We had a great week learning about our bodies but these days its always the experiments that are greeted with the most enthusiasm. Here’s what we got up to:-
Heart, lungs and liver
Anatomy is such a difficult topic for young children to grasp. Seeing and touching are the best ways to help them understand so I took a trip to my local friendly butcher. They were great and got me a sheeps heart, lungs and liver. I laid them on our play table with the corresponding parts of our anatomy model and then we got stuck in. Initially the heart and lungs were still connected which was perfect to show them the windpipe and circulatory system.
Elyse was happy to touch but Kealan wasn’t so sure and chose to look using a magnifying glass, which was fine. He was encouraged but not forced to do anything he wasn’t comfortable with.
I removed the heart and sliced it open for them to see the chambers inside. This was a fantastic learning experience and virtually free (the butcher only charged me £1.20 for the liver and gave me the rest for free). They had some concern for the sheep but I told them it had a wonderful life, lots of lambs and had been a very old sheep. I’m all for teaching them about the world but Elyse is still only coming to terms with the idea of death (she spent an hour crying when one of our tadpoles dies during spring week).
There are hundreds of examples of this type of model on Pinterest so I decided to give it a go. Two balloon, straws, empty bottle, a latex glove and some blue tak. It worked! The latex glove acts as a diaphragm and if you pull down on it the lungs (balloons) inflate, push back and they deflate. Both Kealan and Elyse lifted the model from the science table a number of times to play with and eventually enjoyed disassembling it.
Who has the biggest lungs experiment
I placed an overturned jug of water into a Pyrex dish and them filled up the dish with an inch of water. I then carefully fed in a short length of hose into the jug. The idea is to take a deep breath and then blow into the pipe. The air from the lungs displaces the water in the jug therefore giving an indication of capacity.
As precicted this was a very popular activity. Water, bubbles and competition – key components of fun. Also, as expected, kealans lungs were slightly bigger than elyses whilst amy and I blew all the water out of the jug.
Working heart model
The complexity of the human body is not easy to replicate and definitely not in a simple enough way for preschoolers to grasp. I knew I wanted to make a model to show how the heart pumping pushes bloody around the body and how oxygenated blood is dealt with on one side of the heart and deoxygenated blood on the other.
I started with two turkey basters, these were perfect because I could use the hot glue gun to seal them safe in the in the knowledge they wouldn’t melt. The red one represented blood coming from the lungs to the body and the purple one represented blood travelling from the body to the lungs. I used a piece of hose pipe to represent the body and to join the two basters (heart chambers) together. Balloons at the top of the basters represented the lungs. I added water and red food colour and sealed the joins to create a closed system. When the basters were squeezed the blood would begin to flow.
To see more anatomy themed Quality Time Together activities please see:-