In this post: Learn the names for body parts in French; this vocabulary is an important milestone for toddlers and one of the first sets of words they acquire. Here, we share a vocabulary list of useful body parts in French - along with ideas of books, songs, games, activities, and other resources to help you integrate the vocabulary in your daily life.
Table of contents
- Vocabulary list: 30+ body parts in French
- Toddler books about body parts in French
- French songs about body parts
- Activity example: Bath time in French
- Activity example: Dress and undress in French
- Activity example: Baby yoga in French
Vocabulary list: 30+ body parts in French
Let’s start with some useful vocabulary and learn how to call some of the main body parts in French. The mentions “m” and “f” indicate if the grammatical gender of the word is masculine or feminine.
|Fingers||les doigts (2)||m|
|Stomach||le ventre (3)||m|
|Foot, feet||le pied, les pieds||m|
|Toes||les orteils (4)||m|
(1) This one has a tricky plural : un œil, des yeux !
Toddler books about body parts in French
- Habbi Habbi: You can learn this vocabulary in an interactive way through our bilingual book: I Love My Body [French version coming Fall 2022]. The book pairs with our Reading Wand, which makes the book come alive with audio. It is written in French and English, though you can play it in French only for a more immersive experience. Every inch of the book is tappable - so although there are only 3 words and 1 sentence highlighted on each page, there are over 60 clips in this book. Kids can tap the nose, eyes, mouth, and more - while hearing affirmational phrases about appreciating their body.
Mon imagier du corps (My Body picture book) by Nathan Editions: Is written in French only and is a first little encyclopedia of the body presenting toddlers with the main physical (body parts), physiological (eating, sleeping...) and psychological (emotions...) information about the body, with animated tabs for them to explore.
- L’imagerie des tout petits – le corps (Picture books for little ones – the body): Is also a French-only book, written to familiarize your little ones with their bodies, from head to toes.
French songs about body parts
Songs and rhymes are also incredible tools to help memorize words or phrases. There are a lot of French songs revolving about body parts, here are some French kids’ favorites:
Savez-vous planter les choux (Do you know how to plant cabbage) – An all-time favorite of French kids, this song explains how cabbage ought to be planted in our part of town: with the finger, with the hand, with the foot, and even with the nose! Your toddler is sure to have a blast.
Jean Petit qui danse (Little John danses) – This one is perfect to… dance of course! Jean Petit is described dancing with more and more body parts added as the song develops: his finger, hand, elbow, arm, shoulder, torso, all the way to his toes! As for most songs about body parts, there are many different versions, and you can modify the song to add in just any body part you want (that’s where our list of body parts comes in handy).
Mon âne, mon âne (My donkey, my donkey) - A little more complex than the previous song, this one introduces both the body parts and things associated with them. Poor little donkey’s body hurt! Madame prepares all kinds of things to help him get better: a beanie for his head, earrings for his ears, and many more.
Un petit pouce qui danse (a little thumb dances) - a very sweet nursery rhyme where you make your thumbs, your fingers, your hand, your feet, and finally your buttocks dance. For babies you can stop at just your hand, it’s a funny game to pass the time when they’re stuck in a stroller, a car seat, and making your fingers move is just enough to make them happy!
Des os il en faut (bones we need them) – a cute and fun little song that you can repeat infinitely, listing some of the main body parts that we have, and stressing the importance of our bones inside our body.
- Tête, épaule genoux et pieds (head, shoulders, knees, and toes) – a translation of the classic English nursery rhyme that will always be a hit with the smallest ones.
Have bath time - in French
The most obvious opportunity to learn about body parts is bath time. It is also a rather quiet time, a perfect opportunity to practice French and reinforce vocabulary about the body.
You can simply point at each body part as you wash it and name it or make a game out of it. Depending on their age, you can ask your little ones to show you different parts of their body for you to wash, or give them a washcloth and direct them to wash specific parts of their body one by one.
Try always doing it in the same order until they remember it, so they can start anticipating each step and identify each body part ahead of you. Once the routine is established, you can try to playfully change the order from time to time and make them correct you by naming the right body part that should be washed next.
Dress and undress - in French
Dressing and undressing are good moments to name body parts and clothing items. You can also name body parts in French while dressing and undressing their dolls or their favorite plush toy. It can be as simple as describing every step or stating where each piece of clothing needs to go: the hat goes on the head, the gloves go on your hands…
You can also learn how to get dressed with some of the most beloved characters of French children:
- Ptit loup apprend à s’habiller (little wolf learns how to get dressed) by Orianne Lallemand
- Tchoupi s’habille tout seul (Tchoupi gets dressed by himself) by Thierry Courtin
- Timoté s’habille tout seul (Timoté gets dressed by himself) by Emmanuelle Massonaud and Melanie Combes
- Bébé loup s’habille (baby wolf gets dressed) by Emiri Hayashi
Do baby yoga or the baby gym - in French
Baby gyms and baby yoga are popular activities for babies and toddlers. It’s also a good time to work on body parts names while giving simple instructions such as “raise your arm”, “stretch your leg forward.” With every step, one or more body parts have to be used a certain way.
It is also an opportunity to integrate another very useful set of vocabulary: where songs tend to be very repetitive, the physical exercise instructions usually provide you with a large choice of verbs, prepositions, etc. that can be used in combination with each body part.
Here is an example of a simple yoga video, and activity sheets from the same series. The yoga poses are explained simply, focusing on the description of movements without too much extra talk, so they are easy to use even for parents who might not be very fluent in French.
If you liked this, you might also appreciate:
- Printable Library: Habbi Habbi's library of 50+ bilingual printables for kids
Interview with quadrilingual dad (French, Japanese, English, Spanish)
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Check out more bilingual resources from Habbi Habbi
We have lots more (fun stuff!) here at Habbi Habbi. You can explore our free resources such as bilingual printables, resource blog, and audiobooks. Of course, we also have our much loved magical Reading Wand, bilingual books, puzzles & flashcards. Our tools are currently available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Korean, and Hindi.
About our Guest Contributor
Laora Briquet | I’m a French American translator and Mom of a lively 4 years old. I was lucky enough to collaborate with Habbi Habbi as their French Language & Culture Lead! Born and raised in France, I lived in China for a few years before settling in the US. Whether it’s as part of my job as a translator or in my own multicultural little family, languages are a big part of my daily life. After my daughter was born, I found a renewed passion for helping her develop her own linguistic skills and maintaining our minority languages at home.