When I was 9 years old, I wanted to become a cardiologist. When I had to take high school biology, I hated my teacher because he was short tempered, could not control the class, and did not want to be at school. It was then I decided not go become a doctor (for which I'm glad). While at Grove City College, I began to believe that God was calling me to go into nursing. I left Grove City (after my sophomore year) and went to Sewickley Valley Hospital School of Nursing (a diploma program outside of Pittsburgh).
After graduating from nursing school, my first job was on a telemetry floor and then I went into working ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and CCU (Cardiac Care Unit). Even as a nurse, I have enjoyed learning about the heart. Now that I'm a stay at home mother, I still read nursing journals to keep up to date with what's going on. I still have my first stethoscope that I bought when I was in nursing school. The stethoscope is now my daughter's toy.
At the library, I borrowed 3 children's books about the heart:
- Hear Your Heart (for ages 5-9) by Paul Showers: This book starts with an activity that children do in order to help listen to someone's heart. Get a cardboard tube and put it up to a friend's or parent's chest and listen to that person's heart. The author goes on to tell the child the approximate size of their heart, along with the location. Mr. Showers goes on to talk about contraction/expansion, how the heart is divided, and the difference between veins and arteries. The author suggests two more activities: finding your pulse and exercising the heart. My brief thoughts: This is a good book to help introduce a 4 1/2 year old, inquisitive child about the heart. My daughter has had the natural curiosity and asks about the heart (largely due to my stethoscope and having her listen to my heart).
- Thump-Thump (for ages 5 and up) by Pamela Hill Nettleton: The author begins this book by letting the reader know that the reader's heart began beating before he/she was born. Goes on to talk about the circulatory system, heart's chambers, how the heart pumps blood, along with the job of the circulatory system. My brief thoughts: There is more vocabulary in the book, than the previous book listed. but I believe it is still a good overview of the heart for my daughter. It kept her attention, and she was able to repeat some of the words I asked her to repeat.
- The Heart and Circulatory System by Carol Ballard: This books is much more in depth than the other two books and would be more appropriate for late elementary students. I read a few pages to Charis, but she was more interested in looking at the pictures, so we just talked about the pictures and reinforced what we read in the first two books.
How do you help your child learn about the circulatory system and their heart?
What activities and/or books would you recommend?