Preschool is the perfect time to begin teaching students about their hearts and how to keep them healthy. While students may be too young to understand how the heart functions in the body, they are not too young to begin learning about the importance of heart health. During your lessons, provide plenty of pictures of the heart and other parts of the body for students to reference.
Listen to Heartbeats
Let students listen to heartbeats, suggests the website Science Discovery. Using a stethoscope, let students listen to each other's heartbeats. Alternatively, show students how to use their fingers to find their pulse in their neck, wrist and arm. Encourage students to place their hand over their heart and be quiet while they count heartbeats. See who can count the most beats. Ask students to do 10 jumping jacks, then listen to their hearts again. Talk to students about the way their heartbeat quickens when they exercise.
Talk to students about how they can keep their hearts healthy, recommends the website Science Discovery. Explain how regular exercise and healthy eating help maintain heart health. With your students, create a display about heart health. Cut a large red heart from poster board. Look through magazines to find pictures of people engaging in healthy activities and pictures of healthy foods; cut out these pictures. Ask students to paste the pictures onto the heart. Hang the heart in the classroom.
Encourage students to explore their knowledge of the heart through dramatic play. Provide stethoscopes, (real or toy) dolls, face masks and a doctor's coat. Ask students to show you where the doll's heart is located. Encourage them to listen to the doll's heart with the stethoscope, or to take turns with a partner playing doctor and patient. Post pictures of the human heart on the walls for students to look at.
For another activity, create a mock kitchen area with different foods that are heart-healthy, such as an empty oatmeal container, empty cereal boxes and toy fruits and vegetables.
Bring in a model of the human heart to show in class. Let students explore the model, and talk to them about how the heart pumps blood throughout the body. Note the size and shape of a real human heart and how it is different from the heart shape (such as the valentine heart shape) students are familiar with. Next, give students red Play-Doh and encourage them to make their own heart models, recommends the website Science Discovery.
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