Please welcome Nancy from Your Yoga Flow to share some fun and easy ways to teach anatomy to kids. This article is a snippet from their one-hundred-hour Online Children’s Yoga Teacher Training, which I had the pleasure of taking and asked if they could share these ideas with our community. Learning about anatomy is a key concept taught in all adult and children yoga trainings, and I particularly loved their literature- and art-based approach catering to various learning styles. I highly recommend checking out their online children’s yoga teacher training!
Teaching Anatomy to Children in a Fun and Empowering Way
The more we know about our bodies, the more connected we can become to a confident sense of self. Every human has their own unique and beautiful body. Teaching children about their bodies can help them to gain a deeper understanding of how their bodies and minds work. This can be empowering.
Self-Knowledge = Confidence!
Fun Anatomical Facts for Kids
- Your brain weighs only about 3 pounds, but it can store billions of bits of information!
- Over half of your body’s bones are in your hands and feet!
- Your body produces 25 million new cells every second!
- Your body has 206 bones!
- The heart beats around three million times in an average person’s life!
- Your body has more than 600 muscles to help you move!
Incorporating Anatomy into a Yoga Class for All Ages
If kids know more about their own amazing body and how it works, they might be more inclined to take care of themselves. Teaching kids about anatomy can make them more aware of self-care and, hopefully, self-love.
There are lots of fun and creative ways to incorporate anatomy into a yoga class for all ages and all types of learners.
3-5 Years Old
- Read a book such as Me and my Amazing Body and ask children to point to or touch and move their various body parts (eyes, nose, arms, or legs).
- Sing songs about the body (head and shoulders, knees and toes) or make up your own songs.
- Show visual examples of anatomy (heart, lungs, or bones) then have children draw the anatomical part.
- While in a yoga pose, ask children to wiggle their noses, open their mouths to stick out their tongues, and bend and straighten their knees and elbows.
- While in Tree Pose, ask the children, “Can you feel your feet touching the ground?” or “Can you feel your fingers reaching for the sky?’’
- Play music and make up different movements for the spine: “Can you arch your spine like an angry cat or lift your chest like a playful puppy?” or “Can you twist and turn like a washing machine?”
5-12 Years Old
- Use resource materials such as 3D models, anatomy coloring books, or crafts.
- Watch age-appropriate YouTube videos about children’s anatomy with them.
- Have kids make up their own anatomy dances or skits.
- Create interactive activities in partners or groups
- Create a life-sized paper anatomy model: Outline each child’s body; cut out the shape of the body; draw/color bones and organs; and cut and paste to outline.
- Sculpt a skeleton with Play-doh and pasta.
- Make a 3D spine with Lifesavers and licorice as the nerves or with marshmallows as the disks and jam as the fluid between the intervertebral disks.
- Measure out the small intestine (22 feet long) with a garden hose or rope.
- Include anatomical cues for yoga poses, such as: “Glide your scapula gently down your spine, away from your shoulders,” or “Feel your diaphragm move downward as your lungs fill up and feel it move up as your lungs empty.”
10-17 Years Old
- Use resource materials such as 3D models, anatomy books and coloring books, crafts, or YouTube.
- Have tweens make up their own anatomy dance/skits.
- Create interactive activities in partners or groups (using colored tape to trace muscles and bones).
- Play anatomy Simon Says: “Simon says internally rotate your shoulders” or “Simon says flex your spine,” etc.
- Include anatomical cues for yoga poses, such as: “In Warrior 1, draw your low ribs in as you lengthen your pubic bone toward your navel. Widen across the collar bones, externally rotate your shoulders, and slightly flex your elbows.”
Recommended Books to Teach Anatomy to Children
The texts below are available online and at major book retailers.
This article contains affiliate links.
Human Body Activity Book for Kids: Hands-On Fun for Grades K-3, by Katie Stokes
Me and My Amazing Body, by Joan Sweeney
The Anatomy Medical Book For Kids: A Coloring, Activity and Medical Book For Kids, by Winbly Scott and Annie Maine
100 Questions About… The Human Body, by Simon Abbott
About the Author
Yoga found Nancy Frohlick way back in the 80s, when she was an anxious, rebellious student working on her master’s degree in art. She instantly fell head over heels in love with yoga and can see now, that those early days of practice planted the seed of awakening to her true self. Nancy’s first teachers inspired her to explore her passion for yoga, and she became a teacher almost twenty-five years ago. Yoga is one of her many passions, and she is excited to share that with readers.
Nancy’s mantra: If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
Find Nancy at Your Yoga Flow: www.youryogaflow.com
Register for Your Yoga Flow’s 100-Hour Online Children’s Yoga Teaching Training here and use code “KYS20” at checkout for 20% off.
Nancy Frohlick, ERYT500, RCYT
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MY BODY YOGA CARDS FOR KIDS
Add movement to your anatomy lessons with these fun yoga cards for kids designed especially to teach kids about their own bodies.
Learning about their own bodies can make children more aware of self-care and, hopefully, self-love. Yoga is a fun way to incorporate anatomy into a class for all ages and all types of learners.
The deck of 39 colorful cards includes:
- an index card listing the different body parts in a sequence
- instructions for 14 body-themed yoga poses
- 14 illustrated cards showing the postures
- 14 matching body parts cards
- yoga teaching tips
Purchase the My Body Yoga Cards for Kids here.
Purchase the My Body Yoga Cards for Kids here.