Make a quick anatomy model for kids to study the human body with these free printable life-size organs!
What is a good age for learning about the human body anatomy? The truth is, most children get their first anatomy lessons before they turn one. “This is your mouth. This is your nose. This is your belly button.” You know how it goes. Very easy to teach because children can see their body parts, and children are extremely interested because it’s all about them.
It’s a little trickier with the inside parts.
But what if children could see them too? The free printable life-size organs give them just such a chance. Children can study their body anatomy in a hands-on way. Literally, hands-on. They can handle the printed organs, move them around and even try them on!
The printable organs are scaled so that their size would be right for an average eight-year-old child. A few years older or a few years younger should be fine as well. If you have a child who is significantly smaller, just print the pages at a reduced scale. When we were making an anatomy model of my two-year-old daughter, we printed the pages at 80% scale.
The free printable organs include: brain, lungs, heart, trachea, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, kidneys, urinary bladder, and some others. The name of the organ is printed right on it, so that it’d be easier for children to identify them. There is also a separate version of the same organs included without any text.
The organs included can’t form as many body systems as our anatomy paper dolls do, but there are enough to make at least four systems:
- digestive system
- nervous system
- urinary system
- respiratory system
The set includes cards that show the general outlines of how to build each of the systems. While looking at a card, children can easily replicate different human body systems – or attempt to draw their own versions!
Study Anatomy with Printable Life-Size Organs
First, you’ll need a big sheet of paper (about 24″ x 52″). You can glue/tape two sheets of poster paper together or use the backside of wrapping paper. Brown kraft paper would also work!
Next, you’ll need to make an outline of the child’s body. Here my son (5) made an outline of his sister’s (2) body. She was just so excited to get traced! We made his outline as well.
My son used a pencil for doing the outlines. That way, we could prevent any possible stains to the clothes and make little corrections to the outlines later. After we were satisfied with the outlines in pencil, we reinforced them in marker.
After that, the organ assembly was in order.
The kids enjoyed figuring out where to put different pieces. It was like a big puzzle. With some pieces, like the brain, it was obvious where they should go, but others provided more challenge.
After that, my son tried to build some body systems using cards. The urinary system was his favourite. He was particularly curious about that system (you know, PEE!), and he also liked that it was so simple.
He wasn’t confident that he could build a digestive system, but with the help of the digestive system card, he managed that as well.
He also made an attempt to put all the organs in. It worked, but things got a little crowded. You can’t really see all the parts, but it does show how multi-layered our bodies are. Again, the idea of layers that make our bodies is better represented in our anatomy paper dolls that showcase the skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, etc.
We started the project by making the body outlines while laying on the floor, but we soon realized that we could also tape the kids’ silhouettes to the wall. At that point, we also cut them out. Look at my daughter with her paper twin!
This activity has many variations that you can try!
- have the kids try the organs on by holding them in front of their bodies
- instead of attaching the printable organs to the paper cutout, attach them to an old t-shirt (with safety pins or fabric glue)
- once the kids have mastered the printable organs, have them draw their own versions on their paper twins
Want more anatomy activities? Try our bundle – Anatomy for Kids! Following this hands-on anatomy unit study, children get to build life-size anatomy models of themselves, play with anatomy dress-up dolls, complete anatomy puzzles, build organs from play-dough, colour, draw and play games! The anatomy bundle is full of creative activities for young scientists.