Animal Parts

Flamingo feathersHow do animals use their bodies? Could an elephant drink water without its trunk? Could a red panda climb trees without its claws? Could a penguin swim without its flippers? Do these animals really need special parts on their bodies to do things? The answer is yes. Animals (and humans!) use body parts that are adapted to help them survive in the world.

In the April 2012 Alive magazine, the Kids Alive section introduced you to many of those special body parts. The activities encouraged you to use your own body. For example, you had to use your opposable thumbs and fingers to grip a pencil and complete the Anatomy Word Search. Your brain helped you think of ways animals use certain body parts in our Function Fill-In. And for the Guess Who? activity, you needed your eyes to see patterns and color. Just like an elephant needs its trunk to feed itself, you need many of your body parts to help you in your daily life.

Check out the answers to the April 2012 Kids Alive activities below. Then have a dance party with our animal-themed Hokey Pokey, inspired by Suzanne Akerman’s version at


Anatomy Word Search

Animals have special parts that help them do tasks like eating, digging and protecting their young. Print your word search then use your special opposable thumbs and fingers to circle these words in the word search. Words can be found vertically, horizontally, diagonally and backward within the grid.

When you're finished, view the answers to see if you got them all correct!


Function Fill-in Answers:

  1. A polar bear uses its front paws and back legs to swim, walk, run, climb, eat and hunt.

  2. A kangaroo uses its pouch to store babies, called joeys.

  3. A rattlesnake uses its fangs to protect itself and inject venom into its prey.

  4. A bonobo uses its hands and feet to climb, walk, run, eat, groom, play and fight.


Guess Who Answers:

  1. Chacoan Horned Frog –Their eyes help them see predators. Chacoan horned frogs even rest with their eyes open!

  2. Dall sheep – Males, called rams, use their horns to fight during mating season.

  3. Flamingo – These pink contour feathers protect a flamingo’s skin and help it fly.

  4. Rhino – Rhinos use their ears like radar because their eyesight is poor. Their funnel-shaped ears draw sound in from far away and can rotate in many directions.

  5. Marabou stork – Marabou storks use their large, sharp-edged beaks to tear meat. These scavengers prevent the spread of disease on the African savanna by eating animal remains.

  6. Grizzly bear – Grizzlies use their long claws to dig their winter dens and forage for food; they break apart logs to find insects and pull up roots to eat.

  7. Jaguar – Jaguars use their spots as camouflage from predators. The spots, which are actually broken rosettes (rose-shaped circles), help the jaguar hide among grasses and bushes in its Central and South American habitats.

  8. Peahen – The peahen’s and peacock’s feet are adapted for cold weather. Peafowl feet are mostly tendons and bone and don’t have many blood vessels or nerves to feel the cold. Birds also have what’s called a counter-current heat exchange; heat from the warm blood leaving the body is transferred to the cold blood leaving the feet. This heat exchange keeps the feet from getting too cold.

  9. Grevy’s zebra – The narrow stripes of Grevy’s zebras help them hide from predators; the stripes make them hard to see in bushes and grasses. When a herd of Grevy’s zebras is running, the stripes make the animals blend together so predators can’t pick out just one to chase.

  10. Snake-necked turtle – This turtle’s webbed feet help it swim in the water. These wide feet also make the turtle more stable while walking on land. Snake-necked turtles have claws on their front webbed feet to rip up larger prey.

Click here to see bigger pictures of the animals showing their full heads or bodies.


Hokey Pokey Hoedown

Grab a few friends and get wild with this body-parts boogie. Have each person pick a different animal to be. You can draw animal names out of a hat or choose them yourself. Then get in a circle and do the hokey pokey with animal body parts! Start with the youngest person calling out the first body part. Then go clockwise around the circle until everyone gets a turn. If your animal has the body part called out, put it in and shake it all about! That means: If your “body part” is an arm, you reach your arm into the circle. If it’s your head, you tilt your head into the circle. If your animal does not have the body part that is called, boogie in place until the next part is called out. Make your dance party even more creature-crazy with costumes or masks.

Activities by Liz Mauritz