Review: Your Body Puzzle for Teaching Anatomy

The Your Body Puzzle by Beleduc/HaPe introduces toddlers to basic anatomy. It comes in boy and girl versions.

These wooden puzzles present the structure of a child’s body on five layers—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:

See related: Book review: Me and My Amazing Body


2 Responses to “Review: Your Body Puzzle for Teaching Anatomy”

  1. Monique says:

    I think this is a great teaching tool! I have never seen anything like it for kids! I’m going to get one for my son, i’ll be sure to report back on what he thinks of it. :-) Thanks for sharing this with us all! I always look forward to the educational products you review! ;-)

    May 1st, 2007 at 1:39 pm

  2. Teacher Jennifer says:

    Just got this for my son. He has been asking about his hard arm and soft belly, so I thought I might give this puzzle a whirl. Great recommendation!

    March 8th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

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