My Body and Me

Children will create life-sized portraits.

Lesson Objective

Children will explore the similarities and differences in their teachers and classmates body characteristics by creating life-sized portraits.


What You'll Need

  • Roll of large, light-colored paper (such as butcher paper)
  • Chart paper
  • Dark crayon
  • Crayons or markers – 1 set per child

What To Do

  1. Begin a discussion about our bodies (see Did You Know).
  2. Using chart paper, make a list of the children’s answers to how each of our bodies is made (eyes, ears, etc.).
  3. Have the children turn to a partner and notice similarities and differences (notice different body parts, such as eyes, nose, and hair color).
  4. Explain to the children that they will be making life-sized portraits of themselves. Unroll a piece of paper large enough for a child to lie on. Have one of the children lay on the paper and trace the outline of her or his body.
  5. With the help of children and their suggestions, draw the parts of the body onto the tracing (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, fingers, toes, hair, etc.).
  6. Make tracings of each child with additional lengths of the paper.
  7. Have the children add details to their tracings with crayons or markers.
  8. Display the finished pictures throughout the classroom or in the hallway.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Tell me about the different parts of the body.
  • What is the same about all of our bodies?
  • Describe how we are different from each other.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Supply the children with a variety of materials to use on their portraits: fabric scraps or decorative papers could be used for clothing, yarn for hair, buttons for eyes or noses, magazines to cut out mouths/hands/feet. Include tape, scissors, and glue.
  • Use a baby doll from the dramatic play area to compare the different sizes of an infant, preschooler, and adult.
  • Hang the portraits near the art center and encourage children to add elements when they are in the art center.
  • Have the children bring in family pictures and hang them in the classroom. Compare the children’s families; discuss how they are the same and different.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children identify body parts and facial features?
  • Was each child able to complete a body tracing, recognize the body parts, and add facial features?


Did You Know

Each person is special and no one is exactly alike. Some things about us are similar, but not exactly the same. Most of us have a face with two eyes, two ears, a nose, mouth, hair, and chin. Even though most of us have a face with the same features, the combination of features makes up our appearance and causes us to look different from each other. We are not all the same height and weight. The average 4 year old weighs about 40 pounds and is about 40 inches tall. Not everyone has the same eye, hair, or skin color either. These are some of the things that make each of us unique.

The skeleton (bones) and muscles give the body its shape. Our body contains more than 206 bones. Muscles are made of bundles of long fibers and move the body like strings move a puppet. There are more than 600 muscles in the body. Muscles also help hold organs in place. Our bones and muscles are covered by our skin. The skin is the thick and strong cover for the body.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • portrait — a painting, drawing, photograph, or sculpture of a person; an illustration of a person.
  • similar — being almost the same as something else.
  • different — not the same.
  • feature — a part of the face such as the eyes, nose, or chin.
  • trace — a sketch or drawing of something.
  • eyelashes — the short, fine hairs that grow on the edge of the upper or lower eyelid.

Lesson Tips

  • You may want to engage the help of a few parent volunteers to help with tracing the children.
  • When tracing the first child, you can invite some other children to help.
  • When tracing, use a crayon or pencil to protect clothing.


  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  • Marvelous Me: Inside and Out by Lisa Bullard
  • We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bob Kates
  • Parts by Ted Arnold
  • What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel Nolan

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.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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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