Why the Human Body Needs Both Muscles and Bones

Why the human body needs both muscles and bones a hands on demonstration 500x779 Why the Human Body Needs Both Muscles and Bones

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This simple demonstration answers the question of why the human body needs both muscles and bones.   This is a great introduction for young children to the various systems in our bodies and how they work together.  This activity was inspired by Bill Nye the Science Guy’s video on Bones and Muscles (which we checked out from our library).

 

Our boys were especially excited about this experiment because it involved eating two of their favorite things:  pancakes and cookies.  :)

 

Here’s what you’ll need for this demonstration:  a pancake and a gingerbread man (or overcooked sugar cookie).  

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 The pancake illustrates what our muscles are like…bendable but can’t hold anything up.  The cookie demonstrates what our bones are like:  strong but stiff.

 

 


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Our bones are strong and hold our bodies up (just like the cookie is able to stand upright without falling to the ground).

 

 

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But out muscles are bendable and allow us to move.

 

 

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 When you try to move bones (without muscles), they can’t move much without snapping in half.

 

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Oops.

 

 

What other ways have you found to explain to children why we need both muscles and bones?

*  Also, be sure to check out more hands-on activities about the human body!  *

World’s Best Spinning Top

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Tops are one of the oldest and most beloved toys.   Clay tops have supposedly been found in the Middle East dating all the way back to 3500 BC and wooden tops in Egypt from as early as 2000-1400 BC.  These toys are the epitome of “timeless”.

 

Spinning tops also defy continental and cultural boundaries.  My parents recently went to Nhowe Mission in Zimbabwe to work at the hospital that our church and family helped to build and now support.  We learned how to make the world’s best spinning top after a patient of my dad’s made about a hundred homemade tops to send with he and my mom for the children there to enjoy.

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Our boys were recipients of the very few that made it back home without being given to the children (and adults) at Nhowe.  They were immediately in awe of the fun that transpired with such a simple toy!

 

Once we realized how much our boys enjoyed the homemade tops, we decided to make our own and let them decorate them! This project is so versatile:  it would be a great project for VBS, birthday parties, summer camps, craft time, or even as a service project to send to missionaries or to put in Operation Christmas Child boxes!

 

*Please note:  Due to the marble, these toys are not appropriate for children under 3 as they could pose a choking risk.  If you have younger children in your house, please use extreme caution when playing with these tops.

 

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own spinning tops:

Wooden Toy Wheels
Marbles
Wooden Dowel Pins (be sure to purchase at least 18 since there are 18 toy wheels in a package)
Gorilla Super Glue
Various Colors of Sharpies
Puff Paint

 

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 This is all you need to make each individual top:  a wooden toy wheel, marble, dowel pin, and glue.  We learned through trial-and-error that gorilla glue worked much better than the glue pictured above.

 

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 The process of making the top itself is actually pretty simple…just make sure an adult is doing these three steps.  (1) Add some gorilla glue to the end of the wooden dowel pin and insert into the center of the wooden wheel.  (2) On the opposite side of the wooden wheel, add a generous amount of gorilla glue and place a marble in the center of the wheel.

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Poke holes in an egg carton and let them dry for at least 2 hours (if not longer).

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Use Sharpies to color the tops.  Then add some puffy paint for more decorating!  Let dry completely before you use your top (speaking from experience–the puffy paint will spin all over your counters)!

 

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All of the boys in our house (children and adult alike) have had hours of fun with these tops!  Check out this video that demonstrates how well they spin!

Can’t see the video? Go here.

 

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Star Spangled Slime

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This is our first-ever attempt at SLIME!!!  Little Brother has been begging to make some “goop” ever since he first played with it at preschool this past school year.  I was inspired by the Polka Dot Slime from Fun at Home with Kids and decided that this star-spangled slime was the perfect way to start!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  liquid starch, clear school glue, and star confetti!    

 

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1.  Pour both bottles of glue into the bottom of a large bowl.

 

 

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2.  Slowly add the liquid starch, a tiny bit at a time.  Stir for a while after each bit that you add.  I think I ended up adding 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid starch total.

 

 

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3.  Stir together before adding more starch.  Keep adding it, a little at a time, until the mixture begins to stick together and congregate in the center of the bowl.  Continue stirring and adding starch until bits of the goop no longer sticks to your fingers when you touch it.

Need some slime troubleshooting?  Check out “How to Fix Slime Fails” from Fun at Home with Kids!  

 

 

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4.  Add the star confetti as you knead for a few minutes to get a smooth, uniform consistency.

 

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Stretch!!!

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Little Brother thought it was fun to try to pick out the stars…but it was way more challenging than he originally anticipated!  :)

 

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He was thrilled!  :)

 

 

You should be able to store it in an airtight container for a couple weeks (not a Ziploc bag…it is nearly impossible to get it out).  I found that it was sticky after being stored, so you might need to add a few drops of liquid starch when you get it back out.

 

 

Check out more fun 4th of July activities here!

 

 

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Mixing Colors with Water Balloons

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This was a super fun art activity for a hot summer day!  We had a great time mixing colors with water balloons!  We used water colored with liquid watercolors within each balloon to create secondary colors once they were popped and mixed!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  liquid watercolors (you can use food coloring, but it might stain clothes/hands), water balloon pumper, primary colored water balloons, water, and a dish tub or plastic container.  

 

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This is the type of liquid watercolors that we use.

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 1.  Inflate the water balloons using each individual color inside the coordinating color of water balloon.  We have this water balloon pumping station and love it because of the tie-not feature (it totally saves our hands from having to tie a million water balloons).  :)

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 2.  Find a place (outside) to begin the color-mixing fun!

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 3.  Have your child choose two colors of balloons…

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 …and pop them in whatever way he/she would like.  Stomp, squeeze, or throw!

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 4.  Swish the water around to see what color the two balloons create.

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 Little Brother thought that this activity was pretty cool.  :)

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5.  Dump out the contents each time into a larger container…

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 …and see what happens when all the colors are mixed together!

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 Be sure to check out our Sum Splat learning activity also featuring water balloons!  

X-Ray Playdough

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We are having a blast learning about the human body!  As we have been learning about the various systems, the boys were especially intrigued with the skeletal system.  We came up with this fun and interactive way to learn about the body system responsible for supporting our bodies, giving us our shape, and protecting our major organs!

 

We can feel our bones, but we can’t see them unless we are looking at a special picture called an X-Ray.  In this activity, the Q-Tips act as bones to create our own X-Ray pictures!  This would also be a great activity when learning about the letter X.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  black play dough (you can make your own with black food coloring), Q-Tips, Skulls (laminated), and outlet covers.  

 

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1.  Gather your black playdough or make your own.

 

 

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2.  Print off the skulls and laminate them.  Use a hot glue gun to attach them to the outlet covers.  (Note:  If you think the skull might scare your child, feel free to use a cotton ball or even a picture of his/her face).  

 

 

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3.  Cut your Q-Tips into various lengths.

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4.  Let your child get started playing!  Show him/her some photographs of the skeletal system and try to reproduce the major bones using the Q-Tips and play dough!

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This was Little Brother’s skeleton!

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Big Brother and I created this skeleton together!

 

 

 

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Be sure to check out more fun ways to learn about the human body!