Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Paint-Your-Organs Shirt and Printable Body Book

When the skeleton activity was such a hit with my son, I knew that it was time to move on to discuss some of the organs in the human body. I created a printable book for my son to record what he learned and planned six days of exploring organs. (Thank you, library, for all the wonderful resources!)

Each day we read about an important organ in our torso: lungs, heart, liver, stomach, intestines, and kidneys and bladder (we lumped these last two into one activity).

We used the following books in our exploration of the human body:
Breathe In, Breathe Out: Learning About Your Lungs” by Pamela Hill Nettleton
Hear Your Heart” by Paul Showers
Thump-Thump: Learning About Your Heart” by Pamela Hill Nettleton
My Digestive System: An Exciting Way to Learn about your Body” by Sally Hewitt
Human Organs” by Kristi Lew
What’s Inside Me? My Stomach” by Dana Meachen Rau
See inside Your Body by Katie Daynes and Colin King

After reading up, we conducted a few other fun activities like:
  • Using an empty paper towel tube to listen to each other's hearts.
  • Making smoothies in a blender to simulate the stomach mushing up food.
  • Pouring four cups of water into glasses to show how much urine the bladder can hold. 
  • Pulling a measuring tape out to 12 feet to show the length of a child's small intestine.

Once we'd read enough to be in awe of our body's organs and their capabilities, my son recorded the important work the organ we explored is doing in his Body Book. (To make your own body book, download pages 1-3 front and pages 1-3 back, as well as assembly instructions.)

Finally, he added the organ to a tee shirt using freezer paper stencils, fabric paint, and a sponge brush. 

The human organ shapes are also available for free download. These were designed to fit on a child's size small tee shirt. Click on each of the links below to print.

Just download, print, place behind a piece of freezer paper and trace the shape with an Exacto knife to cut out. Iron the paper waxy side down onto a pre-washed cotton tee shirt using medium-high heat. Place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to prevent the paint from bleeding through. Paint, dry, and peel off the paper. Heat set each organ before painting the next one. For a tutorial on using freezer paper stencils, click here.

Help your child finish their Body Book by learning about the brain. Visit the "How to Make a Thinking Cap" post for instructions on how to make a brain hat to wear with the organs tee shirt!


  1. Oh, I love it! what a great idea!! I am totally going to do that, I know they'll love it. I just hope they don't try to do something funny, like poop going down the large intestine...I wouldn't put it passt them!

  2. Awesome unit! You just found my blog (ateenytinyteacher) and now I'm YOUR newest follower! :)

  3. I love this idea, what an awesome hands on activity, I love your blog, keep it up :)

  4. what a fantastic idea ! LOVE IT ! We just started painting shirts (scripture verse / lesson) this is PERFECT for science! GREAT IDEA!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. That is such a great idea- and what an interesting way to illustrate what goes on in the inside! Thanks for sharing it with us on The Sunday Showcase

  6. Yay- we are going to feature this on The SUnday Showcase this week- come and grab your I've Been Featured Button!

  7. I love the tshirt idea... it's adorable!

  8. This is such a fantastic idea! Thank you so much for sharing the printable booklet. We are working on 1 - 2 organs a week with friends. My kiddo and his friends are having a wonderful time learning about their organs and painting their shirts. I linked to this post here and turned it into a lunch here

  9. You asked to see the completed shirts. Here they are modeled by our sweeties.

    Here they are wearing them for our Brain Based Obstacle Course

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas. Your blog is inspiring!

  10. This is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing you hard work!

  11. Thanks for sharing this. I recently had the idea to do science activities in units with my kids - just on weekends and such. This would be great to do with them.

  12. This is so cool!! I love using freezer paper, love homeschooling my 5 yo, and LOVE hands on activities ... which is why this is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing!


  13. This is awesome! I linked your blog to mine because we're studying the digestive system this week. These activities look like so much fun. Thanks for the printables!!

  14. Just FYI, has an organ shirt children can paint and comes with the outline of the organs on it for only $5. There is a minimum order of 12, but if you are in a homeschool co-op, you can get together with others and order. That site has other wearable projects that promote science as well, so you might want to check it out. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.