Montessori Activity Review: Human Body Felt Precut Set

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Montessori Activity Review: Human Body Felt Precut Set

Last week my six-year-old peered over my shoulder as I lounged and flipped through my favorite fashion magazine. Her questions about the models, their physiques and height and other “dimensions” let me know that despite her young age, she was already examining bodies and forming her opinions about beauty and women’s shapes…but she was getting her information from the same source that most of our children do…from touched-up images in mainstream media.

I decided it would be much better for her and for my nine-year-old son to learn what the body truly looks like, and how fascinating a machine it truly was, but I needed something interactive…something that would bring this anatomy lesson to life.

After a little research, I found a great toy to get us started on our anatomical journey …it’s the Human Body Felt Precut Set.

The Fun

My Montessori kids are in first grade and third grade, and this set was appropriate for both of their age levels. We decided to kick off our first time with this set by learning about the digestive system. While my son (the third grader) read the descriptions of each of the organs of the system, my daughter used the diagrams to help place the parts in the correct area on the body form.

I could tell their interest was piqued, when my daughter gingerly held up a gallbladder between two fingers and asked, “What is this little thing?” and without my prompting, her brother looked up the answer and read it aloud for her.

Engaging in this activity with my children even challenged me to remember the anatomy and physiology I studied once upon a time as a biology major…and I’ve definitely forgotten much more than I care to admit!

Learning with the manual

My son is obsessed with “Did you know?” facts, and the manual is filled with enough interesting facts about the body to satisfy that never-ending curiosity that all Montessori kids seem to possess. Also, the last few pages of the manual have nine tips about good health and exercise, so children can see how healthy habits impact the physiological systems they’ve just learned about with this set.

My father, otherwise known as “Papa” to my children, recently suffered a heart attack, and subsequent triple-bypass surgery. During his recuperation, he often talked to my children about eating healthy, getting rest and exercising. It was wonderful to hear them saying, “Papa told me to do this!”, as they read the passages about healthy living…hopefully I can leverage this into getting them to eat ALL of their green beans.

Montessori Materials: Human Body Felt Pre-Cut SetGame time

After exploring the digestive system, we made up our own guessing game called “Where does this go?” In our game we took the each body part and placed them in the appropriate anatomical area on each other’s bodies…or at least tried to guess where they went. Using the manual, we found out where things were really located in the body, and how they all worked together to keep us alive.

We also learned that we could feel some of the body parts we saw on the model through our skin…like our ligaments, cartilage and even some veins. One of the individual diagrams give additional detail about the skin, and my son was amazed at all that took place underneath our largest organ. After taking a look at the layers of the skin, the hair follicles, the glands and the blood vessels that support them he declared, “It would be much better if our skin was transparent so we could see what really goes on under there.”

Montessori Toys: Human Body Felt Pre-Cut SetLearning about disease

I let my son choose our next task, and he chose the disease models.

His choice was no surprise to me, because diseases have always fascinated my son; he continuously asks, “Mommy, what’s the worst disease a person can have?”

“How long does it last?”

“What happens to you?”

“What kind of medicine cures it?”

The disease models in the kit show various types of bacteria, and in conjunction with the manual, my children were able to learn about the illnesses that each of them cause. I was particularly impressed to see the models of normal red blood cells and sickled red blood cells, as sickle cell disease has stricken our family.  My daughter asked, “How does something so small cause such a big problem?”

The resources in the kit do not go into great detail about how bacteria cause disease, but this activity did provide the perfect segue into a talk about how the disease models we just saw in our kit were just bigger versions of the things we see under a microscope.

Conclusion

This set is a great tool for learning about anatomy in a fun and interactive way. The pieces are eye-catching and engaging, and the book does a good job of covering the basics of anatomy. I found it much easier to teach my children about their bodies with this toy since we could interact with the body “parts”, and could place them in their proper locations. Also, this is a product that can be useful far beyond elementary school, as it provides enough detail to be a great study aid for a middle school student. It is refreshing to see that toys like this that show the intricacies of the “real” body are still interesting to them, despite the allure of electronic toys.

Montessori Activities: Human Body SetHuman Body Felt Pre-Cut Set

The 34-piece set was designed under a doctor’s direction, so the pieces are beautifully detailed, and show all of the anatomical nuances of each body part. All of the pieces are felt and they cling together, which eliminates the need for any magnets or glue. Also, even though the pieces are big enough to show detail, the entire set folds up easily for neat storage.

Tieast

About Tieast


Tieast Leverett is a freelance writer, a corporate and technical trainer, a travel fanatic, a motivational speaker and most importantly a single mother of two fabulous children.

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