1 The Parts of Me!
Children will identify visible body parts by their correct names.
Children will show respect for differences in individual appearance.
Children will practice behavior that protects their bodies (for example,
using safety gear and wearing appropriate clothing).
Young children have a natural curiosity about their bodies, especially the ex-
ternal body parts that are visible. The concept of internal body parts is more
difficult for preschoolers to understand. To introduce this concept, invite chil-
dren to look at their faces and lips in a nonbreakable mirror. Ask them to open
their mouths so they can see their tongues and teeth. Encourage children with
visual impairments to feel their tongues and teeth with their fingers.
Introduce specific body parts one at a time, building on children’s learning
and experiences. For example, most children have experienced a cut or scraped
knee, so they can understand that blood is inside of their bodies. Later they can
explore the concept of a heart pumping blood throughout the body through
blood vessels. Likewise, you can introduce the concept of bones creating a frame-
work for the body.
Use correct terminology for body parts through the day. Hand-washing
terms include hands, fingers, skin, fingernails, and wrists. Songs like the “Hokey
Pokey” and games like Simon Says offer opportunities for children to move while
identifying arms, legs, feet, elbows, toes, and other body parts.
Young children may think pain is normal, and they may not cry even when
seriously injured. By learning about and being able to identify body parts, children
can more easily alert adults if they are hurt or injured. When a child says, “I don’t
feel good,” knowing whether his head, stomach, or extremities (arms and legs)