Category Archives: Circulatory System

Learning about the circulatory system

The Pumping Heart

This activity is a quick way to demonstrate how the heart pumps blood through blood vessels. Do it with our Circulation Outline activity, and then add it to your hand project from our workbook, About Me:

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All you need is a straw and a red pipe cleaner. A clear straw is preferred (found on amazon) because blood vessels are translucent, but you can also use a pink straw.

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Show your child a picture of a heart. Tell him that it’s about the size of his fist.

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Pretend with your child that your fists are hearts that are pumping. Practice squeezing your fists while mimicking the heartbeat rhythm, pa-pum pa-pum pa-pum.

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Now have your child hold the end of the pipe cleaner with his heart-fist and push it through the blood vessel (straw) while pumping. If possible, have him push only when he pumps. This takes some coordination, so he might need assistance.

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Why We Like It:

This activity teaches:

  1. The size of the heart and what it looks like
  2. How the heart pumps
  3. Blood vessels are tubes
  4. Blood does not continuously flow through the vessels, but moves with the beat of the heart

Kids enjoy “threading” the pipe cleaner through a straw (a fine motor skill) and watching as the straw turns from clear to red.

Extend the Activity: Make 5 of these vessels filled with blood and add them to your hand project from Lesson 9 in our workbook, About Me.

Lesson 9, Heart & Vessels, from About Me. Includes activity ideas, stickers, and worksheets!

Lesson 9, Heart & Vessels, from About Me. Includes activity ideas, stickers, and worksheets!

 

Anatomy Ins & Outlines

Filled with activities and worksheets, About Me is a science workbook your child will want for her very own!

Use body outlines to learn about what’s inside!

Project #1: My Own Anatomy

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There are three versions of this creative and personalized project:

 

Version 1 – Body Cut-out

1. Take a photo of your child, and make sure her body fills the entire frame.

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2. Print the photo, cut out your child’s body, and trace around it onto a piece of card stock. We cut out three outlines for muscles, organs, and skeleton. Have your child draw a body system on each cut-out. You might want to have a body systems diagram handy for her to look at:

Human body systems

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3. Align the photo and body system cut-outs.

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4. Staple at the top.

 

Version 2 – Body Booklet

This version is less time-intensive. Cut some rectangular pages out of card stock and trace the photo cut-out onto each page. Have your child draw and color a body system in each outline. Glue the photo onto the first page and staple together:

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Version 3 – What’s Under?

This version may be more suitable for younger children. Trace outlines of the photo cut-out onto one piece of card stock. Help your child draw and color body systems in each. He can then take his photo and try to fit it on top of each system:

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Why We Like Them: These anatomy projects hit close to home – your child’s own body acts as the top layer! You can teach him about various body systems as he draws and colors them.

 

Project #2: Circulation Outline

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Use this project to teach how and why the circulatory and respiratory systems are connected.

You will need:

  1. Clear flexible straws (we found ours at amazon.com)
  2. Bright red pipe cleaners
  3. Body outline print-out
  4. Clear tape
  5. Two-sided tape
  6. Dark marker (purple, blue, or brown)

Before starting the activity, cut four clear flexible straws so that they are equally long on either side of the bend. Cut four identical lengths from red pipe cleaners.

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Present your child with a body outline (it shouldn’t be too big). Have him draw a heart and lungs in the correct positions. You might want to display a diagram, like the following:

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While he is drawing, show him a red pipe cleaner and explain how it is the color of blood with plenty of oxygen. As blood travels further and further from the heart, it turns darker because it loses oxygen. The blood returns to the heart and lungs to pick up more oxygen.

Give your child the straw and pipe cleaner segments. Instruct him to color half of each pipe cleaner with a dark marker.

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He can then push the pipe cleaner through the straw and bend it. Help him tape the straw into this position. Repeat with the remaining straws and pipe cleaners.

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Now you can help your child place strips of two-sided tape onto the limbs of the body outline.

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Stick the vessel straws onto the tape strips, with open ends pointing toward the heart and lungs.

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Why We Like It: This craft is an excellent representation of blood and blood vessels. The clear straws are a lot like actual blood vessels, which are translucent and tubular. It helps your child see and understand why blood circulates back to the heart and lungs.  Younger children really enjoy pushing the pipe cleaners through the straws – a great fine motor activity!

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With all the talk about blood, Erik got into a gruesome mood.

With all the talk about blood, Erik got into a gruesome mood.

Check out our first workbook at ourtimetolearn.com!

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities - all about the human body!

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities – all about the human body!

Anatomical Ingredients

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities - all about the human body!

About Me(our first workbook) includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities – all about the human body!

Create some edible models of human anatomy!

Recipe #1 – Human Filling

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Present your child with a human body outline and a bowl of small objects. She must decide which objects represent which organs (or bones) and place them in the correct positions.

Ingredients:

  1. Brain – dried apricot 
  2. Heart – dried cranberry
  3. Lungs – dry lima beans or jelly beans
  4. Stomach – dry lima bean (we colored ours with a magic marker), dry kidney bean, or jelly bean
  5. Bones – dry spaghetti or other straight pasta, q-tips, or toothpicks
  6. Esophagus – cooked spaghetti
  7. Intestines – cooked spaghetti

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Place your ingredients in a small bowl. Place it in front of your child with an outline of a human body. To help get her started, ask questions like, “Which of these objects could be the bones? Why?” or “Which object looks most like a stomach?” She will have fun trying to figure it out!

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Why we like it: This is a great activity for reviewing what your child has learned in our first workbook, About Me. It is simple enough for a preschooler and interesting for older children. Also, this puzzle encourages children to think about and identify the qualities of each organ compared to the objects in the bowl. You can expand the activity to include more organs and bones, and there are many options for objects that you can use.

 

Recipe #2 – Celery Stick Figure

Our take on this popular food craft is a simple way to teach about the layers of the human body:

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Ingredients:

  1. 5-6 celery stalks (limbs and torso)
  2. Cream Cheese
  3. Cucumber (head)
  4. Raisins (eyes)
  5. Carrot (one circle slice cut into a semicircle, for the mouth)
  6. Fruit Rope (optional hair)

Trim off the ends of each celery stalk. Line four of them up and cut them in two, one half being slightly longer than the other (arms and legs). Cut one other stalk exactly in half (torso). The curve of each stick needs to be a perfect semicircle, so trim accordingly. Fill each stalk brimming with cream cheese.

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Now, with your child, take a close look at the insides of a celery stick. Explain how it is a lot like our bodies, with veins, meat (muscle), and skin. Have your child help you put two sticks together to form a limb. The cream cheese in the center represents a bone.

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Once you have the arms, legs, and torso put together, you can now assemble a stick figure.     Admire, then chow down!

Why we like it: This craft is a healthy, simple, and effective introduction to the layers underneath our skin. You can also use it to review principles your child has learned about the muscular and circulatory systems.

Use these activities in conjunction with those found in About Me, an engaging workbook about the human body!

 

Injuries

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About Me is a colorful and engaging science workbook for young children – get a jump start on your child’s understanding of life and the world around him!

Little people are used to getting lots of bumps and scrapes, and they might be curious about why they happen and how they get better.

For the projects on today’s post, you will need paper towels, a piece card stock, a drinking straw, grape juice, a piece of string or yarn, a hole punch, tape, and scissors.

Have your child place one arm on a piece of card stock, and the other arm on a paper towel. Trace around each. Cut out the card stock arm.

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Project #1: Bruises

With some grape juice (blood) and a straw (blood vessel), you can introduce your child to the circulatory system.  Have her drink some juice with the straw.

Place a paper towel on a table. Cut your straw in half (hopefully, there will be some residual drops inside) and place it on the paper towel.  Lay the paper towel with the arm tracing on top.

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You can explain to your child that bruises happen when her skin gets hit or bumped, and the blood vessels underneath break and leak out blood. Have your child hit the arm tracing. This should cause some juice drops to fly out of the straw and create a “bruise.”

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Why we like it: This project is easy and action packed! And, like with a lot of our activities, it shows children what’s going on underneath their skin.

 

Project #2: Stitches

This activity is especially captivating for the aspiring surgeon-

Have your child draw a cut on the card stock arm.

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Assist your child in punching out an equal number of holes on either side of the cut.

Cut a 2 inch piece of drinking straw for the needle. Cut one end at an angle, so it is pointed. Now snip out two small opposite holes on the other end (for the eye).

Wrap a small piece of tape tightly around one end of a piece of yarn. Thread the yarn through the eye of your needle. Tape the other end of the yarn to the back side of the arm. Show your child how to “sew” the stitches.

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Why we like it: Children love an opportunity to “sew.” While you are making the craft, you can explain how cuts heal and why bigger cuts need a little extra help. Your child can also draw smaller cuts on the arm and put band-aids on them.

More activities, worksheets and stickers, in Lesson 18 (Injuries) of our first workbook, About Me!

Germ Fight!

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities - all about the human body!

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities – all about the human body!

Three projects this week! – all about viruses and how our bodies fight them.

You will need: red construction paper (rolled into a tube), red, white, and other colors of play dough, Q-tips broken in half, and miniature pom-poms.

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Project #1: A Giant Virus

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This easy activity is a realistic depiction of what a virus looks like. The protein spikes (Q-tips) are what germs use to stick and break in to cells. Once inside, viruses can replicate. This is how they multiply and spread.

Show your child some photographs of viruses. Then she can make a virus from play dough and Q-tips.

Why we like it: This virus model looks real. While your child makes it, you can teach her how a virus works. Make a cell model out of play dough and have the Q-tip virus attack it! You can also teach about and make models of bacteria, which exist in different shapes:

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Project #2: Battle Inside a Giant’s Bloodstream

To demonstrate one way our bodies fight germs, you can make a model of what goes on in a blood vessel.

Show your child a photo of blood cells, like the following:

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She can form red blood cells by rolling red play dough into small balls and pressing a dent into the center of each with her finger.

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Now make some white blood cells, which are more spherical, with no dents.

Dump out a bunch of miniature pom-poms – germ invasion! Show your child how the white blood cells swallow up the “germs”.

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When she has conquered the germs, have her place her cells and perhaps some more germs into a giant blood vessel (your red tube of construction paper).

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Why we like it: Again, we like the realistic models in this activity. It’s easy and tons of fun for kids to wage war against the evil viruses.

The following idea is an extension of this activity:

 

Project #3: White Blood Cell Cookies

Sound appetizing? Our taste testers thought they were delicious!

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First, mix up some dough for Surprise Cookies. (You will need basic ingredients and jelly beans). Help your child form 1 inch balls out of the dough. These are the white blood cells. Bring out a package of jelly beans – these are the germs. Have your child pretend that each white blood cell is eating up a germ, just like in Project #2 (wrap the dough completely around the jelly bean).

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Bake according to instructions.

Yum!

Yum!

Find more fun facts and activities in Lesson 16 of our first workbook, About Me.

Lesson 16 (first page) from About Me