The Human Body: Building a Skeleton

The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story}

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Little by little it seems that Jack’s (4.11 yrs)Β interest in electricity is coming to its natural end; being replaced by a renewed interest in the human body. Questions are flying thick and fast over this way. He’s jumping from how our digestive system works; particularly how our stomach functions, back to skeletons, then back to our circulatory system. I’m trying my best to get down as many of his questions as I can so I can gather different materials for him to explore those questions more deeply.

The skeletal system isn’t particularly interesting to me. Besides remembering the names of different bones as well as the make up of bones (Jack was particularly excited to hear they had a jelly like substance inside them) , I don’t see too much more to do with it. But Jack and Sarah (2.11 yrs) think it’s pretty great and it’s their learning so…

The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story} The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story}Today we made a skeleton. And oh they turned out so very wonderfully. Jack and Sarah were both so focussed on this project. They sat almost in silence threading beads and bending wire. They worked right through morning tea and before we knew it it was lunch time! That hasΒ neverΒ happened before.

The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story} The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story} The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story}For the materials I put out a few different gauges of craft wire and a tray of beads. Beads are so versatile; they really can be used for so many different projects and explorations. Next time you’re at the thrift store, have a look at their jewellery for any interesting pieces you can pull apart for beads.The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story}

I also put out our model skeleton and the spine from our human torso for reference. For the trays, I like the wooden tray to compliment the colours of the beads and some smaller transparent trays for the beads Jack and Sarah were working with at that time. I think the transparent trays help to highlight the features of the individual beads whilst not drawing attention away from the main project.

I really can’t tell you how much I loved being a quiet observer to this whole process. All the careful investigation; including jointed legs, a clavicle (shoulders) to attach the arms, counting the vertebrae and adding the ribs; looking at the model skeleton back to his own, Jack would take little breaks from time to time, just resting in his chair thinking, before starting again.

Sarah created her own skeleton too; adding legs, arms and a head to her beaded spine and rock pelvis. Perfection.

The Human Body - Creating a Skeleton {An Everyday Story}Moments like these don’t always happen. We don’t always get it right. But oh when we do, when a provocation invites them in and engages them on a completely unexpected level; it is so very beautiful.



22 Replies to “The Human Body: Building a Skeleton”

  1. Just beautiful. This so clearly demonstrates what you are trying to achieve in your approach to their education doesn’t it?

    I remember being fascinated by the picture of a skeleton in my encyclopedia as a child. That’s as far as my explorations went (and I too don’t have much enthusiasm for it as an adult). But imagine doing this activity! Investigating and creating your own skeleton! That’s learning. That will stay with Jack -who knows where it might lead him? Exciting πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Jenni. We have a lot to learn about learning together but I think we are starting to really trust each other and am really enjoying our days. I am wondering where this might lead too. We have a week holiday next week so I am looking forward to seeing what direction Jack and Sarah want to go in when we get back.

  2. You can compare skeletons of different animal species. It’s a perfect way to start studying evolution! πŸ™‚

    1. That would be a wonderful way to explore evolution

  3. What a beautiful project, amazing way to learn about human anatomy

  4. Kate, I’m so glad we’ve “met”! The provocations you create for your children are inspiring and beautifully presented. I know I can always find inspiration here…
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for saying so Monique. That means a lot to me. I always enjoy your little slice of the web too πŸ™‚

  5. Wow. Absolutely gorgeous; and such impressive work.

  6. what a unique idea! I love it!

  7. I love this unusual technique, I have made skeletons a few different ways with kids but this is a new one. It looks like Jack had an awesome time learning about the human body. He’s concentrating so intently!

  8. These are so impressive! They really did a great job of their skeletons. A nice extension would be to learn about invertebrate animals. I wonder how they’d make that! So cool!

  9. Wow, these are so impressive and a great approach to teach children more about skeletons.

  10. This is awesomeness! Such fine motor work, such attention to detail. Pinned πŸ™‚

    1. A love a little concentration face too πŸ™‚

  11. Allison Graham says:

    There is so much more about “bones” than just the structure, too! Our long bones make our blood and parts of our immune systems (red and white blood cells and platelets!). Our bones are living things, they grow back when you break them (or cut into them). And then all the ligaments and tendons that are attached to the bones… I love how you set everything up, that you let them be, knowing their imagination is filling in so many pieces you can’t see!!

    1. Thank you Allison. Jack has really been asking a lot about bones recently and was excited to learn how bones work and what they are made of. He is really teaching me a lot about our body too. I think this is what I love most about this approach to learning; that we learn from each other and travel together.

  12. You are simply amazing, Kate. I want to come and learn at your house!

    1. You are welcome any time Christie πŸ™‚ Canberra has lots of fun things to do too….have you seen our awesome Pod Playground?? πŸ˜‰

  13. lee hyun ran says:


    great activity !!!!!

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