While learning about our body, a great way to introduce your child to their heart and how it works is through this very simple experiment. Begin by talking to your child about the heart and the circulatory system.
Have you ever heard your heart beating? The doctor listens to your heart with a stethoscope during your checkup at their office. The doctor can hear your heart beating because it works like a pump pushing blood throughout your body. Each time it pumps, we can see and feel your pulse in different parts of your body.
- Marshmallow (We used play dough too)
Place the toothpick on one side of the marshmallow and rest the other side of the marshmallow on your radial artery (toothpick facing up).
Watch the toothpick as it moves with your child’s heartbeat. Write down (or have your child write down) their resting heart rate.
Have your child run around the room, dance, do jumping jacks, or whatever else they would like to do for a few minutes to get their heart beat up. Place the marshmallow and toothpick on their wrist again and calculate their heart rate again. Write it down next to their resting heart rate. Ask your child which number is greater.
You can then talk about the differences in their heart rate. Why was it higher after doing an activity? The harder your body is working, the faster your heart has to pump the blood throughout your body.
Make your own working stethoscope so your can listen to each others heart! Cut out the bottom of a solo cup and tape a paper towel roll to the bottom of the cup. Place the open end of the cup against your chest and have your child put their ear at the open end of the roll. Now they can hear your heart beating!