Homemade Stethoscopes10-15 Minutes: 2 and up: STEM
Young children are fascinated with how the human body works, and listening to a heartbeat is particularly intriguing. This activity provides a simple way to hear to the human heartbeat and gain body awareness by learning about and creating a rudimentary stethoscope.
Set Up Ideas
If you have nurse or doctor outfits in your dramatic play costume trunk, now is a great time to pull them out! This will add a fun dramatic play component to this STEM activity.
Let’s Get Started
Just like a doctor needs all of their materials before an examination, you'll need to gather all of the materials to create your stethoscopes! Specifically, you'll need empty paper towel rolls (or extra-long craft rolls), lightweight funnels, tape and any desired decorating materials.
This activity can be completed with or without decorating your stethoscope—but it is much more fun with a little decoration! Try simple decoration with crayons, stickers or colorful tape.
If you chose to decorate and use any wet materials like paint or glue, allow the tubes to dry completely before continuing, as children will be putting their ears and bodies against the tubes.
Place the paper towel roll over the narrow spout of the funnel. Using tape, adhere the roll to the funnel. It may be easiest to add tape to the widest part of the funnel.
Have the children take turns listening to each other's heartbeats by holding the funnel to a child's chest and listening through opposite end of the roll.
The heart is one of our most vital and active organs. It pumps blood throughout our bodies to keep all of our other organs healthy and properly functioning. In addition to hearing our hearts, we can also feel the pulse of our heartbeat by touching certain spots on our forearms and neck.
Tips and Tricks
Depending on the weight and surface of the funnel that you are using, you may need stronger tape to hold your stethoscope together.
Follow up Activity
After listening to each other's heartbeats for a while, encourage each child to do a set of jumping jacks. Then, listen again. Discuss how exercise increases our heartrate to pump blood through the body faster.
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