To practice using rulers and tape measures (and reading them accurately!) we spent an hour or so measuring different parts of our bodies.
L marking out her foot to measure it.
Measuring A’s hand with the ruler.
Both L and A stood on a sheet of paper and placed a mark along the back of their heel, and at the top of their big toes. They then used a ruler to measure how long their feet are. Both of them found their left feet to be slightly longer than the right. They also used the rulers to measure the length of their hands, from the circlet of wrinkles at the wrist to the end of the middle finger. L drew around her hand carefully and then measured the length of each of her fingers.
L tracing around her hand.
L measuring around her waist.
Measuring my ankle.
L used a tape measure to measure around her waist, but the first few times she read off the inches side, and had to try again to get centimetres. They also used the tape measure to measure around our ankles, wrists, upper arms and heads. They compared all of the measurements. They were quite amazed that the left side of the body can be different to the right side. They also discovered that my head isn’t that much bigger than L’s!
Even the bunny got in on it!
This was a simple activity that needed no preparation to organise, but it gave the kids plenty of practice measuring things. Being able to measure accurately and consistently is an important skill, and we will be practicing it more in the future.
There’s a House Inside my Mummy by Giles Andreae and and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, paperback picture book, first published by Orchard Books in 2001, this edition published in 2002.
A young boy is expecting a little brother or sister soon, and he is very excited. He describes what is happening through his experience. He watches his mummy as her tummy grows, when she is tired and sick, and the weird things the baby wants her to eat, as he waits and waits for the baby to arrive.
I first read this book to my eldest child when I was pregnant with my second child. She was only two, and this book was helpful in explaining pregnancy to her. We read it again during my third pregnancy, this time to both my girls. They enjoyed the idea of there being a house inside me where the baby was growing, just like in the story. It described what was happening in a kid-friendly way, with lovely rhyming texts and simple illustrations. It also gave us the opening to talk about pregnancy and how the baby was growing, and what would happen when the baby was ready to be born. The girls asked lots of questions, and asked to read this book repeatedly. Even though their little brother is here now, they still like to read this book sometimes.
There’s a House Inside my Mummy is a unique book about the joyous arrival of a new baby. It is nice to read with expectant big siblings, especially toddlers and preschoolers, in preparation for the baby’s arrival.
I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! by Linda Davick, hardback picture book, published by Beach Lane Books in 2013.
This is a wonderful rhyming book that celebrates the body and all the parts that make it up. These children love their bodies, no matter the shape, size, colour or even if it’s bruised or scratched. And you can too!
This was a fun book that we shared, bringing our attention to different parts of the body. As we read , my preschooler pointed to each part on her own body, and made some comments, like ‘My hair is red!’ and ‘That girl’s reading a book on the potty!’ My preschooler loved the rhyming cadence and the clear illustrations. She laughed most at the picture of a girl sneezing with lots of green stuff coming out of her nose! The part about not quite being able to hug the back, got my preschooler trying to hug her back like the children in the picture, it was quite funny. I really liked that this book got my preschooler thinking about her body and just how wonderful it really is.
My Body by Bloomsbury Discovery and illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy, large format non-fiction boardbook with flaps, published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc in 2014.
Most children love lift-the-flap books, and this one has dozens of flaps that open to reveal lots of fun facts and information about the body. A wonderfully engaging book for preschoolers and children in lower primary, My Body covers human evolution and the various body systems in a detail appropriate for this age group. The main illustrations were plentiful, detailed and clear, showing a good life-like representation of the human body. There were also lots of other illustrations on every page with more facts, and these had more of a cartoon quality about them.
The flaps were a big attraction for my preschooler, but once we started reading, she really got into the information too. She asked a lot of questions while we were reading, she came back to the book later to look through it again herself, and asked me to re-read a few sections to her. We ended up reading the whole book in one sitting as she was enjoying it so much. The information contained within this book was detailed enough that my second grader also found it useful and enlightening. I have heard my preschooler repeat several facts she learnt from My Body, especially that people shouldn’t eat snot because it contains germs!
Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor, a Rookie Toddler boardbook, published by Children’s Press (Scholastic) in 2014.
This boardbook introduces young children to some of their body parts. It contains clear photographs of children pointing to their own ears, eyes, and other parts. Seeing children just like them can help toddlers and young children to engage in learning new things. And with only one large print word per photo, and a sturdy board construction, this is a great book to start learning body parts with babies and toddlers.
Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church, boardbook, published by Cartwheel Books in 2014.
A simple and engaging book for toddlers celebrating their bodies. As I read through Ten Tiny Toes with my son (15 months old), I encouraged him to point to each part of his body and do the actions in the book. He liked looking through the book and pointing to the pictures, and especially grabbing his toes when we read ‘and ten tiny toes!’ He did laugh and giggle when we touched his tummy too. The text was large with rhyming language, and the illustrations were simple, yet nice. This story helped us to focus on learning parts of the body in a fun way that many toddlers will enjoy.
Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath, paperback non-fiction, first published by Dutton Children’s Books in 2005, this edition published by Puffin Books in 2008.
Amazing You! is a basic look at the reproductive systems for young children. Aimed at preschoolers, this book provides information on body awareness and answers questions about ‘private parts’. It is a good first journey into what can be an awkward topic for many parents.
The text and illustrations are clear and simple, using anatomical names and easy to understand language. There is also a helpful section at the back of the book for parents on talking about sexual curiosity and where babies come from with their children. When it comes to describe how babies are made, it does not go into extensive detail, but sticks to the basics of egg and sperm, all a preschooler really needs to know. The book mentions that sexual curiosity is natural and normal, including masturbation and asking questions. It also reminds us that our bodies and our sexual organs should not be a source of embarrassment or shame, because they are all part of us, and we are amazing!
Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, non-fiction paperback, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1993, this edition published by Red Fox in 1995.
Dad and Mum have decided to tell their kids where babies come from. They tell the kids that sometimes dinosaurs deliver babies, or they can be grown from seeds, made from gingerbread, or they can even be found under rocks! And in this case, the kids exploded from a huge egg that Mum laid on the couch. The kids think this is hilarious. They quickly begin on a journey to set their parents straight, including lots of drawings explaining just how babies are made.
A light-hearted look at reproduction, this book is perfect for younger children from preschool up. The drawings are humorous, educational, and appropriate for the intended audience. The language is easy to understand for children, and the subject matter is treated without any of the seriousness that sometimes surrounds this often delicate topic. I think this book would be especially good for parents who are a little nervous about having “the talk” with their kids, it is a great way to lighten the mood.
Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. I think that it is the best introduction to the sensitive subject of conception and reproduction that I have come across. It is honest, frank and amusing. I particularly like the pages that show how mummies and daddies fit together, some truly awkward and hilarious positions! My kids laughed at the ridiculous stories that the Mum and Dad tell their kids, as well as at many of the drawings throughout the book. It covered the basics, and my kids were happy with the content, re-reading it several times, asking questions and discussing it. A really nice book, I am very glad I purchased Mummy Laid an Egg!
The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins, paperback non-fiction, first published in 1986, this edition published in 2006 by Annick Press.
This is a simple look at our bodies, and the different parts that make them up. With basic language and clear illustrations, this is a nice book for toddlers and preschoolers. It introduces each part of the body, with some illustrated examples of each, such as pushing arms, hairy nipples and stamping feet. At the end of each page, it asks the child to locate that body part on themselves, which is a great prompt for learning body parts and for body awareness.
My preschooler liked the pictures, and had fun locating all her body parts as suggested by the book. She enjoyed perusing this book on her own too, looking at the pictures, and pointing out what the different parts of the body were doing.