How does that old song go again? The knee bone’s connected to the…? Shin bone? Thigh bone? Both? Aarrgghh! We can’t remember.

Anyway, we were WONDERing about bones the other day and wanted to know how many we had. We tried to count them, but then we realized they’re all under our skin! It would be much easier if we had see-through skin or a best friend who was just a skeleton.

Do you have any idea how many bones you have? Did you realize that the number of bones you have changes from when you’re a baby to when you’re grown up? It’s true!

Babies start out with over 300 bones. Since babies have a lot of growing to do, some of the bones they’ll have as adults start out in multiple pieces. Over time, these bones grow together to form one larger bone.

By the time you’re an adult, you’ll have exactly 206 bones. Over half of those bones can be found in your hands and feet! Your bones can be divided into two skeletal systems.

The axial skeleton contains all the bones in the trunk of your body (that’s the middle part of your body that includes your spine). The appendicular skeleton contains all the bones in your limbs (that includes your arms, hands, legs and feet).

Bones can be further classified into four categories. Short bones are, of course, short, and they help strengthen your skeleton. Long bones are — surprise! — long, and found in your limbs. Flat bones protect your organs and provide a spot for muscles to attach. Irregular bones are oddly-shaped bones that don’t fit into any of the other categories.

You would look really funny without bones. Can you imagine being just a big pile of skin? It would be hard to do anything! Your skeleton gives your body shape, helps you move, protects your body, stores minerals, and helps to produce new blood cells.

It’s important to take care of your bones and keep them healthy. Obviously, you can’t take them out to inspect or clean, so how should you take care of them? Your bones are alive and, like all other living things, they need proper nourishment.

For example, you can help keep your bones healthy by making sure you get enough calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps bones harden and become strong. Foods with calcium include dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.

You can also keep your bones healthy by exercising. If you play sports, though, make sure that you protect your bones by wearing the proper safety equipment, including helmets and pads!

62 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (56 votes, avg. 3.95 out of 5)
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    • Isn’t the human body fascinating, Wonder Friend Annie? We learned so much with you today, and we love your prediction for tomorrow, too! We think you’re on the right track! :)

  1. We had good discussion about bones and many students continued to wonder about their skeletal system.
    We WONDERed how do bones grow? When do we have 206 bones? Fifth graders want to know if they have all the 206 bones. Do baby animals (mammals) have similar amounts? Why are bones called “bones”? Why are a baby’s bones so fragile? Can you feel when your bones grow bigger? When do you know if you’re growing?
    When bones are broken, do they grow back? Can you lose a bone (like go down from 206)?

    • Good morning, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Atkinson’s Class! We are so excited to know that you’ve been WONDERing about the human skeletal system with us– it sounds like you have lots of WONDERful questions! When we’re babies, our bones are still growing, so they are more fragile than… say a 5th grader’s bones or a 30 year old’s bones. Sometimes we experience “growing pains” while we grow into strong, healthy kids and adults. You can Wonder with us here: Wonder #402–Do Growing Pains Hurt? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-growing-pains-hurt/ :)

      We hope you’ll continue to Wonder using the library and the Internet to answer some of your awesome questions! Have a WONDERful day! :)

  2. Thoughts: I thought the text was really interesting because I didn’t know that babies started with 300 bones. (Carlos)
    I think this was a warning to me, but it came a little late because I already broke a part of my growth plate. (Jake) P.S. Jake is in a cast from his shoulder to his wrist. Ouch!

    Connections: This reminds me of when I watched a movie because the person’s bones went out of its body and it was left as a big glob. (Joaquin) This reminds me of Mr. Bones because it’s a skeleton that our art teacher, Mrs. Adams had for “Day of the Dead”. (Briahna)

    Predictions: Do you know what a wolf is? (Michelle) Who is the first person to write Little Red Riding Hood? (Shalize) Is Bigfoot real? (Andrew) Have you ever heard a wolf? (Isaiah) What is a shotgun shell? (Jaaron) What is care package? (Crisitan)

    • Good morning, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Hess’ Class! Carlos and Jake, we are glad you learned something new today. Jake, we sure hope you have a speedy recovery! Keep you head up, Wonder Friend! :) Joaquin and Briahna, thank you for sharing your connections– we think it’s cool that you thought of such different things that relate to this Wonder! Michelle, Shalize, Andrew, Isaiah, Jaaron, and Cristian, we are so excited that you shared such creative predictions! Have you checked out Wonder #691– Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-wolf/ :)

      Have a SUPER weekend, Wonder Friends! We look forward to WONDERing with you soon! :)

  3. ===========================================
    Ha Ha!!!… Why Did It Say “Everything Is Terrible!!!”
    ===========================================

    I Wonder What’s Next???
    If Tomorrow’s Wonder Of The Day Falls In The Woods And No One Is Around To Hear It, Will It Make A Sound???

    If It’s A Tree And There Is Know One Around Then No One Will Hear It!!!
    If It’s A nuclear Power Plant That Explodes Then Ya Someone Will Hear It!!!
    ===========================================
    See You For Tomorrow!!!
    ===========================================

    • Good afternoon, Wonder Friend Max! We are so glad you enjoyed today’s Wonder! Did you bump your funny bone while you were WONDERing with us? :)

      We think you’re on to something when it comes to your Wonder predictions, Max! See you tomorrow, Friend! :)

  4. Thoughts, Connections and Questions: Bryan-Do bugs have bones? Elijah- How do bones react to movement? Destiny- Why do bones start in pieces? Aaliyah- My brother broke his foot. Michael- Once I had growing pains in my knee and ankle so bad I couldn’t walk. Gabrielle- My sister broke her ankle and they said the bones were cracked. Hayden- Kevin Ware broke his shin in a basketball game.

    Predictions: Cassie- Why do people get kidnapped? Bryan- Why do people cut down trees? Destiny- What are some causes of trees falling? Trevon- What causes a tree to fall? Aaliyah- How do owls communicate? Gabrielle- How do you use firewood? Hayden- Can you hear a feather? David- How many bears are in the woods? Sierra- What types of trees are there? Erica- How do you go hunting? Za’Kayla- Why do people chop down trees?

    • Good afternoon, Wonder Friends in Mrs. VanDusen’s Class! We are so impressed with all your awesome questions, thoughts and predictions! We hope you’ll research your very own questions, Bryan, Elijah and Destiny! We look forward to learning more with you!

      We hope all the broken bones in your classroom are healed and everyone is healthy and happy! Thank you for sharing your connections, Aaliyah, Michael, Gabrielle, and Hayden!

      Cassie, Bryan, Destiny, Trevon, Aaliyah, Gabrielle, Hayden, David, Sierra, Erica and Za’Kayla, we can’t wait to explore the forest with you tomorrow! HOORAY! :)

  5. Connections: My dad broke his leg and I got to see his X-ray of his bones. The Dr. took pictures of my head to see if my bones were ok. Teeth are bones too, and they take pictures of my teeth at the dentist. My grandpa got his leg broken. My cousin broke her leg and she had to wear a cast for a long time. I can feel my knuckle bones right under my skin. I busted my head open and had to get staples.

    We have lots of other things inside our body besides just bones.

    What are our bones made of?

    • Good afternoon, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Glover’s K-Class! We are so happy that you shared your connections to today’s bone Wonder! We hope our Wonder Friend’s dad is A-okay after breaking his leg! We are glad you’ve been thinking about teeth today, too! While teeth and bones are very similar, they are not exactly the same. Bones have a living tissue in them that teeth do not, but that’s one of the main differences! We get X-rays to see our bones and teeth, so there are lots of connections!

      We hope all our Wonder Friends are safe and sound without any broken bones! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

  6. Hi Wonderopolis!

    We liked dancing to the video! We liked the part where the skeletons were dancing.
    We realized we can feel some more bones in our body. One of us saw a bone when he had a scrape. We didn’t know that when you grow up you have 206 bones. We talked about where to head bump the ball in soccer to protect your head. Are your teeth bones? Does your ear have any bones?

    We predict tomorrow’s wonder will be about leaves, Magic Tree House #4, or bears.
    We think you can hear the sound if you are near but not far.

    • We’re so glad you’ve been dancing to today’s Wonder, Froggy 1! We really enjoy reading all your connections, thoughts and questions today. It’s very important to protect our bones and keep them healthy by eating the right food! :)

      We have a tiny bones in our ears and teeth in our mouths… teeth are very similar to bones but they are not considered bones. Bones have living tissue in them, while teeth don’t.

      We can’t wait to Wonder with you again tomorrow- you have so many great predictions! :)

  7. I loved the WONDER!
    I WONDER what the WONDER will be tomorrow!
    I think the WONDER will be about Shoes !!!!!!!!
    GOOD-BYE

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Cassius! Thank you for sharing your awesome comments with us! We really love your enthusiasm, thanks for WONDERing all about bones with us today! Until tomorrow, Wonder Friend! :)

  8. Skyler said that bones help you move. Grayson said you would look like a blob without bones. Mia said you have more bones when you are a baby! Tyson said he can feel his bones. Alyssa said you can eat cheese and yogurt to keep bones healthy. Gage said you can drink milk too. Ryan B. said bones are hard but your skin is not. It really hurts to break bones. Samantha said if you didn’t have bones, you would fall like a blanket. Ava said she would be a pile of skin with no bones and look like a puddle.

    • Good afternoon, Wonder Friends in Mr. Flinn’s Kindergarten Class! Skyler, Grayson, Mia, Tyson, Alyssa, Gage, Ryan B., Samantha, and Ava, how cool that you have been WONDERing about all the bones in our bodies today! Thank you for sharing your SUPER comments with us– we are jumping with joy (thanks to our bones and muscles)!

      It’s so important to take good care of our bodies, so make sure you’re eating healthy and delicious food! :)

  9. Hola!! Como estas?

    Today’s wonder of the day was funny! We did the bone dance with the video :). We got tired though. The dances were difficult to do. Skeletons can be scary to look at. Aren’t the finger and toe bones called phalanges?

    We think tomorrow’s wonder of the day will be about TREES! Maybe about them being cut down, bugs or the wind blowing.

    Walk Good,
    Ms. G’s Class

    • Good afternoon, Ms. G’s Class! We are terrific today, thank you for asking! Ca va? :)

      We are happy to hear that you had a mini dance party in class today- what a super way to Wonder and celebrate Friday, too! Skeletons help us understand the bones in the body and how they are connected, but they can be scary looking sometimes, you’re right! The finger bones are called phalanges, great work!

      We look forward to WONDERing with you tomorrow, and we think you’re in the right forest! :)

    • What a stellar question, Mrs. C’s Class! Archaeologists have certain things they look for when it comes to comparing human and animal bones. Animal bones are similar to human bones, but they are shaped differently because of the size of our organs, muscles and limbs! We are so glad you’re here today, thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

    • HOORAY for WONDERing, Elly! We are so glad you enjoyed today’s connected Wonder! It’s so awesome that you’ve continued to think of other cool things… one Wonder leads to another! :)

    • Great question, Mrs. M’s Class! We hope you’ll Wonder using the Internet or the library to find the answer to your question! We did some research about nine-year-olds and their bodies… it’s important to eat healthy and exercise! We want your body to be in tip-top shape, and this is an important time! Between the ages of 10 and 20, humans can increase their bone mass, which means that the bones will be stronger and healthier! How cool!

      Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  10. Dear wonderopolis,

    Today’s wonder was interesting. I know how
    many bones a baby has 306. And I know how many
    bones an adult has: 206. I think tomorrow’s
    is going to be about tree or the woods.

    Your friend,
    Jennifer

    • Hey Jennifer, thank you for sharing your comment with us! We are so happy that you learned something new about how our bones grow! Thanks for sharing your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too!! :)

  11. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Today’s wonder was interesting. They all are.
    I think tomorrow’s wonder is about trees.

    Your friend,
    Zachary

    • Hey Zachary, we are so glad you like so many of our Wonders- that’s great! We hope you have a WONDERful weekend! See you soon! :)

  12. It is so funny when the skeletons dance. I like the music. There are a lot of bones in your body. Do babies have less bones or shorter bones? If you break a bone, how does it get put back together?

    • We’re glad you enjoyed today’s Wonder, Zack, and it tickled your funny bone, too! :)

      Can you believe how many bones we have in our body– we don’t even think about the bones in our hands and fingers that help us type, or the bones in our spine that help us stand! Baby’s bones are smaller and growing, so they have more in the very beginning! We Wonder if you or a member of your family has ever broken a bone? Perhaps they can share how their bones were put back together! :)

    • Great Wonder, Katybug3000! We hope you’ll do some research of your own to answer that question! Keep up the great work! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Heaven! Thanks for visiting us and telling us about your teacher’s prediction! Not far off! What did you learn about all the bones in our bodies? :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Hamnah! Thanks for sharing your comment and telling us about what you liked in today’s Wonder! See you soon! :)

    • That’s SUPER news, Wonder Friend Kimberly! It’s so awesome that you learned all about our bones with us, and now you’ll be WONDERing even more for your science project! Great work- we can’t wait to hear more about it! :)

    • It sure is, Wonder Friend Rainbow Dash! We are glad you learned all about the human body and which bones are connected to what! :)

    • Oh no, we’re sorry to hear that, Wonder Friend Tyler! We’re proud of you for WONDERing with us, even if the Wonder video was not your style! :)

  13. We have about 5,000,000 million bones in our body. We have very small bones, small bones, median bones, large bones, and very large bones.

    • Hey there, Timothy, thanks for sharing your comment about the number of bones in the human body! We do have small bones and large bones, but we’ve only got 206 bones. When we’re little, we have nearly 300 bones in our body, but as we grow up, our bones grow, too, and we will have 206 bones as adults! :)

    • We’re glad this Wonder made you dance, Shalize! We know that bones can be a bit creepy, but thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  14. How many bones does an average 10 year old have? And also love learning about how many bones people have!

    much love: redfox2002

    • Hey there, Redfox2002! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome comment with us today! We are glad this Wonder makes you smile… we hope it tickled your funny bone, too! :) We bet you can find the answer with some help from the library, and the Internet, too! We can’t wait to hear all about what you find! :)

  15. I have asked my mom a lot and she does not know. When my friend told about this video answered my question. I learn what the bone are called.

    • Hey there, Christina, thanks for sharing your comment today! It sounds like you, your mom and your friend are doing a great job of WONDERing with us! It’s awesome to learn something new, especially the human body! We have so many bones in our bodies– it’s important to take great care of them! :)

      What are you looking forward to this summer? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How many bones are in your body?
  • What keeps bones healthy?
  • Can you learn the names of your major bones?

Wonder Gallery

936Vimeo Video

Try It Out

“Break a leg!” That’s what some people tell performers as they’re about to go on stage. It’s meant as a funny way of saying “Good luck!” We hope you have good luck as you try out one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • What would you look like without any skin? Kind of funny? Maybe a little scary? You probably wouldn’t look like the normal skeleton figures you see around Halloween. They’re missing all of their muscles, tissues, and organs, too! You can have fun drawing some of your bones, though. For example, grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Trace your handprint onto a piece of paper and then draw the bones you think exist inside your hand. If you need to, feel your hands to determine where the bones are. Have fun! You can repeat this exercise for your feet or your arms and legs, too!
  • So can you name all your bones? No, we don’t mean giving them names, like “Hannah,” “Maggie,” or “Seth.” They actually already have names given to them by scientists over the years. Grab a friend or family member and jump online to check out the Name Dem Bones Challenge. Spend some time learning the names of various bones. When you think you know a lot of them, test yourself by printing and trying to fill out this Skeletal System Diagram. Have fun learning the names of your bones!
  • Up for a challenge? Are you ready to get up close and personal with your Skeletal System? Just follow that link to access a page with links to real photographs of many different parts of the skeletal system. You’ll reinforce your knowledge of the names of different bones while also developing a better understanding of your bones and what they actually look like. Share the information you learn with a friend or family member.

Still Wondering

In National Geographic Xpeditions’ The Dig: Them Bones lesson, children compare their body parts, based on commonly used terms, to the bones of the Turkana Boy found in the roots of a thorn tree by Africa’s Lake Turkana.

Wonder What’s Next?

If tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, will it make a sound?

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.