Kids start learning about their own bodies almost right away in school. This activity provides a fun way to measure and consider different body proportions by having the kids record the distances between different parts of their bodies.
People may come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some proportions that are pretty consistent in most people, as has been studied by artists. For instance, the distance between fingertips when arms are outstretched is about the same as the height of a person. The length of a person’s foot is about equal to the length of his or her forearm. Other things most people share in common are the way a body develops. There is a fast growth rate in early years—most people grow half of their height by the time they are five years old. In addition, most people have more than 200 bones, bones that grow as a person grows.
Before you start this activity, you may want to tape up large sheets of paper to the walls in your room (if you are doing this activity inside).
Stand by a wall with a large sheet of paper on it in front of your group and ask them: “Do you know how tall I am?” They will likely throw out a few guesses. Then ask: “Is there a way to describe my height without using inches or meters?”
Take your arms and spread them out. Ask: “Do you think the distance between my fingertips equals my height?” After the answers, put one fingertip down to touch the floor, with the other arm pointing straight up. Either mark on the paper where the high fingertip is with a piece of chalk, or try to hold your finger on the paper as you stand up. It’s probably not an exact match, but the length of your arms spread out is about the same as your height.
Now ask: “Do you think there are other ways to measure my height?” Perhaps ask how many heads you might be. You also could pose some “what if” questions to get your group thinking about body proportions: “What if our feet were longer than our legs? What if our arms were really short (how would we eat)?”
Now kids are ready to do the activity. You may want to pair girls with girls and boys with boys depending on your group. Hand out a Size Wise activity sheet to each person. Give each pair of kids a piece of chalk and be sure they have a measuring tool, paper, and a wall to stand against. It is fun to do this activity outside, but not completely necessary.
After your group is done, invite discussion about anything new or interesting the kids learned about themselves.
People come in all shapes and sizes. Some people, for example, are very big, or taller than average. There are many different body types—short, tall, big, small, and average. The important thing is not how you look; it's that your body is healthy. Try this experiment that keeps track of your body's individual shape.