Can you hear the giggles? Put two little girls in the same house for three days and it’s bound to be a slapstick silly ol’ time (with a few tears thrown in for good measure). I’ve wanted to trace my daughter’s body for months now, and every time I bring it up she says “no.” But not this time. Maybe it’s the age? Or maybe she liked having a partner in silhouette crime? In any case, I tacked down some paper with my trusty blue painter’s tape and the kids couldn’t lie down on it fast enough.

body tracing

I think the appeal in all of this falls into three categories: scale, personal attention, and filling in the blanks. The scale is BIG, and that’s super-fun for little kids. Children are naturally egotistical, so if you’re focussing all of your attention on them to trace around their bodies, they’re captivated. And then once they’ve been traced, they’re challenged to devise a plan for filling in all of that beautiful body-space. Fun all around.

body tracing

These are both my daughter; one traced by me and the other by my husband. Mine has the squashed asymmetrical head on the left. Hmmm, I think my dear husband has been working on his sketching skills while I’ve been catching up on sleep. After he finished tracing my daughter’s body, she jumped up to look at his handiwork and exclaimed, “Curly!!!” Love that.

Body Tracing and Human Body Resources:

Painting in the body: The Artful Parent

How the Body Works

Diagram of the Circulatory System

Diagram of Digestive System

More Art Projects for Toddlers

12 Simple Art Projects for Toddlers | TinkerLab.com
For more toddler art projects, you may enjoy the easy-to-set-up activities that use mainly everyday materials in 12 Simple Art Projects for Toddlers.

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  1. i keep meaning to do this with my 4 YO daughter as well. we will do it today! and extra thanks for the links. she is very interested in the human body as well and will especially love the How the Body Works site. fun!

    • Awesome! If you click on the link to the Artful Parent drawing arteries, Jean shares a book about the human body that her daughter enjoyed. Have fun.

  2. I remember doing this in school in second or third grade, but we had to cut out organs and put them where they belonged… I bet my kids would really enjoy doing this & filling themselves in however they wanted. Is that an ordinary roll of easel paper or something wider?

    • I used a roll I picked up at Ikea for $5! But it’s pretty narrow, as you can tell by the shape of my daughter’s body. Wider rolls can be found at Discount School Supply and Dick Blick (both online), but they’re pricier. Have fun.

  3. it’s funny you say N was disinterested before, because Simone was the same. I am convinced laying on her back makes her feel vulnerable and unsafe. the only time she’ll fully recline on her back is when she’s fast asleep. having N there must have put her at ease.
    and I’m extremely sad to say Simone’s silhouette met the trash can in a tragic hitting accident. it was an ugly scene. (witnessed by to ladies who I am positive think I am the WORST mom they’ve ever seen. ) we will have to do the project again. I’ll bring a roll of paper and markers to Muffy’s.

    • I have the hardest time getting away with trashing N’s art — I have to be really sneaky about it because she’s quite attached to EVERYTHING she makes. And so sorry to hear about the hitting incident…sounds not so fun. Can’t wait to see you next week!!

    • I love it too! It’s so expressive.

  4. I did this with my daughter when she was 2. I didn’t like the way the head turned out so I blew up a picture of her face and pasted it on the head and then we stuck it to her bedroom door. Every time I passed her door it scared me but it was a big hit with her!

    • That’s too funny. The mother of one of my childhood friends blew up a photo of herself pointing a finger straight ahead, with a caption that read “clean your room!” I always did a double take when I saw it 🙂

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