February is Heart Health Month. Here are a few activities to use to help make this month more than just Valentine’s.
Bring in a good quality stethoscope. Show the children how to use the stethoscope to listen to their heart beat. You can also have the children tap out the rhythm of their heart beat (lub-dub-lub-dub). Ask the children if they can think of any way to change how fast their hearts are beating. Then have the children jog or hop in place for several minutes and then let them recheck their heart beat with the stethoscope.
This is also a great month to invite a nurse or doctor to visit your program. Ask them to bring their stethoscope and talk to the children about how to keep their hearts healthy and strong.
Movement and Healthy Hearts
Talk to the children about how to keep their hearts healthy. Explain how regular exercise can help you maintain heart health. After practicing some simple exercises, create a display to share with parents. Cut a large red heart from poster board. Have the children search through magazines to find pictures of people engaging in exercise and healthy activities to paste onto the heart.
You can also try creating some heart healthy movement/exercise games for your classroom. Draw or paste pictures of simple exercises on a poster board. Have each child toss a heart shaped bean bag onto the board and ask them to do the exercise their heart lands on.
Foods and Healthy Hearts
Display a selection of foods, food packages, or pictures of foods that promote healthy hearts. For example, you might include pictures of chicken and fish, a variety of brightly colored fruits and veggies, bottles of pure juices, and packages of whole grain cereals and breads. Have the children cut pictures of heart-healthy foods out of magazines and store ads. Have the children choose pictures and glue them onto paper plates to create “heart-healthy meals”.
Community and Healthy Hearts
Have the children create Valentines to share with your local children’s hospital. Ask that they be shared with the Pediatric Heart unit. This is a great way to introduce the children to community service while placing a smile on someone else’s face when they receive their hand made card.
Heart Healthy “Conversation Hearts”
Have the children make their own version of “conversation hearts” to decorate your classroom. Encourage them to list heart healthy tips, foods and exercises on them.
Child-friendly heart healthy books:
Go Red, Get Active, Eat Healthy! Make February a Heart Month to remember in your program!by