Between thirteen and fourteen months old, toddlers really start learning about the parts of the body. Naming body parts is also good for language development. Babies usually learn the words for facial features first followed by the bigger parts of the body such as arms, hands, legs, feet, and tummy. Singing songs and playing games that incorporate body parts are great for teaching toddlers about their bodies. Just talking about the body throughout the day (“I use my nose to smell the flowers”) also boosts toddler development.
My daughter is fifteen months old. For the past several weeks, she has been able to point to a handful of her body parts when asked. The first body part that she could point to was her hair. Ever since she was a tiny baby, her father and I have been working with her to pet the dog and the cat gently. To demonstrate the behavior that we wanted, we would stroke our pets gently while saying “gentle.” Poppy quickly decided that “gentle” meant to touch the hair softly. She could pet the dog and cat gently and would also touch her and my hair gently.
When she started touching hair gently, I introduced the word hair to her. I would tell her to pet the kitty gently, and she would touch her hair. I would then say, “Yes, that’s your hair. Gentle.” My daughter then quickly picked up that the soft stuff on the top of her head is called hair. Now, when asked, she can point to her hair.
In addition to her hair, my daughter can also point to her nose. When she was a tiny baby as well, James and I would play the “toes to nose” game with her. We also point out her nose to her a lot by giving Eskimo kisses and by tickling her nose. All the while, my daughter was learning that the thing on the front of her face is called a nose. She can now point to her nose when asked where her nose is.
Here is a video that I captured of Poppy pointing to her nose and her hair.
Now that Poppy knows her nose and hair, her father and I are continuing to help her learn the rest of her facial features. She will point to her mouth, eyes, teeth, tongue, and ears with some help. We are also working on feet, toes, hands, and fingers. Songs such as “Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes” are also great for teaching toddlers the names for their body parts. By the time she is two, my daughter should be able to point to about ten body parts.
When did your child start pointing to his or her body parts when asked?
Poppy Knows Her Nose © 2013 Heather Johnson