Friday, April 27th, 2007
Review: Your Body Puzzle for Teaching Anatomy
These wooden puzzles present the structure of a child’s body on five layersâ€”a clothed external appearance, naked skin, muscles, organs and skeleton.
The puzzles are 6"x11.5", with 28 pieces, 7 pieces per layer. The lower left side of the puzzle base has cutaway thumbnail views of the child’s upper body across the five layers as a key to the layer order. The puzzle pieces get smaller with each successive layer so they don’t quite fit if placed out-of-order.
When I found this puzzle online it was an instant must-buy. We began teaching our daughter basic anatomy at 28 months, not as a concerted effort, but a once-in-a-while when-it-strikes-us sort of thing. Now at almost-3-years-old, my daughter whipped out the pieces and said, "Look, the girl has a skeleton!"
This puzzle requires supervision at this age, to get the layers in order and properly seat each of the puzzle pieces.
I found two disappointments with the puzzle’s design. First, the skeletal layer is painted onto the puzzle base and thus is not removable.
Second, the layer above the skeleton depicts the child’s organs. It’s surprising that a company would make this sort of mistake. It ruins our teaching that the brain is located inside the skull and that other organs are located inside the rib cage. Still, the puzzle is good at conveying the concept that our innards have a structure to them.
Update: A few days after I wrote this article, my Little Miss took her puzzle to a 3-year-old friend’s home. When the friend saw the layers being removed she ran from the room, telling her mother that the toy is "scary." Wow! Our daughter proceeded to show the mother the layers.
"This is the girl with clothes.
This is the girl naked.
This is the girl with her skin taken off.
This is the girl with her heart.
This is her skeleton."
After a minute of seeing my daughter talk and use the puzzle, the friend came back to watch.
Other Beleduc layer puzzles:
- Caterpillar to Butterfly Puzzle [sold at Fat Brain Toys]
- Four Seasons Puzzle [sold at Hot Toads]
- Tadpole to Frog Puzzle [sold at Fat Brain Toys]
- Egg to Duck Puzzle (closeout at Fat Brain Toys)
See related: Book review: Me and My Amazing Body