These projects help demonstrate the usefulness of bones and joints, and compliment the projects and activities found in our first workbook, About Me.
Project #1: Bendy Bones
This skeleton model craft can help you teach your child about some major joints in the body: the neck, knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles.
You will need: 9 bendy straws, 4 pipe cleaners (1 must be white), scissors, a hole puncher, 1 large marshmallow, and a black marker.
First, cut 4 pipe cleaners and 9 straws, like so (click to enlarge):
Straws: 5 small, 2 medium, and 2 large
Pipe Cleaners: 2 uncut, 1 half cut, and 3 small (approx. 3″)
The two largest pipe cleaners will form the legs and torso. Place one large straw piece over one of the legs, making sure a little pipe cleaner is poking out one end. Put the other large straw piece onto the other leg. Twist the remaining ends of the pipe cleaners together all the way up.
Have your child cut 5 small square “spine” pieces out of some leftover straw. Have him thread these down the torso to the legs. Then thread one of the small straw pieces down on top of these (this will be the upper body).
Punch two holes on either side of the upper body piece with a hole puncher, just below the bend (for the arm socket). Then cut three slits down either side beneath the holes (for the rib sockets).
Flatten and fold one end of a medium straw piece (arm).
Push it through both punched holes. Fold then slide your other medium piece of straw through the first to form the second arm. Push the medium pipe cleaner all the way through both arms.
Now for the feet and hands – flatten and fold the remaining 4 small straw pieces and push them into the ends of the legs and arms.
Your child can cut 5 slits in each to make fingers and toes.
For the ribs, thread the 3 small pieces of pipe cleaner through the 3 slits below the arms – bend into C shapes.
Push a large marshmallow down through the top pipe cleaners to the body. Cut off any excess pipe cleaner.
Your child can now draw on a skeleton face. A black Sharpie works best.
Why we like it: This fun and workable model of the human skeleton is a good way to introduce your child to his joints. It also demonstrates the form and function of the spine.
Project #2: Organ Cage
With this activity, you can teach your child that not only do bones hold us up, but they also protect some of our most important organs.
Print out our Organ Cage worksheet (found here under “Support Materials”)
Have your child color the worksheet while you make the ribs template.
Fold a sheet of white paper in half width-wise. Cut a skull and neck bone shape out of the top. Then draw rows of horizontal lines running just short of both edges:
Now flip the paper over and fold each side again to meet the middle crease.
Have your child cut along every line, being careful not to cut beyond the ends.
Cut out every other rib:
Tape the back vertical edges together:
Now your child can draw a skeleton face:
Cut the Lungs and Heart worksheet along the border lines. Roll it into a tube.
Fit the tube inside the rib cage and tape to secure.
Why we like it: This is a quick and easy visual that demonstrates how the heart and lungs fit inside the ribcage. You could also develop this craft to show how the skull protects the brain.
These activities are a perfect complement to Lesson 6 (Bones) in our workbook, About Me!