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Chat and Color: a Relaxing Anatomy Lesson

Anatomy paper dolls (click here to get yours!) are a great way to spend a quiet hour with your family while exploring human biology. Here are some ideas for topics to discuss and activities to try!

We've sorted the ideas according paper doll piece.

Skeletal System

After reading the description on the page, it can be fun noticing all the places you can feel your bones! (Current students of the full curriculum, go here for lessons on these topics.)

  • Feel your skull and your chin bone (mandible). Where do they connect? (hint: it's right in front of your ears)

  • Feel your gums with your tongue or fingers...they are hard because you're feeling your skull under the pink tissue (mucosa)

  • Notice how your spine is both strong and flexible. There is one place (in your neck between your first and second vertebrae) where you can rotate a lot to look side to side. But the rest of your spine is made of bones that only allow a little movement at each bone. Altogether you can bend to touch your toes or twist to reach behind you!

  • Feel the individual bones in your fingers and hands, toes and feet. You have approximately 27 bones in each hand and 26 in each foot (some people get extras called sesamoid bones!)

  • Put your hand gently around your lower arm near the wrist and feel how the two bones rotate around each other when you turn your hand (like turning a doorbell).

  • Set your hands against your ribs and feel them expand sideways as you take a deep breath. If your shoulders are going up instead, you can get a better breath by expanding your ribs sideways instead. Try the two different ways and see for yourself!


Read the description on the page and then find the different parts of your own brain! (Current students of the full curriculum, go here for the lessons on the brain.)

  • Place your hand on your forehead and realize that your brain comes to just under your skull so your eyes are actually under it. This front part of your brain is called the frontal lobe.

  • Place your hands over the top of your head (where a headband or headset would sit). This is where your brain processes sensations and sends movement instructions.

  • Place yours hands at the back of your head. This is where your brain processes what you see--all the way opposite from where your eyes are!

Kidneys and Bladder

Read the description on the page and then notice these areas of your body! (Current students of the full curriculum go here for lessons about your blood.)

  • Your bladder is like a balloon for holding your urine. If you press gently just above your pelvis bone right in front in the middle, you're pressing on your bladder--does it make you feel like you might need to use a toilet?

  • Your kidneys are tucked up under your ribs in your back to keep them safe. Feel a your own or a family member's back for where the ribs are and imagine your kidneys tucked safely underneath.

Digestive System

Read the information on the paper doll page and then think through what each organ does for you. (Current students of the full curriculum, go here for the lessons on these organs.)

  • Your food takes a trip through your body in one long tube. Each stage along the way has it's own job to do. You've probably seen what each organ does.

  • If you've ever spit out food after chewing it and seen it in a spitty mushy blob, that's what your mouth, teeth, tongue, and saliva do. It's called a bolus and makes it easy to get the food down your esophagus

  • When someone vomits, you can see what your stomach does. Sometimes it will look a lot like what you just ate and sometimes it's green and chunky. It's getting ready to be digested and absorbed but isn't quite ready!

  • Your small intestine breaks it all down the rest of the way and absorbs all the nutrients leaving behind what you can't digest. When you have diarrhea, that's the end result of your small intestine that hasn't had enough time in your large intestine to form normal stools.

  • Your large intestine absorbs out extra water and bacteria in there help digest anything your own enzymes couldn't manage.

Heart and Major Vessels

Read about the heart and vessels on the page. Notice that the arrows indicate the direction of blood flow...remember that blood going away from the heart through the arteries towards the lungs is going there because it needs oxygen. (Current students to the full curriculum, go here for the lessons on the heart.)

  • You can feel your heart beat by putting your hand on your chest. But it doesn't stop there! Your heart is pumping your blood all over your body so you can feel it all over.

  • Try feeling your pulse (the blood being pumped through your blood vessels) in your neck just under your chin. This is blood going up to your brain. You can feel it on either side of your neck.

  • Press your hands into your belly while lying very still and relaxed. You can feel your pulse in your abdominal aorta. The aorta is the big vessel that comes out of the top of your heart and makes an arch above it before diving down behind it. It doesn't stop goes down to your pelvis where it splits to go to your two legs.

  • You can feel your pulse in your inner thighs as well. These are the vessels that your aorta split into down in your pelvis.

  • You can find similar pulses in your inner upper arm from the vessels that came off the aortic arch.

  • These can get increasingly difficult to find so don't worry if you can't find them!


After reading the information on the paper doll page, try these activities for noticing your lungs. (Current students of the full curriculum, go here for the lessons on the lungs.)

  • As you do this activity, pay attention to different parts of your airway. Your nose, the back of your throat, your upper chest, your back. Take a big breath and hold it a moment and then let it out gently. Repeat this while paying attention to different parts of your body.

  • Place your ear against a family member's back and listen to the air entering and leaving the lungs. This is what doctors are listening to when they listen to your lungs!

What to Do Next?

If your family enjoyed these paper dolls, we have lots of coloring pages and other activities in the full curriculum. Or if you want a pre-packaged set of lessons with a workbook, you can check out our grab-and-go units.

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