This post may contain affiliate links meaning I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Read my disclosure policy here.
If you’re studying the nervous system, looking for a hands-on activity to learn about the spinal cord? This spinal cord craft was my way of illustrating the vertebrate and how the nerves are interweaved between them.
In a perfect world, my wagon wheel pasta wheels would be larger so that the nerves (licorice candy) could be pulled through. They were too thick to pull through so we tied them around the wagon wheels.
We did this activity with our homeschool co-op class and all I asked was that they finished their spinal cord before they ate their nerves. The kids were really excited about finishing the activity.
We discussed how the spinal cord is the gateway from the brain to the peripheral nervous system. We did some fun experiments with our senses which I’ll discuss later.
We discussed the different areas of the brain keeping it pretty simple but talking about their main functions. I didn’t want to dumb things down for the class but we did cover a lot so I wanted to take one thing to focus on for our activity to cement what we were learning.
>> See more human body activities for kids
What is the funcition of the spinal cord?
The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord is responsible for helping the brain communicate with the rest of the body. It is made up of nerves that sends messages to the brain and from the brain to the rest of the body.
The spine itself is made of different bones that make up the spinal column.
- 7 cervical vertebrae
- 12 thoracic vertebrae
- 5 lumbar vertebrae
- 31 pairs of nerves
We didn’t have time to really nail down vocabulary in a 45 minute class but the goal was for them to take away that the spinal cord is very important to the nervous system and the entire human body. If that’s all they took away from our class, I would have been very happy.
Recommended Human Body Books
Find out more about the nervous system and the important role it plays with one of these cool human body books. The body has a lot of parts and systems that allows you to think, run and play.
My Amazing Body Machine: A Colorful Visual Guide to How Your Body WorksFirst Human Body Encyclopedia (DK First Reference)My First Human Body BookInside Your Outside: All About the Human Body (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)Me and My Amazing BodyThe Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick & How You Get Sick
Spinal Cord Craft Supplies
Spinal Cord Craft Instructions
- Tie off or bend one end of the pipe cleaner so nothing falls off the end.
- Have the child alternate Cheerios and wagon wheel pastas onto the pipe cleaner.
- Pull apart the Twizzlers and use one string to tie around the wagon wheel.
Recommended Human Body Kits
Want to see how the spinal cord fits into the entire human body? Grab one of these human body kits to see the spinal cord in action.
SmartLab Toys Squishy Human BodyLearning Resources Human Body ModelThe Magic School Bus: A Journey into the Human BodyMelissa & Doug Magnetic Human Body Anatomy Play Set With 24 Magnetic Pieces and Storage Tray
The spinal cord plays an important part in our body, it helps the brain send messages from the brain to the rest of the body and back through nerve fibers.
Need more human body activities?
The Human Body book for Early Learning is available now! It is packed with hands-on human body activities that will make teaching your early learner a breeze.