Have your kids ever asked you why they need to breathe? Or why they get tired from running? Well, that’s the work of our lungs so that they can get oxygen to our body.
This paper bag lungs activity is fun and give kids a really great idea of how our respiratory system works. They are the perfect addition to a homeschool human body unit and I love that they are usable from preschool up to older children to demonstrate how our bodies work.
Simple hands on science ideas are often the best and most memorable science projects that you can do with your child. Including them on the project from start to finish helps it really sink in and stick the way a worksheet might not be able to.
>> See the other human body activities for kids
Recommended Books and kits about the Lungs
Here are some great books that help illustrate the anatomy and function of our lungs to go along with this science project.
Look Inside: Your Heart and Lungs (TIME FOR KIDS® Nonfiction Readers)Lungs (Science Readers: A Closer Look)How Do Your Lungs Work? (Rookie Read-About Health (Paperback))LOUD LUNGS Designer Plush Figure – I Lung Rock n’ Roll! from the I Heart Guts SeriesToponechoice Educational Assembled 4D Human Body Skeleton Anatomy Skull Puzzle Medical Science Doll Toys Respiratory System Model Lung ModelFloating Ball Game 1Pipe+2Balls Early Learning Intelligence Lung’s Capacity Training Kids Toys
How do lungs work?
Our body needs oxygen because ALL of the cells in the body need oxygen to work. The lungs are like balloons so when you breathe in they expand filling with air. The oxygen from the air travels from the lungs to the bloodstream so that it can be carried to the different parts of our body through our arteries.
The waste product from our cells, carbon dioxide, is then exchanged and brought back to the lungs so that they can be excreted. When you breathe out, you are getting rid of the carbon dioxide from your cells.
Paper Bag Lungs Supplies
Paper Bag Lungs Instructions
The first thing you want to do is show your child a picture of your lungs that show the bronchioles and alveoli. Give your child a marker and let them draw what they see on the smooth side of the bag, without the flap. Be sure to include the alveoli and the bronchiole.
Open the bags fully, slip the straw in the bag 2-3” in and gather the top of the bag around the straw. Tape tightly, be sure you get a good seal so that it will work well.
As we blew the the lungs up I explained to the kids that what was happening with the paper lungs was the exact opposite of what was happening with the lungs in their body. As they exhaled, the paper lungs filled up and their own lungs “deflated”.
Recommended Science Books for Kids
When doing science experiments like this I like to keep books on hand to help us understand and see what we are studying from a different perspective, it helps to find out the correct terminology and see where everything is.
The Usborne Science EncyclopediaScience: A Visual EncyclopediaThe Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia (Kingfisher Encyclopedias)Human Body! (Knowledge Encyclopedias)Human Body: A Visual EncyclopediaKnowledge Encyclopedia (Updated and Enlarged Edition): The World as You’ve Never Seen It Before (Knowledge Encyclopedias)