February is American Heart Month! As a parent or teacher, how do you help children learn about a heart-healthy lifestyle? Begin with activities that help children understand how their heart works and share healthful habits. Here are a few ideas:
Healthy Heart Classroom Activities
Grades PreK–K: Taking Care of My Body
This reproducible book is for children to color, cut out, and take home, and includes an activity to determine whether an action is healthy or not. From Early Childhood Thematic Series
Grades K–1: Heart and Lungs
This science unit provides activities on the body’s heart and lungs, plus an experiment about how much air is in our lungs. From Science Works for Kids: Learning About My Body
Grades 1–3: The Heart Pumps Blood
This unit includes information on the circulation system, directions for conducting experiments and activities, and a minibook. From Science Works for Kids: How Your Body Works
Grades 4–6: The Heart and Lungs Work Together
This unit about the human body encourages students to conduct three experiments on how the heart and lungs work together. From Science Works for Kids: The Human Body
Healthy Cooking with Kids
The American Heart Association has a plethora of helpful information on their site, including the Cooking with Heart for Kids demonstration. Download the free guide for instructions and talking points to hold a hands-on cooking demonstration (in the classroom or at home). Plus, the guide includes healthy eating recommendations and two simple recipes to make with kids, such as the Green Monster Smoothie.
Healthy Reading for Kids
This PBS Parents’ site provides a great book list for Healthy Reading for Kids. The books are suitable for toddlers up to 3rd graders.
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer and homeschool educator, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.