Close Up Me

Children will learn about their skin.

Lesson Objective

Children will learn about their skin by using a magnifying glass to examine it.


What You'll Need

  • Magnifying glasses – 1 per child
  • Small plates – 1 per child
  • Paint – 1 small puddle per child

What To Do

  1. Tell the children they will be using a magnifying glass to learn about themselves.
  2. Distribute magnifying glasses.
  3. Encourage the children to begin looking at their own hands and fingers through the magnifying glass (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  4. Have the children turn to a partner and examine their hands and fingers to compare.
  5. Invite the children to look at their nails under the magnifying glass and describe what they see.
  6. Place a small puddle of paint on a plate for each child, and distribute.
  7. Invite the children to rub some paint on their hands, then examine them with the magnifying glasses.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain what happens when you look through your magnifying glass.
  • Tell me what happens when you move the magnifying glass farther away from your hand.
  • Describe how your hands look different under the magnifying glass.
  • Tell me the difference between the palms of your hands and the backs of your hands.
  • Describe how your hands are different from your partners. How are they similar?
  • Tell me what your nails look like under the magnifying glass.
  • Explain how your skin looks different when it is wet with the paint.
  • Tell me how your skin looks different when the paint is dry.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Allow the children to examine other living things in the classroom. Encourage them to compare their skin to a leaf or an animal’s skin.
  • Have the children compare their skin to a doll’s skin. How are they the same and different?
  • Encourage the children to examine other areas of their skin such as their arms and legs, and compare to their hands.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe what their hands looked like under the magnifying glass?
  • Could children explain how their hands were the same and different from their partners?
  • Can children describe their skin as covering their entire body?


Did You Know

Just like our brains, hearts, and lungs, the skin is an organ. It is the largest organ in your body. Your body is completely covered by your skin. Your skin is stretchy and has many important jobs. Our skin protects us by keeping our muscles, other organs, and body fluids inside our bodies. It also keeps germs and dirt from getting inside our bodies. The skin is waterproof—rain slides off our skin. The skin can tell the temperature of things and also tells us when we have been hurt. If your skin gets damaged, it can repair itself. The skin is constantly replacing itself with new skin as our old skin flakes off. In order to keep your skin healthy, you need to take care of it. The best way to take care of your skin is to keep it clean.

The skin is made up of two layersThe outer layer, the one we see, is called the epidermis. This layer is the one that is always hard at work making new skin. The inner layer is called the dermis. This is where your sense of touch is. When you touch something, the dermis sends a message to your brain telling you what to do. If you are touching a kitten, your brain tells you it is soft and furry. If you are touching something dangerous, your brain tells you to move away. The subcutaneous is a layer of fat under your skin that keeps you warm and protects you from bumps. All of these layers work together to protect you and keep you comfortable. 

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • skin – the thin outer covering of the body.
  • body – the physical parts that make up a person or an animal.
  • magnifying glass – a lens that makes objects seen through it larger.
  • epidermis – the outer nonsensitive layer of the skin.
  • dermis – the layer of the skin beneath the epidermis.
  • subcutaneous – the layer that is under the skin.

Lesson Tips

  • The children will be using paint; you may want them to wear smocks.


  • Our Skin by Charlotte Guillain
  • Your Skin Holds You In by Becky Baines
  • Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch
  • Bath Time by Eileen Spinelli

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS