Create a very quiet environment by having everyone sit motionless for a minute or so, and then whispering, “we are going to listen to some beating hearts”. Have the children hear and feel the heartbeats by placing their ear closely against the chest of a friend (a volunteer). Shh. Listen. Show them how to feel their own beats by sliding two fingers down from the back of their ear, and pressing behind their jawbone. It will take a couple of tries.
Show and use a stethoscope, if available.
Show a photo and a diagram of a human heart. Create a child-sized heart from play doh, so the children feel the weight and the density. It’s not really made of play doh; it’s a very strong muscle behind the ribs in your chest.
Explain that everybody has and needs a heart to pump blood all the way through the body, around and around, all day and all night. Amazing!! If you have a water play pump, show how a heart can pump blood, similar to the pump that can pump water.
Our human body is made up of many parts that work together to make us who we are. The heart is very important, and there are some ways that we can keep it working well.
We can eat healthy foods and get exercise, enjoy outdoor activities and games in the fresh air. We can also try to be happy as much as possible, and when we feel angry about something, we could think of ways to solve the problem to help the anger go away. These are things that we need to remember to do all our lives, to keep our heart healthy.
Compare a diagram of a human heart with the familiar shape of a Valentine heart. Discuss similarities and differences.
Jump around and up and down for as long as you can, and then sit or lie down on the floor. Can you feel your heart beats going very fast? As you rest on the floor, you can feel the beats get slower. When you exercise, it makes the heart pump harder.
This topic might extend to an interest in other parts of the human body; to a discussion of medical workers; to a theme about what other things we can do to keep our body operating at its optimum (nutritious food, brush teeth, wash hands etc)
Packs and Printables:
The Heart: The Questions and Answers Book for Kids by Hurst