Let Them Grow: Anatomy Canvas for Preschoolers

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Our Paintable Body

Kids especially toddlers like repetition.  They like knowing the outcome, they like knowing the answer.  Most toddlers I know love themed based curriculums because it allows them to master a topic. It seems that every week there is a new theme in my life. Not a theme I would personally choose to embrace like types of orchids or sheet composting. Things the children in my life are interested in learning are less complicated and blatantly much more fun. 
This month, my two-year-old became fascinated by her body part; she has known the basics for a while now “head shoulder knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose; but she has moved on to ankles, wrists, chin bones and neck.  Soon it will be coccyx, flanges, and mandible.  Even though I may not be overly excited about teaching body parts, by using the child’s interests (emergent curriculum) parents and teachers can ride the tail wins of curiosity and create a rich learning experience. Here are a few great body based art projects for the tail winds of winter here in the Valley.

Tooth Painting: Using tooth shape cut from brown paper let your child paint the tooth white using a toothbrush.  This is great for a younger toddler who is just learning what teeth are about. They are hard, white and not for biting friends! We chew with them, we brush them to keep them clean and they are no for biting friends!

Parts Collage: I love collage and think it is one of the most engaging art projects for older toddlers and Pre-Schoolers.  Face collages are fun because kids collages are innately very Picasso. Pre-cut lots of body parts. Use faces, arms, and hands, feet and legs and torsos.  Be creative. Cut out hair, ears, hats and other clothes.

Give your child glue. Offer glue in a squeeze bottle or a glue sticks depending on whether or not they can squeeze or rub. If both are hard use a popsicle stick and glue poured into a small container.  Encourage your child to name the parts as they create their face. Identify the parts. Sarah has green eyes and Daddy has brown hair.

Body painting: Yep. Just that.  Use white paint, roll out a big paper and paint your parts away.  The prints will look like skeletons. Have the bath ready!

Bringing to life a child’s learning experience is undoubtedly the key to building a creative and thoughtful learner. It is a way to make learning fun for the youngest ones who don’t yet understand that they are actually learning and not just playing.


Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programming for children. She revels in hands-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.


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