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Doin' the Bone Dance and Other Creative Ways to Learn Bone Anatomy

Use Skeleton Puzzle

Skeleton Puzzle

Skeleton Puzzle

Teach Children About Bones

Teaching children about bone anatomy can be made a bit easier and a whole lot more fun by using some songs, dances, quizzes and other innovative educational tools.

The idea for this lens came after watching an episode of Hannah Montana in 2007, where she (actually her dad) comes up with a song and dance, "Doin' the Bone Dance" as a way of remembering her anatomy for a test. I had the catchy, song get in my head and wondered how effective it might be in teaching children their bone anatomy.

Halloween is a great time to introduce bone anatomy to children. I started using skeleton puzzles to teach children about bone anatomy in 2006. Over the years I have gone into my both of my daughter's classes for six years now using different tools.

I have taught bone anatomy to preschool children, Kindergarteners, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth graders. I used puzzles and songs for the preschool through second graders and other tools as they've gotten older. I've pulled together the different ideas and tools that I've used to teach children from preschool through fifth grade about skeleton anatomy in the "Teaching with Skeletons at Halloween".

Teaching children about skeletons, especially at Halloween is a helpful way for them to learn how to be less afraid of skeletons as symbols of death. I've discovered these tools, songs and quizzes are an effective, interactive way to teach children about the bones in the body and to be less afraid of skeletons at Halloween.

This lens provides a review and information about creative, innovative ways of teaching children about the anatomy bones. You'll find ways to include singing, dancing, puzzle building, websites and more to help children learn their bones. For even more information see the "Teaching with Skeletons at Halloween" lens.

Also included is a section at the end with links to old historical anatomy books where the images of skeletons are available online for use.

Image: Skeleton Floor Puzzle available on Amazon.

Educational Tools for Teaching Children Bone Anatomy

There are various educational resources featured in this lens that can be used to start teaching bone anatomy to children. The list of all of them is include below:

  1. The Bone Dance - A Song by Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus
  2. Skeleton Floor Puzzle - A Large Floor Puzzle
  3. Glow in the Dark Skeletons - Puzzles, Decals
  4. The Bone Bounce - A Song by Teacher Lucy Jensen
  5. Skeleton X-rays - Another Teaching Resource
  6. The Big Story on Bones - A Website
  7. Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones - A Traditional Folk Song
  8. Dem Bones - The Wiggles
  9. Historical Skeleton Images
  10. Dia De Los Muertos - Day of the Dead

To make the anatomy learning easier on the teacher, I have bolded the bone anatomy terms in the songs and information.

Teacher and Parents need to review the resources, videos and songs before sharing to ensure they are alright for their children.

Skeletons in October Article

Skeletons in October

Skeletons in October

Skeletons in October: Scary Death Symbols or an Opportunity to Teach?

As a physician with a background in Thanatology (death education), I have a different perspective on using skeletons as teaching tools.

I shared this perspective and thoughts about the experiences I have had with using skeletons to teach in the classroom in the article that came out in the Forum in October 2009, "Skeletons in October: Scary Death Symbols or an Opportunity to Teach Bone Anatomy to Young Children?" This article was featured under the Teaching Thanatology (Death Education) section.

The article is available at our website, Skeletons in October for those who are interested in reading the article.

Source: Dyer KA. October 2009. Skeletons in October: Scary Death Symbols or an Opportunity to Teach Bone Anatomy to Young Children? ADEC Forum: The quarterly publication of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Vol 35, No. 4 p. 20.

More on Teaching with Skeletons at Halloween

  • Teaching with Skeletons at Halloween
    Skeletons are an excellent way to teach children about bone anatomy. Halloween is a fun time of the year to learn about the skeletal system, by bringing skeletons into the classroom as teaching tools.

Doin' the Bone Dance

Scroll to Continue

Doin' the Bone Dance - Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana Teaches Anatomy

One example of a "learning your bones" song comes from a 2007 episode of Hannah Montana.

In this episode one of Hannah's songs, "Nobody's Perfect," gets converted by a young Miley Cyrus (and her dad) into a memory aid song to help her learn and remember her bone anatomy for a test.

Take a look at the Video clip, the lyrics and my assessment of how well this might work as a teaching aid to teach Hannah Montana fans anatomy.

Doin the bone Dance with Hannah Montana on YouTube

In this Hannah Montana episode, a very young Miley comes up with an innovative way of learning her anatomy bones, dubbed as her teacher as being "It's the best study technique I've ever seen."

Doin the bone Dance - Video Clip

Everybody Knows the Bones - Word Hunt

Bone Word Hunt

Bone Word Hunt

Using Everybody Knows the Bones in the Classroom

One of the ways that I used Hannah Montana's Bone Dance song was to turn it into a bone word hunt for the kids.

There aren't a whole lot of bones to be found in the song, to it takes a bit of looking by the kids.

Download and print out the image if you want to use it in the classroom.

Number of the Bones in The Bone Dance

To assess Hannah Montana's "Bone Dance" as a teaching method, I went through and counted the number of bones 'taught.'

Number of Bones Identified: 10

Names of Bones Identified in the Bone Dance:

Lower Leg and Foot Bones

  • Phalanges
  • Metatarsals
  • Tarsals
  • Fibula
  • Tibia
  • Patella

Arm Bone

  • Ulna

Skull Bones

  • Parietal
  • Temporal
  • Frontal

Another "Doin' the Bone Dance" Video

Another clip of the Hannah Montana episode where Miley uses the Bone Dance Song to learn her anatomy bones.

Bone Dance With Words - Video Clip

Review of the Bone Dance as a Teaching Method

So, just how well can Miley Cyrus a.k.a Hannah Montana teach Anatomy?

The Bone Dance - Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus

The appeal here is going to be a resource that will work with Hannah Montana fans and not work as well for those who are not Hannah fans. The fan base is girls age 6-14.

Ages: Girls ages 5-14.

Names and Number of Bones Identified: 10

Pluses:

The lyrics are catchy and a familiar tune to the Hannah Montana Fans. In addition to the song there is a dance that will get young fans dancing the Bone Dance and having fun.

Minuses:

The Bone Dance Song only includes 10 bones. Younger children (preschool age, Kindergarten) and maybe some of the teachers may have problems figuring out the dance moves and which bones are being identified.

When singing the song, my Kindergartener identified her tibia in her lower arm, not her lower leg.

Overall:

The song may be a fun introduction for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders, because it does get them moving. It may be more effective in combination with a Skeletal puzzle or model.

Older children and boys will probably need something different.

Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Preschoolers, Kindergarteners and First Graders

Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Skeleton Floor Puzzle Lesson

Supplies used:

  • Skeleton Floor Puzzle
  • Dancing Skeleton Project - from The Toy Maker
  • Skeleton Stickers
  • Plastic Skeleton Halloween toys
  1. The Skeleton Floor Puzzle has 15 pieces, so 15 students can each have a piece of the puzzle to assemble the skeleton.
  2. Extra children can be used to help assemble the puzzle.
  3. Once the puzzle is assembled, have the children stand up next to the skeleton to see how they measure up to the skeleton (most of the younger children are still shorter).
  4. Dancing Skeleton Project from The Toy Maker can be passed out as another activity for the children to assemble
  5. Skeleton stickers or small plastic skeletons (not for preschoolers who are still a choking hazard) can be passed out as fun take homes from the activity.

A Skeleton Floor Puzzle - A Large Floor Puzzle

In Fall 2006 a bit before Halloween, I found the Learning Resources' Skeleton Floor Puzzle and ordered it.

As a physician I wanted to teach my daughter's classes a bit about their bones. As a parent and a thanatologist (death, dying and bereavement educator) I also wanted them to learn how to be a bit less fearful of skeletons, one of the typical symbols used of death, especially at Halloween.

I quickly realized that this skeleton puzzle would be good for:

  1. Teaching Bone Anatomy
  2. De-sensitizing children to the scary skeleton figures at Halloween, be teaching them what a skeleton really was.

I used the Skeleton Floor Puzzle as an educational tool/visual aid in both of my daughters' class rooms (1st grade and Pre-Kindergarten). My mother used it in one of the preschool settings.

In all three of the classes, the kids were fascinated and very curious about the skeleton puzzle. No one went around screaming because it was a skeleton. Instead everyone wanted to help put the puzzle together and then see how tall they measured up to the puzzle.

Note: Once assembled the foam puzzle pieces measure 4 ft tall about the size of the first graders, taller than the Pre-Kindergartners.

Human Body Floor Puzzle

Number of Bones Identified in the Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Looking at the Skeleton Floor Puzzle as a tool to teach basic bone anatomy.

Number of Bones Puzzle Pieces: 15

Number of Bones Identified: ~ 12

Names of Bones Identified in the Skeleton Floor Puzzle:

I have identified the bones by the puzzle piece the bone is on. Each puzzle piece is labeled on reverse side with the body part and bone name.

  • * Head - Skull
  • * Rib Cage and Spine
  • * Hips and Pelvis
  • * Left Upper Arm - Humerus
  • * Right Upper Arm - Humerus
  • * Left Lower Arm - Radius and Ulna
  • * Right Lower Arm - Radius and Ulna
  • * Left Hand
  • * Right Hand
  • * Left Upper Leg - Femur
  • * Right Upper Leg - Femur
  • * Left Lower Leg - Tibia and Fibula
  • * Right Lower Leg - Tibia and Fibula
  • * Left Foot
  • * Right Foot

Children also learn about symmetry in the body, since the puzzle, like the body, uses right and left pieces, so students need to be aware of the right and left sides of the body.

Playing with the Foam Skeleton Puzzle

Playing with the Foam Skeleton Puzzle

Playing with the Foam Skeleton Puzzle

Review of the Skeleton Floor Puzzle to Teach Bone Anatomy

What Kind of a Teaching Tool is the Skeleton Floor Puzzle?

Skeleton Floor Puzzle

The Skeleton Floor Puzzle is an educational tool especially developed by the Learning Resources to teach the bones to children.

Ages: 4 - 6 manufacturer. (3 - 7 our tested audience.)

Listed as Kindergarten + on the box and the manufacturer's recommended ages are 4 - 6. We used this with two Pre-Kindergarten classes with 2 - 3 without any problems, since the skeleton wasn't presented as anything scary. We also used the puzzle with a class of first graders, some of whom were already 7. They did not get bored.

Number of Bones Identified: ~ 12 (Some are duplicates)

Pluses:

Children interact with the puzzle by assembling it and then playing with it once done. The large foam pieces make it easy for children to put together the puzzle.

The 15-piece puzzle is 4' tall when assembled, making it life-size for younger kids. Once assembled, all of our children wanted to see how they measured up to the puzzle in height.

None of the children in three classes when running from the room because it was a skeleton. They were fascinated with the puzzle, so it ended up being a good way to get them involved.

Minuses:

There are only 15 puzzle pieces, so if you want to plan an activity where each child gets to put together a piece of the puzzle, then you need to make sure you only have 15 children, or assemble the puzzle twice.

Overall:

Since this was created as an educational tool by Learning Resource, a company specializing in innovative, hands-on educational materials for classrooms worldwide and learning toys, this is a good hands-on resource.

I think it works best in combination with something else, like the Bone Dance or the Bone Bounce Song to help reinforce the bones in song.

Hugh the Wooden Skeleton

Second Grade Class

Hugh the Wooden Skeleton

Human Wooden Skeleton

Supplies used:

  • Hugh the Human Skeleton
  • Skeleton Handout
  1. Divide the class up into groups to assemble Hugh the Human Skeleton.
  2. Have someone be the 'map reader' to read the instructions and follow along as the puzzle pieces get punched out.
  3. Have an adult carefully punch out the pieces, but have the students decide on the pieces to punch.
  4. Carefully and patiently begin assembling Hugh the Human Skeleton according to directions.
  5. Even though the numbered pieces easily fit together without glue, the skeleton may be helped with a bit of glue.
  6. The skeleton has over a hundred pieces, so requires a bit of patience to assemble.
  7. The Skeleton Handout with names of the bones can be passed out as a way to reinforce the skeleton anatomy.

Note: Assembling the skeleton was a bit of a challenge, even for an adult.

Manufacturers of Innovative Learning Toys for Children

Links to the two companies who manufacturer the Skeleton Floor Puzzle and Hugh the Human Skeleton Kit.

  • Learning Resources
    Learning Resources is a leading manufacturer of innovative, hands-on educational materials for classrooms worldwide and learning toys. Manufacturer of the Skeleton Floor Puzzle.
  • Safari LTD - World's Leading Manufacturere of Educational Toys
    Safari Ltd. is the premier wholesaler of dinosaur and animal replicas, science toys and other educational and creative products. Manufacturer of Hugh the Human Skeleton Kit.

Human Skeleton Science Kit

Skeleton Puzzles for Teaching About Anatomy to Children

These layered wooden puzzles make it easy for children to see five different layers in the body (skin, muscular, digestive and respiratory) in addition to the skeletal system.

Girl Wooden Layer Puzzle

Girl Wooden Layer Puzzle

Wall Decal Skeletons

Fun with Skeleton Wall Decal

Skeleton Wall Decal

Skeleton Wall Decal

Use Wall Decals Skeletons to Teach Bone Anatomy

Wall decal and glow in the dark Skeletons whether to assemble as a 3-D skeleton, a decorative hanging skeleton or a skeleton wall decal to place on a classroom, bedroom or bathroom wall are extra fun once the lights go out.

The glow in the dark skeletons lend themselves to being used as a part of Halloween decorations, so they can be left up for some time.

With the skeletons hanging around for a while, students (and teachers) can test their knowledge about bone anatomy, to see how much they are learning and can remember.

Wall Decal Skeletons available on Amazon.

Skeleton Wall Decal

Glow in the Dark Skeletons Bones

Glowing Skeleton Puzzles on eBay

More Skeleton Puzzles that glow in the dark are being auctioned for purchase on eBay.

Eyewitness - Skeleton DVD

The Bone Bounce

The Bone Bounce - A Song by Teacher Lucy Jensen

The Bone Bounce Song was adapted by Teacher Lucy Jensen from the popular and familiar children's tune "If You're Happy and You Know It."

This song has an advantage of being adapted by a teacher, who is used to educating students.

This is also the song that we used with my daughter's first grade class along with the interactive Skeleton Floor Puzzle as a way of reinforcing each other.


Bone Bounce Skeleton

Bone Bounce Skeleton

Bone Bounce Skeleton

The Bone Bounce

Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It"

By: Lucy Jensen

Put your fingers on your cranium, on your cranium.

Put your fingers on your clavicle, on your clavicle.

Put your right hand on your sternum,

Put your left hand on your sternum,

Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.

Put your hand on a humerus, on a humerus.

Put your hand on a radius, on a radius.

Put your right hand on an ulna,

Put your left hand on an ulna,

Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.

Put your hands on your ribs, on your ribs.

Put your hands on your hips, on your hips.

Put your right hand on a femur,

Put your left hand on a femur,

Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.

Put your hand on a fibula, on a fibula,

Put your hand on a tibia, on a tibia,

Put your phalanges on your phalanges,*

Put your phalanges on your phalanges,

Find your bones; find your bones, find your bones.

*Translates to: Put your fingers on your toes.

Source: Lucy Lane. The Bone Bounce. Carl's Corner. Featured Resource for Halloween.

Note on Copyrights from Cherry Carl:

Lucy Jensen reserves all rights to her lovely lyrics and songs, which means that you may not change the wording or reproduce it for commercial sales.

Classroom teachers may copy them for use in their classrooms, and make charts for their children. Please make sure that you put Lucy Jensen's name on anything you reproduce or enlarge.

A Skeleton Handout for The Bone Bounce - Key to the Bone Bounce Song

This is a skeletal graphic that is available as a handout to used with the song lyrics. It includes an image of the skeleton with 13 bones, or bone groups labeled.

  • The Bone Bounce Handout
    A pdf file version of the skeleton handout used by Lucy Jenson to accompany the Bone Bounce song. This is a copy of the image used by my daughter's first grade teacher, handed out to the children.
  • The Bone Bounce Handout
    The original Bone Bounce handout from Carl's Corner.

The Bone Bounce Skeleton

Number of the Bones Identified in The Bone Bounce Song

Assessing The Bone Bounce Song as a Teaching Method for Learning Bone Anatomy

Number of Bones Identified: 13 (Phalanges are identified twice)

Names of Bones Identified in the Bone Bounce Song:

This is the key developed by Lucy for the names of the bones. Use this key to refer to when teaching this song:

  • Cranium: braincase (top of skull)
  • Clavicle: collar bone
  • Sternum: breast bone
  • Humerus: upper arm
  • Radius: forearm bone on the thumb side
  • Ulna: forearm bone on the little finger side
  • Femur: thigh bone
  • Phalanges: toe and finger bones
  • Tibia: shin bone
  • Fibula: leg bone

A Review of the Bone Bounce Song

How does this song work as a method to teach anatomy?

The Bone Bounce Song

This song has the advantage of being developed by an educator to the tune of a familiar song, which broadens the appeal of the song.

Ages: 3 - 8, both boys and girls.

Number of Bones Identified: 13 (phalanges in hands and feet)

Pluses:

In addition to being set to the recognizable song, "If You're Happy and You Know It" The Bone Bounce Song encourages children to get up and dance, or at least move, with the interactive lyrics.

The Bone Dance Song comes with a key and a diagram to help teachers brush up on their anatomy. The handout of the skeleton diagram can also be given to the children for them to use and review.

Minuses:

Using this song requires that you know the words to the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." It would have been even more useful if more bones were identified.

Overall:

The Bone Bounce Song may be a good introduction for Bone Anatomy for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders, especially in combination with the Skeleton Floor puzzle or a Skeleton Model.

Older children and boys will probably need something more advanced.

Skeleton X-rays

Human X-Rays on Film

Using Skeleton X-rays to Teach Bone Anatomy

The teaching tool that I found when the children were a bit older was a set of x-rays of the bones that can be used to teach skeleton anatomy.

I used the X-rays and the wall decals to teach 4th and 6th graders.

This set of 18 X-rays can be arranged together to create an entire body that is about the height of a child (5 feet).

The 18 pieces can be arranged together to reproduce the entire body of a young adult 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.

Also includes a teacher guide with reproducible artwork and information on radiography.

The manufacturer recommends this for children 5 and over.

Skeleton X-rays

Skeleton X-Rays

Skeleton X-Rays

More Resources on X-rays on Amazon

Books on x-rays at different levels. The X-Ray: See Through the World Around You book takes a look at normal things being x-rayed.

Jessica's X-Rays

The X'ed-Out X-Ray

A Look at a Walking Skeleton on YouTube

Medical animation of walking skeleton from www.medflix.com

Medical Animation of Walking Skeleton

The Big Story of Bones

The Big Bones Skeleton

The Big Story on Bones

The Big Story on Bones

The Big Story on Bones

An Online Resource from Kids Health

"The Big Story on Bones" website has information about all the major bone groups in a series of fun articles presented at a level that children can understand.

The Skeleton image featured in this segment is the image from the Big Story on Bones site.

Segments

The site includes segments on:

  • What are Bones Made Of?
  • How Bones Grow
  • Your Spine
  • Your Ribs
  • Your Skull
  • Your Hands
  • Your Legs
  • Your Joints
  • Taking Care of Your Bones

More About KidsHealth

KidsHealth is the largest and most visited site on the Web. The site provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence for children and their parents.

Source: KidsHealth. The Big Story on Bones. My Body.

  • The Big Story on Bones
    Bones provide structure to your whole body, allow you to move in many ways, protect your internal organs, and more. This webpage provides information and interactive flash programs for kids to get the big story on bones.

Number of the Bones Identified in The Big Story on Bone

Assessing The Big Story on Bones as a Teaching Method for Learning Bone Anatomy

Number of Bones Identified on the diagram: ~ 13

Number of Bones Identified on the website: > 13

Names of Bones Identified in the Big Story on Bone skeleton diagram:

  • Skull
  • Fixed Joint - Parieto-Temporal Joint
  • Vertebra
  • Sternum
  • Ball and Socket Joint - Shoulder Joint
  • Rib
  • Radius
  • Ulna
  • Humerus
  • Femur
  • Tibia
  • Fibula
  • Hinge Joint - Knee (Patella)

This diagram also includes three types of joints in the body:

  1. Fixed Joint - Parieto-Temporal Joint
  2. Ball and Socket Joint - Shoulder Joint
  3. Hinge Joint - Knee

A Review of The Big Story on Bones Website

How well does "The Big Story on Bones" Website Teach Anatomy?

The Big Story on Bones

The Big Story on Bones is one of the subsections of the "My Body" Section on the Kids Health website.

The Kids Health site provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence for children and their parents.

Ages: School age 6 - 10 (12).

This site requires some reading and the ability to use a computer.

Number of Bones Identified: ~ 13

Pluses:

The website has been reviewed by Physicians for information and accuracy.

The site also offers interactive Flash versions.

The Big Story on Bone webpage identifies even more bones that just the diagram. Also provided is information on how to pronounce the various bones.

Minuses:

This site requires some reading, there is a lot of text on the page, so is more geared towards older children, who are able to use a computer and read.

The site has some of it's information and resources as an interactive Flash version. This requires Flash being installed on a computer. There is a non-flash version available.

Dem Dry Bones

Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones - A Traditional Folk Song

How Well Does This Traditional Song Work as a Method to Teach Anatomy?

"Dem Bones" or "Dry Bones" or "Dem Dry Bones" is a well-known traditional spiritual, often used to teach basic bone anatomy to young children.

Most of us have heard some variation of this traditional folk song...

  • The head bone connected to the neck bone...

How well does this familiar song teach bone anatomy?

Skeleton Toy

Dem Bones - Dem Dry Bones

A Traditional Folk Song

Take a look at the lyrics for "Dem Bones" or "Dry Bones" or "Dem Dry Bones" on the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Kids' Page.

You may discover that the song is much longer and a bit scarier than most of us may remember.

The traditional lyrics include such lines as:

  • "Oh those skeleton bones, Oh mercy how they scare!"
  • "Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun.'"

Dem Bones - The Abbreviated Version

I have included the briefer version.

This is the version that I can remember hearing as a child, the one more traditionally used when teaching children (at least here in California).

Oh the...
The foot bone's connected to the —
leg bone,
The leg bone's connected to the —
knee bone,
The knee bone's connected to the —
thigh bone,
The thigh bone's connected to the —
backbone,
The back bone's connected to the —
neck bone
The neck bone's connected to the —
head bone.
Dem Bones
Dem Bones
Dem Bones

Source:

National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services. Dry Bones (Skeleton Bones).

Photo Source: Oliver Brandt. Toys 5. Royalty Free Use.

The Skeleton Dance

Based on Dem Bones

The Skeleton Dance

The Skeleton Dance from Super Silly Halloween Songs. This version has the right and left hands mirrored so children watching will be able to follow along and do the dance.

Based on "Dem Bones."

The Skeleton Dance - Video

Dem Bones Book

(Dem) Dry Bones or Skeleton Bones - Dem Bones - Listen and Sing Along to Dem Bones

This song is just one of many presented by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as a means of introducing kids to music, science and research interests.

Dem Dry Bones for Children

With the Wiggles or St. John Children's Choir

Number of the Bones Identified in The Dem Bones Song

In looking at the Dem Bones Song, the song focuses more on bone areas, or parts of the body rather than bones names.

Number of Bone Areas Identified on the Dem Bones Song: 7

Names of Bone Areas Identified on the Dem Bones Song:

  • * Foot
  • * Leg
  • * Knee
  • * Thigh
  • * Back
  • * Neck
  • * Head

The Wiggles Sing Dem Dry Bones

Since my children have outgrown the Wiggles I didn't know about this version of Dry Bones released by the Wiggles in 2008 on their Pop! Go The Wiggles.

I discovered the Wiggles version when I was searching for examples of the Dem Dry Bones song on YouTube.

For teachers and parents who might be concerned about the song being scary, they should use the Wiggles version. The Wiggles song is not scary at all. As with all of the Wiggles songs, their version is a good one for getting young children up, wiggling and learning.

Watch and listen for yourself.

The Wiggles Wiggle and Dem Dry Bones on YouTube

The Wiggles version of Dem Dry Bones from the Wiggles and Learn TV show.

Review of the Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones Song

How well does " Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones Song" Song Teach Anatomy?

Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

"Dem Bones" or "Dry Bones" or "Dem Dry Bones" is a traditional spiritual, often used to teach basic body parts to young children.

Ages: 3 - 5, Preschool, Kindergarten

Number of Bone Areas Identified: 7

Pluses:

Another interactive song that can get children up and moving while they are learning the parts of the body. The Wiggles version is a good one for getting young children up, wiggling and learning.

Minuses:

As a parent and teacher of death and dying, I was a bit concerned in reading through the traditional lyrics for the songs. Lyrics such as "Oh those skeleton bones, Oh mercy how they scare!" and "Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun.'" are going to scare young children, especially at Halloween and not be helpful in desensitizing a fear of death.

The song focuses on body parts rather than bone names.

Overall:

I would recommend using one of the other songs, unless this song is part of someone's cultural background or there is a strong tradition of using this song. I would watch children's reactions for the scary parts and not overemphasize skeletons as fearful objects.

The Wiggles song is not scary at all. For those with concerns about the song being scary, they should use the Wiggles version.

Personally, I would use one of the other songs, the Bone Bounce or Bone Dance if I was interested in using songs, unless it was the Wiggles version.

The Wiggles version of Dry Bones would be a fun way to get preschoolers and Kindergarteners up, moving and learning.

Websites and resources for teaching the skeletal system:

  • The eSkeletons Project
    The eSkeletons Project website is devoted to the study of human and primate comparative anatomy. It offers a unique set of digitized versions of skeletons in 2-D and 3-D in full color, animations, and much supplemental information. Developed by profe
  • AE Living Skeleton: a Tour of Human Bones
    The living skeleton is provided for educational purposes only. This series of xray images of the human skeleton is designed to be used with a computer projection system and for individualized computer-aided instruction. Identical images are posted in
  • Human Body - Skeletal System
    Hot lists for fifth graders to study the skeletal system, the senses, and the brain. From Mrs. Mitchell's Virtual School.
  • Skeletal System
    Welcome to Human Anatomy On-line the place for fun, interactive and educational views of the human body. From Innerbody.com, Human Anatomy Online.

Historical Skeleton Images

Historical Skeletons

Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams

Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams

Resources for Historical Skeleton Images

There are many different places on the Internet where you can access old drawings of skeletons that people used to study.

Several of the more prominent old text books and authors:

  • William Cheselden: Osteographia or The anatomy of the bones.
  • Andreas Vesalius: De corporis humani fabrica libri septem.
  • Govard Bidloo: Ontleding Des Menschelyken Lichaams.

These illustrations could be adapted to handouts for students to identify the bones.

Be advised that some of the books, Bidloo's in particular contain dissected illustrations that younger children might find disturbing, so be sure to check the images yourself before sending children or students on an image hunt.

Image Source: Govard Bidloo. Ontleding Des Menschelyken Lichaams.

Table 87. Wikimedia.

The following links should take you to the online archives of many of the historical anatomy books or images of the works on Wikimedia.

These images are in the public domain.

Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead

Altar de Muertos

Altar de Muertos