Every year in art camp, our most popular week is cartooning. We try to keep it interesting by approaching it in various ways. Some you'll find on our 2D art page. This time I was inspired by Mr. Paulus' image of Hello Kitty as a skeleton. My twist was to have students do it as an animation cell a la Disney.
We printed images of popular cartoon characters, and covered them with overhead plastic, tracing their outer contours with Sharpie marker. Students then did a sketch of what the skeleton might look like on thin copy paper so as to see the lines underneath. We had several print-outs of skeletons available so they had a visual reference. Depending on the age of the student we encouraged a level of detail they were able to handle, and to draw the bones as shapes that could be colored in, and not lines.
When the sketch was approved, the skeleton was also drawn on the same plastic with sharpie. Their name was added so as to know what side was the front. (Important!) Once done, students would paint in the bones FROM THE BACK of the plastic. This way the bone contours were not ruined by the paint. We used enamel paints from Nasco, but acrylic paint, and even gesso will work.
Those that finished early created backgrounds for their animation cell; a place for their character to exist. Time will determine how deeply you cover the skeleton. It can simply be a visual reference as we did in our camp class, or you could have a hand-out with formal names of major bones and require students to learn them. Many Youtube resources can be found by searching "skeletal system for kids." Pick the best for your age level as a way to begin your unit.
More resources on the links to the left and HERE. My skeletal reference image was from HERE.