Monday, 24 August 2015

All about the human body

One of Finn's current explorations is the human body. It started with him being very interested in skeletons at the start of the year, though I never understood where it came from. So, I gathered resources and ideas from Pinterest, and we set off to learn about skeletons. Little did I know that 8 months later we would still actively be learning about the topic. Actually, it has extended from skeletons, to the digestive system, the circulatory system, the brain, muscles, nerves, senses and everything in between! Our ressources have multiplied and I'd like to share my best finds as well as the various activities Finn and I have enjoyed.
We started with a skeleton puzzle printable. I draw Finn's body outline and we filled it in with the bones in the correct places.

We also did the "boneless hand" experiment, where you fill a washing up glove with water to show what our hands would be like without bones.
Observing that the interest was only stronger after those activities, I ordered Look Inside Your Body and the Eyewitness guide, Skeleton. Look Inside Your Body was amazing to introduce him to other parts and functions of the body, while Skeleton made it really easy to observe the features of different animal skeletons and compare them with ours. Best of all though, are the What's Inside Animals? cards, which allow the child to see the outside of a selection of animals as well as the skeleton when held against a light.

We also have the Beleduc cat layer puzzle, showing the skeleton, organs and muscles of a cat.

After exploring skeletons in great detail, Finn became naturally interested in what else the body books were showing: the digestive system. I found a great activity on several places on Pinterest, which we really enjoyed as it clearly showed what happens to our food inside our body.

I put a Weetabix inside a food bag and let Finn turn it to crumbs with a pestle, mimicking the chewing action (minus the saliva). Then we added water to the bag to act as stomach acid and Finn massaged the mixture for a few minutes. After that, we had to suck the water out as does the large intestine, so we sieved the gloopy mess. Of course Finn thought it was hilarious that we had made poo!

We bought him the Leapfrog Human Body discovery pack, which he has used most days in the past months. The child uses the electronic pen to touch the pictures in the book and listen to facts, songs, and play games about the human body.


Below he was observing his fingernails with a microscope we borrowed from a friend.

We came to have so many ressources related to the human body, that we created a theme basket.

Here are the contents that I haven't mentioned above.


See Inside Your Body, Usborne
The Incredible Human Body Activity Book (Finn is too young for this but he loves it anyway. I'd recommend it for a child aged at least 5)
Where Willy Went by Nicholas Allan (human reproduction in a matter of fact way, which we highly recommend)
I know why I brush my teeth by Kate Rowan
Inside your outside, The cat in the hat's learning library
Watch me grow, Professor Stuart Campbell

Hands-on materials:

Edu-toys human torso
Wood and plaster skull
Skeleton 3-part cards 

 It may look like we spent a lot of money on ressources, but those purchases were done over close to a year, with many of them bought second hand on Ebay.

In May we went to @Bristol, Bristol's wonderful hands-on science museum. There were many exhibits about the human body, which we all really enjoyed. Below are some photos from our visit.

That's a real brain!

Incredible "see-your-veins" machine

We are by no means finished with this topic, as Finn has asked to learn about how the body fights diseases next. Having chickenpox right now, I can't think of a better time!


  1. I love to watch what you and Finn choose to explore, our boys are a very similar age. Even from the other side of the world I can see Finn expanding and growing in so many directions it's really exciting to watch.

    What a wonderful set of hands on experiences and resources you have managed to provide. No wonder he has held his interest for so long. There is nothing better than deep topic based explorations to build their confidence in their ability to learn.

    When it comes to the price of resources all avenues for learning cost. For me it really comes down to whether you buy resources for home based learning or contribute to the upkeep of an institution with an out of home option.

    If life provided me with an opportunity to stay at home for Little Tree's learning years I would be there with bells on. As it is I am looking to supplement and keep his obvious love of learning alive whilst my circumstances mean that I am going to have to be at work full time.

    Best wishes and Highest Hopes

    1. Hi Belinda, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate it. I realise how lucky we are to be able to home educate, but there's so much you can do to supplement and reinforce what they learn in school. What age do children start school in Australia? I wish you all the best and will continue reading your blog.

  2. Hi Elsa,

    I am absolutely sure that you all work very hard and continue to make many compromises in many areas to prioritise Finn's education, I am sure there was very little luck in making it happen. :-)

    At this point I am happy with supplementation. He is thriving in the social environment of preschool at the moment and he started when he was just 3. He's in the thick of it as soon as we walk in the door with nary a goodbye and he comes home happy and smiling. I may struggle more as we approach "primary school" as there is a real teach to the test mentality in Australian schooling right now. A child can enter school any time from 4.5 up but they have to be enrolled by their 6th birthday if they are going into the "free education system".

    If you would be interested in doing a bit of a culture swap we'd love to. I'm just starting to get continent boxes together and cultural interest items tend to be a bit of a challenge to access from over here :-)

    Best Wishes

    1. Belinda, sorry I didn't reply sooner. Yes, of course we can do a culture swap. I live in the UK but go to France regularly, so could bring back some items. Is there anything in particular you're after? You can email me on

  3. Hello Elsa,
    Your post made me think of that puzzle :
    Same style than the cat one and perfect for your theme ;-)

    1. Hi,
      What a lovely puzzle. Very similar to our cat one, indeed :)
      Best wishes


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