How many bones are in your spine? What’s your spine’s role in the central nervous system?
Commonly called the backbone, the spine is an important part of our skeletal system. It helps give our body structure, support movement, and protects the spinal cord. However, because it is located at the back of our body, it’s difficult for kids to picture the spine.
As part of our study of human anatomy, we made a spine model out of egg cartons! The model provides your kids with a visual representation of what the spine looks like. It is also a great way to upcycle egg cartons for educational purposes.
How to Make a Spine Model
1. Cut out the egg cups from the empty egg carton.
2. Trim away any excess paper from the cups.
3. Optional: Cut the sides of the cups so that there are 4-5 “legs” sticking out.
4. Cut the felt sheet into small circles or rounded squares so that resemble the shape and size of the bottom of your egg carton cups.
5. Poke a small hole in the center of each of the egg carton cups and the foam circles.
6. Push an egg carton cup onto the pipe cleaner, followed by a foam circle.
7. Repeat step #6 until you finished threading all the cups and foam circles.
8. Explore your spinal cord model with your kid!
Ask your kid to move around and pose the egg carton spine model to demonstrate how his spine looks. Try some yoga moves! For example, do a cat pose, then slowly move into a cow pose. Your kids will be amazed at how important the spine is for everyday activity!
Spine Facts for Kids
The backbone, or our spine, is a column of vertebrae that is at the center of your back. It starts from the base of the skull and ends with your coccyx (tailbone). It protects the spinal cord, a bundle of nerve fibers that transmits information from your brain to the rest of the body.
The spine lets you twist your torso, and bend down to pick up things, and holds your body upright. But unlike the other bones in your body, the spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae!
The egg carton cups represent the vertebrae. The vertebrae body is covered with strong cortical bone and provides stiffening for the body. The vertebrae processes, which look like spikes coming out of the body, connect the spine to ligaments and tendons.
The felt circles are the intervertebral discs, which serve as cushions between the vertebrae and prevent the bones from grinding against one another. Like coiled springs, the discs absorb the stress and shock to the body as we move about.
Lastly, the pipe cleaner is the spinal cord, which works with the brain to form our central nervous system. The information from our brain moves through the spinal cord and then travels through nerve roots into the rest of our body.
For more fun human anatomy activities, try: