Have your kids ever asked you why they need to breathe? Or why do 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 gives 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.
This activity is such a great learning resource for kids of all ages! I’ve started this when the kids were young and as they got older, we morphed it into learning more deeper resources about the ocean.
>> See the other human body activities for kids
This post may contain affiliate links meaning I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.
Make Your Own Paper Bag Lungs Activity
The human body is so interesting to learn about and there is always something that you can tackle with the kids. We spend a lot of time talking about the various body organs for this reason!
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.
I love using books during this time of learning because my kids really like to see visuals. I also think that when you’re talking about the human body, books are so helpful to be able to slow down and explore.
These are just a few books that I think are great resources but there are so many others that you can check out or purchase. I like to have a few on hand and use ones that explain the processes in different ways since kids all comprehend things differently, too.
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.
Check out our Human Life Cycle Worksheet for another awesome activity to try!
Paper Bag Lungs Supplies
Below are the simple supplies that you’ll need to get started on this easy lungs experiment.
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”.
It was a really cool project that the kids loved because it was something that they could do on their own! They did it over and over again and loved having this as a project that we did easily at home.
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.
Having these types of books on hand makes it easy to transition into another type of science learning activity. The kids seem to really enjoy learning about STEM and science, too so this is one activity that we like to try and combine together if at all possible.
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)
Need more human body activities? The Human Body book for Early Learning is available now!
This is another great resource for early learners to learn more about the human body! It’s a great resource full of valuable information that you can learn together.
More Human Body Activities
Once you get started talking about the human body, keep going! The human body is totally fascinating and a great topic to talk about with the kids!
These crafts about the brain will make learning super fun and extra special!
These worksheets will really break it down into learning about the respiratory system. Worksheets are great for learning because they help kids visually see while also writing out words as well.
Check out these printable puzzles! These are great for helping your child understand all about the human body! Sit down together at the table and work on them completing them together!