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Recently I released a new book titled The Human Body Activity Book for Kids: Hands-On Fun for Grades K-3.
This book includes more than 30 on-the-page activities and hands-on experiments designed to get kids excited about their amazing bodies.
In this post I’m sharing one of the hands-on activities from the book that teaches kids how the stomach breaks down food during digestion.
Note: You’ll find more resources for learning about the human body on my Human Body Unit Study page.
For this activity, you will need the following materials:
- a plastic, zip-top bag
- a permanent marker
- a few crackers
- clear soda
- optional: tray to contain the materials
- optional: small cup to hold the clear soda
To prepare the activity, draw the outline of a stomach on the zip-top plastic bag. You may also wish to pour the soda into small cups for each child.
To begin, explain to your child that your stomach has a very important job, which is to break down the food that you eat. The process of breaking down food so it can be used by the body is called digestion.
Show your child their “stomach” on the plastic bag. Invite your child to “fill their stomachs” by adding the crackers to the plastic bag.
Explain that the stomach has two different ways to break down food. The first way is through physical action. The stomach moves and churns the food to break it down.
At this point, you can have your child use their hands to crush the crackers into small pieces.
Then explain that in addition to physically churning the food to break it down, the stomach also uses chemicals in the form of acids to break down food. Specifically, the stomach uses hydrochloric acid to break down food.
At this point, invite your child to pour a few ounces of clear soda into their plastic zip-top bags. (Sodas are high in acids.)
AT THIS POINT, BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR CHILD CLOSE THE ZIP-TOP ON THEIR PLASTIC BAG BEFORE CONTINUING.
Encourage your child to continue smashing the crackers in the “stomach” to see how much the “stomach” can digest the food with the help of the acid.
Your child will likely notice that the food begins to break down more rapidly and easily after adding the acid.
Discuss with your child how the physical churning of the food combined with the chemical breakdown from the acid together make the stomach so effective at digesting food.
If you liked this activity. . .
This activity is just one many hands-on learning ideas included in The Human Body Activity Book for Kids: Hands-On Fun for Grades K-3. This fun book for kids features:
- The complete guide to anatomy for kids: Teach kids what they’re made of with informative, illustrated chapters broken down by body system.
- Activities galore: Over 30 exciting activities–including connect-the-dots, crosswords, and off-the-page experiments–that keep lessons engaging.
- Tons of fun facts: Did you know hair grows slower at night and that you’re taller in the morning than the evening? Cool trivia makes kids want to learn more.
More Human Body Learning Resources
More Human Body posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Human Body Printables Bundle
- Human Body Activity: How germs spread
- Human Body Activity: Temperature receptors in the skin
- Introducing the five senses
- Books about the five senses
You’ll find more resources for learning about the human body on my Human Body Pinterest board.