As a kid, I remember thinking that my heart looked like a Valentine and was located somewhere near my left armpit. When left to their own devices, kids will make up what they think they know about the human body, and then will silently carry around those fallacies until they’re (hopefully) corrected at some point in the distant future.
There’s no reason to assume that kids as young as preschool age can’t handle a little anatomy and physiology. There are tons of age-appropriate games and puzzles to help kids figure out exactly what a diaphram does, what’s crawling on their skin, and what happens to a Cheerio after it passes through their chompers.
If you want a low-commitment anatomy toy to dip your kids toes in the water and see if they want to swim, Tinybop makes an iOS app called The Human Body. This handsomely illustrated, engaging and simple-to-use app is great for kids four and up to see exactly what makes their bodies tick. And fart. Kids love farts.
Check out their beautiful papercraft trailer.
For the youngest aspiring physiologists out there, grab a puzzle like this five-layer wooden one. Each layer focuses on a different system of the body: the skeletal, respiratory and digestive, muscular, and integumentary/skin systems. This puzzle is great for kids as young as three.
In the Some Body board game, kids ages six to nine can play five different board games that teach them about various aspects of the body’s systems. Older kids can play the games while younger kids build them as puzzles.
If your kids are the type who need hands on experience to keep the boredom away, toss a Disgusting Science Kit their way. They’ll learn all about what’s crawling on their skin, they’ll figure out awesome gross things like why feet smell, and they can even make simulated boogers. Ew-some.
Finally, for a model that covers human anatomy in a way that a textbook never could, check out the Squishy Human Body. Kids can dissect and reassemble the durable squishy model as they learn how systems work together. Using the guidebook, they’ll even learn what happens to a bite of pizza after its eaten. This highly rated educational toy is a great way for kids to explore what lies beneath their own skin and learn what a marvel the human body truly is.