Learning how the body works, and how to take care of it, is a key part of any child’s education. These circulatory system activities are perfect for your anatomy lessons or to celebrate American Heart Health month every February. They’re free, fun, and help kids understand the importance of taking care of their one and only heart!
1. Mold a Play-Doh circulatory system
Draw an outline of the human body, then grab some red and blue Play-Doh to make arteries, veins, and the heart itself.
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2. Play the circulatory system game
This free printable game from Ellen McHenry is one of the most popular circulatory system activities around. Create a life-sized body model, and spin your way around the system!
Learn more: The Fantastic Five
3. Turn a plastic bag into an inflatable heart
Make a simple heart model from a plastic bag, and use the straws to breathe into it and make it “beat” in rhythm.
Learn more: Kids Activities
4. Scoop water, and try to beat the clock
The heart pumps about 1.3 gallons per minute. Think you can keep up? Fill a container with water, then set a timer. Use a small cup to scoop water into another container as fast as you can. Can you beat your own heart?
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5. Craft a simple stethoscope
Kids know that doctors use stethoscopes to listen to their heart. Make a simple version from a cardboard tube and plastic funnel so kids can try it on their own.
Learn more: Science Sparks
6. See your pulse using a marshmallow
Now that they’ve heard their heart, try this idea to see it in action. Push a toothpick into a marshmallow and set it on your upturned wrist. Hold very still and you should see the toothpick bounce up and down along with your pulse!
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7. Build a functioning heart pump
Now it’s time to learn how the heart does its job. Use plastic bottles and drinking straws to make a working model that actually pumps “blood” from one chamber to the next.
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8. Tie yarn to learn about veins and arteries
The heart works with the veins, arteries, and capillaries to move blood around the body. Tie different colors of yarn together to represent the three and see how they all function together.
Learn more: The Fantastic Five
9. Engineer a complete circulatory system
Put it all together with this functioning circulatory system model. Get step-by-step instructions at the link.
Learn more: Do Science
10. Fill a bottle with a blood model
Take a closer look at blood and learn about the different types of cells, platelets, and the plasma that they all float around in. Use your favorite candies to represent each in this easy model.
Learn more: My Joy-Filled Life
11. Explore different blood types with food coloring
Learning about blood types? This clever experiment with food coloring helps kids learn which types are compatible with each other. If the dyes stay the same color when mixed, the types are compatible. If they change color, then they’re not.
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12. Hold a stuffed animal “blood drive”
This might be the cutest of all the circulatory system activities! Gather up some stuffies, assign them “blood types,” then hold a blood drive! Kids learn about blood types and the importance of being willing to donate blood.
Learn more: Highhill Education
13. Learn about the danger of narrowed veins and arteries
We talk a lot about “healthy foods,” but what makes some foods bad for your heart? Learn about cholesterol and its effects on veins and arteries with this effective demo.
Learn more: Teach Engineering
14. Do some heart-healthy math
Combine a healthy eating lesson with a little math practice! Kids use a calorie chart to determine how healthy a variety of snacks are. Want to expand on this? Look at the labels of real foods and build a list of the best and worst snacks for your heart.
Learn more: Nourish Interactive
15. Exercise to keep your heart healthy
A healthy heart needs exercise too. Create a tic-tac-toe board with the free printables at the link, then toss a bean bag (bonus points for making heart-shaped ones!) to see which exercise you’ll do next.
Learn more: Make and Takes
16. Host a Jump Rope for Heart event
The American Heart Association created Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart to raise awareness of the importance of heart health for kids. Students have a chance to earn money to support cardiovascular research too.
Learn more: The PE Specialist