Kids might not have a full understanding of the circulatory system, but they can gain a basic understanding of how the heart circulates blood throughout the body. These activities take a kid-friendly approach to teaching kids about the heart — the largest muscle in the body.
Blood Circulation Diagram
A life-sized picture of a body is a fun way to show kids how the blood circulates through the body. Trace the kids on large sheets of paper so each child can make her own diagram. Cut out a heart and lungs from another piece of paper. Glue them to the cutout.
Draw blood vessels throughout the body. Draw arrows to show how the blood moves away from the heart to the different organs. Draw arrows in a different color going back toward the heart and lungs where it picks up more oxygen.
For this activity, you need a large open space, such as a gym or multi-purpose room. The kids play the role of different parts of the circulatory system and organs in the body. Other students represent the blood. The heart stays in one position. The organs also stay in place. The kids representing the blood circulate through the room traveling to the different organs. They then return to the students representing the heart and lungs so they can pick up more oxygen and get pumped back out through the body.
Heart Rate Charts
Tracking heart rate is a basic activity for learning about the circulatory system. Teach the kids how to track the pulse. Record resting heart rate as the baseline. Have the kids do exercises and track the heart rate again. Try different types of exercises to see if it affects heart rate.
When a child sees blood come out of a cut, it looks like a red liquid. It’s difficult for kids to understand that the blood is actually made up of different tiny components that you can’t see with the naked eye. To show kids the different parts, make a “bag of blood”. Start with corn syrup in a baggie. Add marshmallows to represent the white blood cells. Add red hots for the red blood cells. The color from the candy should turn the corn syrups slightly red, causing it to look more like blood. Add a few marshmallows as the white blood cells. Finish up with some rice as the platelets.
These circulatory system activities give kids an understanding of some of the basics of the heart and blood circulation. Encourage the kids to further explore the circulatory system.