not sure what it is with all the 3’s but today’s post is  3 suggestions for toys when it comes to learning about hearts and other body parts. Kids learn through play and a doctor kit stimulates all kinds of learning. In addition to some specific words for different body parts, there’s lots of … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 3

Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1, you can’t beat February for learning about hearts and other body parts. Another way to help young children learn about bodies besides songs and games is with books. Any bookstore will have lots of stories about bodies, from board books with only a few pages, to Dr. Seuss to The … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 2

Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 1

You can’t beat February and hearts for learning ideas, (pun intended:). Today’s activity suggestion uses hearts and other parts. Very young little ones enjoy playing the game where adults ask them to point to parts of their face even if we have to supply the answers, “Where’s your nose?” “Here it is. That’s a nose.” … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Hearts & Other Parts, Part 1