Cultivate Wonder

Exploring Science with Children

Bones, Bones, Bones

One of my favorite science storytimes is all about bones. (See:“The Foot Bone’s Connected to the Ankle Bone”) Partly because I just love S.D. Schindler’s outrageously funny illustrations for Skeleton Hiccups. bodybonesThis year I added a new find: Body Bones by Shelly Rotner and David A. White (Holiday House , 2014), with stunning illustrations that allow children to literally see inside people and animals — to see how bones support and structure living things.

The follow up activity is one I remember from my own childhood: lying down on a huge sheet a paper (huge from my childhood memory) and having someone draw around you so there is an outline of your body.  Accompanying adults are encouraged to participate in Wonderworks, and activities like this require it.

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I love the interaction that you can see going on in the photographs below. I provided a basic outline of a skeleton, and many children and parents chose to use these as a reference, to draw in the bones where they go.

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I overheard great conversations like, “yes, that’s where your ribs go, but I think they are a little longer than that. Can you make them longer?”

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I think the Body Bones book encouraged more children in the past to try this. One child did bones on one side of the paper, then flipped it over and drew their clothes!

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As in the past, I was delighted by the range and variety of their creativity.

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The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone . . .

A recent STEM storytime was all about bones. We began by discussing bones (Can you see them? Can you feel them?) and introduced some vocabulary, including “skeleton” and “skull.” Our first book was Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler, with fantastic realistic and funny illustrations by S.D. Schindler.skeleton

Then children pointed to different bones in their body to the song “Lazy Bones.” (Tune of “Dem Bones”, with the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, etc.)

After moving our bones around, we looked at Jessica’s X-Ray by Pat Zonta, which includes x-rays of a child’s arm, head, and a coin-swallowing toddler’s rib cage!

Next we read parts of  Bones: Skeletons and how they work by Steve Jenkins, an author anyone interested in appealing science books for children should know. We talked about how different animals have different skeletons, and they were wowed by the fold-out pages of the snake skeleton.

We also watched and danced with Count von Count from Sesame Street to the song “Bones, bones, bones, bones, bones inside of you.”

Another fun book on this topic is You Can’t See Your Bones with Binoculars: A Guide to Your 206 Bones by Harriet Ziefert.

For this week’s activity, we supplied large pieces of butcher paper. The children lay flat and parents traced around them. Some drew in bones, while others were very creative. Some drew what they were wearing, while others made swamp monsters! A skeleton pattern gave them a visual if they did want to draw bones and others took it for a take-home activity.BonesCollage

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