There is nothing cuter than watching your child point to their button nose after the prompting, “where is your nose?” Between 3-4 months, your baby discovered their hands for the first time but when can they identify body parts on command? Children learn about body parts between 1 to 5 years old.
- 1 ½ years old: Able to identify one to three body parts on command.
- 2- 2 ½ years old: Identifies basic body parts: head, arm, legs, nose, hands, mouth, eyes, ears, and feet.
- 5 years old: Draws a person with at least 6 body parts.
- 5-5 ½ years old: Identifies advanced body parts: elbow, forehead, eyelashes, eyebrows, knees, wrists, and ankles. Understands the functions of basic body parts (e.g. eyes are for seeing).
Chances are your toddler is already exploring your face as you hold them in your arms. As your child touches your facial features, name the body parts as well as the function to help your child distinguish. For example, “That is Mommy’s ears; ears help you hear”. The following are more ideas to encourage learning body parts.
- Sing a song. There are so many catchy and fun songs that work on identifying body parts. Start with this simple song to encourage imitation, “This is the way we touch our nose, touch our nose, touch our nose, this is the way we touch our nose, so early in the morning”. ‘Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”, “Hokey Pokey”, and “If you’re happy and you know it” are all great songs to get active while practicing body parts!
- Utilize props. Props are a great way to indirectly target body parts. Play dress up with gloves, socks, sunglasses, earmuffs, and hats. Start with identifying where the objects go such as “the hat goes on your head” or “ put sunglasses on your eyes”. Next, incorporate direction following and color identification by giving commands such as “put the pink socks on your feet”. Finally, ask the child where the clothing pieces go, “what do you put gloves on?” or “where do you put the gloves?”
- Friendly quiz. Simply ask your child to identify body parts by pointing. Incorporate other family members by asking, “Where is Dad’s ears?”
A great way to address learning body parts is through play. The following toys are excellent for identifying basic body parts.
- Baby doll: Pointing out body parts on a baby doll is a great way to integrate language into pretend play. Narrate while your child is playing to encourage imitation, “Put pants on baby’s legs. Hat on Baby’s head. Baby’s eyes are blue.”
- Potato Head: Create your own Mr. Potato head with crazy noses, mustaches, hats, and glasses. Let your child request different body parts to add to his or her Potato head.
- Fisher-Price Laugh and learn: Not only does your child learn parts of the body with this stuffed animal dog, but it also targets A-B-Cs, counting, and colors.
Children’s Literature to teach Body parts:
- Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
- Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz
- Toes, Ears, & nose! By Karen Katz
Make learning body parts fun for you and your child! If you feel your child is delayed in language acquisition, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for a consultation with one of our speech therapists.
“Learning Body Parts.” What to Expect, WhattoExpect, 27 Feb. 2015, www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/toddler-growth-and-development/learning-body-parts.aspx.
Zimmerman, Irla Lee, et al. Preschool Language Scales. fifth ed., 2011.