Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about bones and the skeletal system. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Bones topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About Bones

Make a Skeleton
Divide the class into small groups or pairs and have students trace an outline of their bodies. Then discuss different bones in the body. Where is the bone found in the body? What does it do? Have students paint or draw their own bones in the outline. Then post their outlines around the classroom. As they grow and change, have students measure themselves against their own drawings. Encourage them to think about how their bones also grow and change.

Natural History Museum
The best way to learn about bones is to look at them. If possible, take a class trip to a natural history museum. Look at different dinosaur and animal bones and compare and contrast them. What bones do all vertebrates have? What bones do some animals have that humans do not? Encourage students to compare skulls of different animals and the sizes of spines and ribcages.

Talk to a Doctor
Invite a doctor to talk to your class. Before he or she arrives, brainstorm a list of questions to ask with the class. What do they want to learn about bones? Ask the doctor if he or she could bring in real bones or models of them. Many doctors have or have access to bones, models of bones, or even a full human skeleton. Have your doctor discuss the different parts and functions of bones and how to maintain strong, healthy bones. After the interview, have students make up posters encouraging good bone health. If possible, students can make a public service announcement about the importance of safety or a calcium-rich diet.

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Bones

Calcium Plan
For children 4-8 years old, the FDA recommends eating 1-2 cups of milk or other calcium-rich food a day. For girls and boys ages 9-13, the FDA recommends eating 3 cups. Calcium-rich foods include yogurt (preferably sugar free and low- or fat-free), cheese, tofu, calcium-fortified 100% orange juice, and dark leafy green vegetables like collard greens or spinach. Create a meal plan with your child to consume enough calcium in his or her diet. Going grocery shopping with your child will allow him or her to make her own food choices and feel excited about eating healthy.

Growth Chart
Start a growth chart for your child. Every month, measure your child and track his or her growing process. Ask your child to think about how his or her body has changed. Can they run farther or faster? Can they reach things they couldn’t reach before? Explain that as they grow, their bones grow and their muscles grow too.

Safety Checklist
Breaking bones can be painful and have serious health effects. Luckily, most accidents can be prevented. Together with your child, make a list of his or her favorite activities, such as bike-riding, skating, or cooking. Talk about the ways your child can be safe doing each activity. Create a checklist of safety tips for each activity. For example, for skating your checklist might include, helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Thick pants and thick socks are also important safety elements. Also write a few rules your child should follow, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, slowing down through intersections, and outlining routes that are safe from speeding cars. Post the checklist by the door or by their gear so your child will be reminded about being safe.

Filed as:  Bodies, Bones, Health, K-3