Children are very interested in their bodies. Observing and asking questions about the human body allows young children to explore such science concepts as diversity, variation and how certain structures have certain functions. Does everyone in my family have the same eye, hair and skin color I have? How does my wrist move, and what can I do because my wrist moves like that? And how are my toes similar to and different from my fingers? Explore these different concepts of body science with your child.
Look at yourself: When your child is in the bathroom washing her hands or brushing her teeth, encourage her to take some time to look at her face in the mirror. Ask her to open her mouth to look at her teeth. Do they all look the same? Are they all flat or pointy? What does she think these different shapes of teeth can do? Has she noticed that her eyes have lids that can go up and down?
Alike or different? Children do begin to notice similarities and differences among the physical characteristics of their friends and family members. The most noticeable characteristics have to do with hair color and texture, eye color and skin color. Help your child pay attention to these characteristics by comparing your eye color to hers. Ask, “Does everyone in our family have the same color eyes? How about in our neighborhood?” These similarities and differences introduce your child to important big ideas in biology: heredity, diversity and variation.
Beating heart: Your child’s heart is not visible, but he can certainly feel it beating! Help him become more aware of his heart’s beating by asking him to put his hand on his chest after some rigorous exercise. Point out that his heartbeat is very noticeable now and wonder if it will always beats this fast. Ask him to tell you if he notices a change in how his heart is beating.