Get to know your own body – games for children
Every child should have basic knowledge of their own body from a certain age. This includes not only the naming of the individual body parts, but also knowledge of their function. The child needs to know that we have two legs and arms, a stomach, a nose, a mouth, etc., but also that the body has a front and back and which parts of the body belong to each side. For a well-functioning body coordination, it is also important to know that our body has a center line and from which there are two sides that can move separately or consciously together (bilateral motor coordination).
Why knowledge about the body?
Inadequate knowledge of the body can manifest itself in a variety of ways. It can often be observed that some children become unsafe when asked to lie on their stomach and lie on their back instead. A child who paints a person with four arms also shows that he still has a lack of knowledge about the body, whereby the development of painting should always be taken into account depending on age. For example, the so-called cephalopods or arthropods are completely normal at the age of 3-4 years.
The correct localization of a part of the body may be difficult for the child not only in himself, but also in others or on a picture. The child may not be able to carry out the oral instruction on the left leg alone, since it is unable to locate the part of the body concerned. Touching the respective leg can be helpful here. If it does not succeed even then or if it repeatedly stands on the wrong leg, the body awareness and the right-left orientation may be affected.
Games to get to know the body
Here are some suggestions on how children can playfully discover their bodies and their functions:
Body art with color is not only fun, it is also a very sensual experience. Finger paint, water paint or even theater make-up can be used here. Alternatively, shaving cream can be used. It is about consciously perceiving and discovering your own body, but also discovering the other’s body. Instructions such as: "Paint your knees, back of your hands, shoulders or elbows!" Can further strengthen the body concept. Terms such as right and left, top and bottom or front and back also get meaning. Perception is also an important topic. Where am I particularly sensitive or ticklish, what do I find pleasant or uncomfortable on my body?
Paint body outline
The child’s outline is painted on a large piece of wrapping paper or wallpaper. For this purpose, a child lies down on the paper while another child paints the outline. The following variants can be implemented:
- The outline can be cut out.
- The outline can be colored.
- In the outline, the organs can be roughly painted in the appropriate places.
- The circulatory system can be painted in the outline.
- The most important muscles, bones or joints can be painted in the outline.
- The outline can be measured with the centimeter measure or a string, so that body sizes, foot sizes, leg lengths etc. can be compared with other outlines and related.
Here anatomical templates / illustrations or skeletons can also be used.
A body part or sense is taboo
What is it like to live with a handicap? What if a body part or a body sense is missing? For example, a blindfolded child can be led through the rooms by another child or the children try to communicate without speaking, the hands must not be used for eating, the right hand must not be used for some time, etc. By instructing not to use the thumb, the children will notice how important every tiny part of the body is for us and awareness of the body will be strengthened.
Use the stethoscope
There are already cheap game stethoscopes on the market with which the heartbeat can be monitored. Where exactly is the heart located? Do you also hear the heartbeat on the stomach or leg? Finding out about yourself and others is always a lot of fun for children in the form of doctor games. Where can the pulse beat be felt everywhere and in which parts of the body do you feel the pulse little or not at all?
Body and face puzzle
Body and face puzzles can be purchased anywhere in the trade. Another option would be to cut a photo of the child into strips or pieces and use it to create your own puzzle. A good portrait shot can be wonderfully divided into strips (hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, upper and lower lip, chin, neck …), which can be stuck together again.
Find and name body parts
The children should find a specific part of the body in themselves, on others or in illustrations, or name a part of the body that is pointed to. Picture books about the body or certain body games such as:
- Massages with a hedgehog ball at predetermined parts of the body
- Weighting with sandbags on certain parts of the body
- all kinds of movement games, in which it is specified which parts of the body are to be moved (for example: "hop on one leg." "clap your hands three times." "stamp with your foot." etc.)
- Games like twister or card games about the body
- Rhymes and songs with body terms
Parts of the body can be different for everyone. Feet, ears, mouths, eyes, hands etc. can look different for everyone and vary in size, shape and color. With a collage there is the possibility:
- Cut out and arrange different parts of the body (all mouths, all ears etc. together) and perceive the differences.
- Create different bodies / faces by allowing the children to choose from a variety of body part snippets that they combine.
As a variant: the body is placed in the middle of the collage and around it are the subject areas that it needs for life. This includes, for example, food, environmental conditions such as air and temperature, but also social aspects such as love, security, money and many other things. The children can stick symbols or pictures for the respective aspects around the body in the collage.
Knead dolls with inner life and figures
The dolls with inner life show how it looks in our body (see below “Suitable for the topic”). The heart, kidneys, stomach, intestines and liver can be closely examined in these cuddly dolls. This also explains wonderfully what happens to our food once it is swallowed.
After considering this model, you can knead a figure yourself and correctly order and name the individual organs and body parts.
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