While teaching 2 & 3 year olds, I took a spray bottle with water and pretended to sneeze on them, spraying them when I said “ACHOO!” They thought it was funny, but learned that they need to cover, or else someone is going to receive a shower!
I am not sure where I got the following idea, but it is cute when used with kids:
The teacher puts glitter all over his/her hand, then shakes a student’s hand. The student then shakes another student’s hand and so on. The glitter represents germs. This activity shows how germs spread and the importance of washing hands.
While talking about good health and germs we do a hands on activity that lasts for a couple of weeks. We give each child a piece of white bread and ask them to cough on it–sneeze on it-rub their hands with it-or other body parts-or wipe it on different areas of the room (the bathroom-pet cages-etc.)—we then put it in a ziploc baggie with the child’s name on it and a description of where the germs came from. We seal the bag and lay them all out to look at over the next couple of weeks–We also put magnifying glasses on the table. It is really interesting to see what happens to the bread (the molding) and it really disgusts the children as well as teachers as they watch the germs GROW and GROW–the children talk about this experiment for the rest of the year and remind their friends to cover their mouths and wash their hands
Draw a face on a paper plate, cut a small whole in the mouth area. Place a spray bottle filled with water into the whole, sneeze and spray. This is how germs spread.
Obtain x-rays and magnifying glasses. Place the x-rays on the windows, let the children discover different types of bones in a human body. They love this — this activity also encourages language development. Many questions, some they will answer themselves.
For our health week we trace each child body then I pre-cut organs like heart stomach lungs etc. I let the children glue the organs on their “body” and then I let them decorate their faces with yarn for hair wiggle eyes and cute smile . Then to explain children the work of the heart we used blue and red string to make blood pumped into our body. Children really enjoyed this project!
Use toilet tissue rolls as stethoscopes. Pair up children to listen to each others heart beats while they are calm. Notice the speed of the beat. Then have one of the pair run or jump for a minute, then listen to the heart beat. Notice the difference in the heart rate. A good opportunity to discuss the effects of exercise!
Our health and safety unit included lessons on our bones and their purposes. ( Ribs protect the heart and lungs…skull protects the brain…etc. ) I found a really cool way to explain how our spine works. I left these at my science table for the children to assemble over and over. By the way, vertebra is a fun word for a preschooler to drop on their parent.
1 Egg carton (cups cut apart & numbered)
12 Fun foam circles (quarter size)
Lot of energy
While at circle time, we did a little exercising showing how our spine lets us turn and bend differently from other joints. (This also helped get those wiggles out) After we settled down, I explained and demonstrated how each bone in our back (“vertebra” being the egg carton cup) is stacked on top of each other with a cushioning tissue (the quarter size circle) between each. Once the stack was 12 high, it bent similar to a real spine.
Before circle time, I numbered each cup. In an effort to include number recognition, I mixed up and allowed the children to choose a cup. Each student had a chance to stack a vertebra, when they saw their number, and feel how they fit together.
I couldn’t think of an inexpensive way to incorporate the spinal cord. Maybe a tall narrow spring bolted somehow to a platform. This, however, would require you to find a way to cut holes in each piece. Sounds time consuming to me!