Body parts are often the first words I target when a child has no words. They are functional and easy to imitate with toddlers.
- The words – ‘eye’ and ‘ear’ – are useful vowels. ‘Eye’ can be attempted with an open mouth ‘ah’ and a smile ‘ee’. Ear can be shown with a smile ‘ee’ and an open mouth ‘ah’.
- ‘Arm’ can be shaped from open mouth ‘ah’.
- ‘Hair’ is another easy early word.
- Go to vowels – if your child needs more help with shaping these early words.
There are lots of opportunities in the day to talk about body parts – in the bath, getting dressed, wiping mouth and hands, nappy change etc.
Here are some ideas for play themes to encourage body related vocabulary.
Toys I Like at Kmart
1. Mr Potato Head
This classic toy is great for naming body parts as you make the figure.
2. Playdough Face
Roll the playdough into a head, mouth, nose, eyes. You can also use playdough mats to make more elaborate faces. Check the playdough templates below.
3. Magnetic faces or body sets
There are lots of magnetic or paper books with character faces to make. You can make a witch's face or funny face. so many ways to practice these words.
4. Bathing dolls
Use a toy bath (or real) to wash dolls or teddies. You can wash 'face' or 'dirty feet' or 'dry hair'.
Learning to name body parts is an early skill for babies which continues as they grow older. Babies learn words like eyes, ears, nose and older children learn words like elbows and back. Our book list has some books for younger babies and also some making faces books for preschoolers.
- Toes, Ears & Nose. This is a lift the flap book suitable for toddlers and young preschoolers. Each page has a flap to lift to find another body part underneath. Lift the glasses and there are the eyes, lift the boots and there are the toes.
- Silly Faces (Magnetic book). Make lots of different faces – clown, pirate, monster etc with magnetic pieces. You can use it over and over again! Also you can make mixed up faces.
- Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes. This board book for babies has all the words from the nursery rhyme with accompanying pictures to copy. Great for singing the song as you turn the pages. Try some sentence completion too – Heads, Shoulders Knees and………. for your child to say Toes!
- Eyes, Nose, Toes Peekaboo!This touch and feel book also has flaps to lift up to focus on body parts. Teddy has a soft nose to feel.
- Baby Faces Peekaboo! Another touch and feel book from DK. This one also has a mirror on the back page for looking at your own face. Lift the flaps to see baby faces smiling under a bib or some toys. You can point out faces – eyes, nose, mouth, ears.
- Forty Eight Funny Faces. This book with sticker pieces is a fun way to learn some body parts. It is suitable for preschoolers and has lots of different faces to make up on the monsters/aliens etc.
- My First Body. This durable book has lots of clear photographic pictures of babies with labelled body parts.
- My Body. This is a simple Usborne book with line drawings of kids and labelled body parts. It has some more words for older toddlers like elbows, shoulders.