Skip to main content

Fun ways to teach your toddler the parts of the body

Babies love a game of peek-a-boo and got your nose, but now that your little one is officially a toddler, when is the right time to start teaching them the names of their body parts? The answer is right now. The toddler stage is considered the period of time from a child’s first birthday through age 3. It’s the time leading up to preschool, and this period is a fun one for parents and kids. They are intellectual sponges during this stretch in early childhood development, so aside from practicing speech with your toddler at this particular stage, it’s also the perfect time to teach them body parts.

Little piggies may go to market, but experts say stick to correct terms when introducing body parts to toddlers. Noodle and noggin may sound cute when talking about the head, but to avoid confusion when kids hit preschool, use correct terms with toddlers when identifying parts of the body. Of course, even though you are using the right words, you can still have a lot of fun helping kids learn their body parts.

Talk, talk, talk

Unlike teenagers, toddlers focus on every word and action coming from their parents. When you are doing everyday activities like getting dressed and brushing teeth, use body part names while talking to your child. Put your arm in the sleeve of your jacket or put your right foot in the sneaker are easy ways to get kids discussing body parts. The more you say words like eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and head, the more likely it is for toddlers to pick up the vocabulary and begin using it themselves.

Music

Toddlers love to sing, and they get excited when parents do too. There are many catchy tunes on the playlist to get kids familiar with their body parts’ names. Quite a few include movement as well. “The Hokey Pokey,” “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” are classic kids songs that teach toddlers the parts of the body while getting everyone moving. The tunes are catchy, easy to sing introduce toddlers to body part names like hands, feet, head, leg, arm, and more.

Toddler singing and playing guitar with parents
Pepsco Studios/Shutterstock

Open a book

Curling up with toddlers to read is an excellent way to teach the body parts while developing important pre-reading skills and spending quality bonding time. Whether you read books before bed, bath, or whenever the mood hits, choose toddler-oriented books focusing on body parts. Dr. Seuss’s “The Foot Book” is a silly read about all different kinds of feet. After reading the book, take off the socks and have a look at your toddler’s feet and yours.

New Jersey children’s book author and illustrator Aliki Brandenberg goes by the pen name Aliki and has a few perfect titles in her numerous list of publications for getting toddlers familiar with their body parts. My Feet,” “My Hands,” “My Five Senses,” and “I’m Growing” are excellent reads to get you and your toddler reading about body parts.

Games

Like books and music, playing games is a great way to introduce toddlers to the parts of the body. Play a simplified game of Simon Says with your toddler, pointing to body parts like head, knees, toes, stomach, ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Twister is an oldie, but goodie that will get little ones giggling as they try to put their hand on particular colors. The Hokey Pokey pops into this category too. Pull up the song on YouTube and get the whole family involved.

Make a self-portrait

Toddlers enjoy drawing and coloring. Combine the two by making a life-size drawing. Get a roll of white art paper and have your toddler lie down. If you don’t have art paper, use the backside of a roll of wrapping paper. Trace the outline of your child’s body with a pencil. Then get to work using markers and crayons to complete a life-size picture. When it’s all colored, take post-its and label body parts like head and shoulders. Hang the drawing up in their room on a closet door.

At least once a week, play a find and seek type game, having your child locate their thumb or ear on the drawing. Having the words correspond to the body parts on the drawing is also a pre-reading skill that will help toddlers learn to associate letters and words with objects.

Toys and puzzles

Of course, toddlers have a favorite stuffed bear or bunny to cuddle with at nap and bedtime. Use those cute, cozy pals to point out names for arms, legs, eyes, nose, and mouth. You can even get toddlers laughing by comparing a bunny’s ears to a person’s. Dressing dolls help toddlers learn the names of body parts and self-help skills like buttoning and zipping. Wooden puzzles come in all different shapes and sizes, including ones to help toddlers get to know body parts. Puzzles get fine motor skills working while learning to identify body parts.

You can have a great deal of fun teaching your toddler the parts of the body through music, play, books, and art. Don’t be too concerned if, at first, your child isn’t picking up on a lot of the body part terms. Just keep talking. Toddlers are listening.

Toddler boy doing puzzle on the floor with mom
Oksana Kuzmina

If you’re trying to teach your baby to talk, make sure to check out our four fun activities that will encourage your baby language learning.

Editors' Recommendations

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
Create the ultimate goodie bags for your toddler’s birthday party
Need goodie bags for your toddler's birthday party? Try these awesome ideas
Three kids celebrating a birthday party

Hosting a birthday party for your toddler is a fun way to celebrate the milestone of them getting older. Getting together with your closest family and friends is fun, but the preparations for the party can also be stressful. Parents know that planning for and buying the perfect toddler birthday goodie bags is almost as important as planning the party! The ritual of handing out toddler birthday goodie bags at the end of the birthday party isn't necessary, but many parents like to give their party guests something small to go home with as a token of their appreciation. Goodie bags are like the icing on the cake and kids love to see what’s inside. Usually, they can’t wait until they get to the car to take a peek.

Parents walk a fine line between filling goodie bags with items toddlers enjoy and parents will appreciate while keeping the price tag budget-friendly. Here are some tricks and ideas for toddler birthday goodie bag ideas that are fun, useful, and low-stress for you.

Read more
The best party games for your sports-loving kids
These best party games score big with sports lovers
Kids running with each other at a party.

Got a sport-loving kid with a birthday coming up? Hosting a sports themed birthday party for your kiddo is a super easy way to score a touchdown. Whether you've got a kickball fanatic or a budding soccer star on your hands, choosing the birthday party theme for your sports fan is a lot easier than scoring in a shootout. There are tons of sports party games that are a slam dunk.  You don't have to stick to one sport either when choosing the activities for your little one's big day. From soccer-themed games to kickball games to an Olympic theme, there are a ton of options for all your guests whether you are hosting indoors or out. Now, let's hear the starting lineup for the best party games.
Sports party kickoff
Before we get to the best sports party games to knock it out of the park to celebrate your child's special day, let's not forget about the warmup. It's a big part of any sport as all athletes know. So, a fun way to get all the kids excited about a sports-themed birthday party is to kick it off with a warmup.

Have an adult dress up as the coach and lead the kids in some useful and silly stretches. Play upbeat music to pump them up. The theme from Rocky is a timeless choice. Then, have the coach give the partygoers tips for the games ahead before concluding with an introduction with a cheer for the birthday guy or gal.

Read more
No pool toys? No problem! 7 safe, fun games to play in the pool for 8-year-olds
Running low on pool toys? Try these games to play in the pool that only requires the kids
Kids playing games in a pool.

Splish! Splash! Do the kids enjoy the swimming pool in the summer? Will they play in an indoor pool all fall and winter long? Whether you're hosting a pool full of friends of your 8-year-old, a birthday party, or a quiet afternoon of family fun in the pool, having a diverse menu of swimming games for kids is a must. Don't worry if you don't have a stock of pool noodles, beach balls, and floaties on hand in the shed. There are plenty of cool games to play in the pool instead of relying on toys. Many classic swimming games have been doing laps around backyard pools for ages.

Keep these fun swimming games in the repertoire. They're safe, easy to play, and are all games 8-year-olds — as well as kids of all ages — will enjoy when hanging in the pool. Even adults will have a splash playing games they used to when they were kiddos. Another perk to all of these splashin' swimming games? They all let kids work on their swimming strokes while having a blast. Grab your goggles and see what game you want to show your kids how to play.

Read more