Health Teaching Ideas

Health Coloring Pages and Worksheets

NIEHS Kids Pages
Dr. P. Body’s Learning Fun Center
Dental Health
Nutrition
All About Me
Health and Safety
Health, Nutrition and Food Printable Worksheets

Popcorn Day

This can be a day of nutritional education related to the many ways to use corn. A poster with the nutritional value of corn along with popcorn treats for the students is sure to get their attention.

“POP Your LID”

Many science projects have addressed the subject of sodas and their effect on weight and the decay of teeth… Put up a display and fill containers with teaspoons for sugar equivalent to the amount in each object. Include regular and diet sodas, candy, jelly, Ketchup and others. Kids are amazed when they see the sugar in the cans or baggies.

Summer Safety

Have the middle school student’s team up and create a booklet about summer safety. Two or three students per team with names like “The Grillers” (barbecue safety). “The Sharks” (water safety), The Hornets” (stings and bites) etc. Students learn from researching their topic, each team creates their page using the internet and other programs. Each family gets a copy of the finished project as a reference for home.

Dressing for Winter Weather

Team up with local community members who may donate hat and gloves. Talk to the students about the importance of dressing warm during the cold season. Include outside sports and when to know it is time to go in and warm up.
Students can be gifted with the hats and gloves or names can be picked for the recipients.

“Go Nuts”

A display of various nuts and berries is a welcome reminder of how important theses are to our nutrition.
Use a poster with squirrels as the characters. Be creative and go nuts!

Be the Beat

Heart education can be fun. Use the 60’s Beatnik theme. Students snap their fingers after each act and the drums are played to the chanting of “Be the Beat”. Have a group of student’s role play the important things to keep your heart healthy. Use a drum and have students repeat out loud “Be the Beat” at the end of each act. Have the Bad “Fat” brothers and the “Trans” sisters talk about nutrition. One student dresses like a doctor and examines the heart of another student using a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. A group of students jump rope, hula hoop etc and talk about the importance of exercise in daily routines. Another group speaks out against not smoking to protect heart health.

Build Your Body (Anatomy and Physiology)

This teaching tool is a great way to teach students about the anatomy and physiology of the body. It can be taught in an age appropriate format. Have each student trace their silhouette on a large piece of roller paper. Cut out the tracing and hand it on the wall. Throughout the next few weeks, discuss the various organs, have an enlarged picture of the organ for each child to cut out and glue onto their body. Talk about the purpose, location and how to care for their boy. Lungs, Heart, Brain, Bones, Mouth, Eyes, and stomach are a few that the little ones recognize. You can include the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen for the older students.
This activity has proven to be an ongoing educational tool with a constant reminder of how one pre-K student told the school nurse he was “lung less”. She didn’t understand what he meant until the teacher explained that he was absent the day they talked about lungs so his boy was “lung less!”

Bedtime at School

The kids love to come to school in their pajamas! This is a fun way to teach students how important it is to get enough sleep. Studies show that you cannot “catch up” on much needed sleep on the weekends.
Children need 8-16 hours of sleep per day depending on their age. Consistent bed times are important to their ability to achieve academically.
Provide a handout to send home for parents talking about the importance of sleep in a child’s day and for academic success.
More Information Available: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children

Green Eggs and Ham (Nutrition)

What better way to support Dr. Seuss Day than to serve the students a healthy breakfast of eggs, ham, wheat toast, juice and milk. Have green food coloring available for those who dare try the green eggs.
The kids can make Cat in the Hat paper hats to wear. Flyers can home with students reinforcing to parents how important a healthy breakfast is before coming to school.

Teacher Relaxation Day

Our teacher and staff’s health is very important to our schools. Every teacher deserves a little pampering. The past few years, usually right before the holidays, we have a day where our teachers can take a few minutes to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the lunch room.
Prepare a light, healthy lunch in a quiet corner of the school. Dim the lights using flameless candles or Christmas lights. Have soft relaxation music playing and a few soft chairs to sit in. Bring in a massage chair or pad to sit on, a foot massager and other spa items. Ask your local salons to donate items or even their time to come and pamper the teachers. A gift of lotion, nail products, hair products can be provided. A raffle prize of a day at the spa is a huge hit!
The teachers can take turns coming in to the room as able throughout the day. Staff or volunteers can help cover the classrooms during these times.

Hygiene and Puberty

This topic is usually a top priority for the 5th grade teachers as students begin to experience the physical changes of growing up. Good hygiene and oral care need stressed at this age as their bodies mature and grow. There are many DVDs available and written material. To really capture the student’s attention, the speaker can dress in a robe, shower cap and slipper for the lecture. For more information log on to: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/hygiene_basics.html

Halloween Safety

Many hospitals offer programs for schools related to safety during trick and treat time. Students benefit from education at school demonstrating how masks block their view, costumes can cause accidents, safety related to visiting houses etc. Dress up in costume and have many props to hold the student’s attention. For more information log on to:
www.halloween-Safety.com/halloween_safety_kids.html 

Baby Sitting and Childcare Education

Many students are assuming charge of siblings and other children at a very young age. Consider having a babysitting course at your school that would include: differences in infants, toddlers, pre-school and school age children. Address activity, eating, toileting, playing, discipline, routines and other topics. Include safety, first aid, emergencies such as fire, strangers etc. Your local hospital may be able to help. Many “Safe Sitters” Programs are available throughout the state.
If you are interested in creating such a program, call Nurse Mary Ann at Wheeling Catholic Elementary 304-233-1515.

Safe Toy and Gift Ideas

Put up a display of toys and gifts that are GOOD to purchase and those that are NOT ideal for children. You can do this along with a fundraiser offering “babysitting “ on a Saturday morning or an evening at your school while parents go Christmas shopping. Charge a fee for the service and have it go towards student health, class trips or a charitable organization.

Healthy Fruit and Vegetable Snack Time

They say it takes at least 10-12 introductions for a child to begin to eat new foods. Try this throughout the school year. Three times a week, each student is encouraged to try a “new” fruit or vegetable. Start a “two bite” club” where students agree to take at least two bites of the new food.

Johnny Appleseed Day (Nutrition)

This famous adventurer and lover of nature is a great way to accent the importance of apples in our diets. Students can make paper “pot hats” to wear, sample various ways apples can be eaten, visit apple orchards in the community etc.
This was a big hit at our school as the teachers all wore pots on their head and students sampled applesauce, apple pie, apple juice, and apple butter.

The Great American Smoke Out

This event is always in November. To enhance posters and hand outs, have students write a letter to someone they know who they would like to quit smoking. If they don’t know anyone who smokes, they can write to a parishioner and the letters can be shared with the pastor. Award prizes for the best letters and include them in your display.

Fruit and Vegetable Identification

Gather a variety of fruits and vegetables in a box. Have each student put on a blind fold, tough, smell and sometimes taste the item to try to identify the fruit or vegetable. The students then place it in a basket with fruits or vegetables. Talk about how it is grown, where it can be grown and health benefits of eating them.

Spiritual Health – Lenten Activity

Try making a “crown of thorns” out of bread dough and tooth picks. Student can participate in preparing the dough, baking it while reminding them of the reason for Lent. During the season, they remove one “thorn” for good deeds done. We have also made tiny loaves for each student to take home.
For more information, log on to: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5801367_meaning-crown-thorns_.html

Well Friend Visit to the Doctor

Help to alleviate the fears of the little ones when they visit the doctor’s office or hospital by exposing them to the many things used by nurses and doctors. Set up a room with things like stethoscope, blood pressure machine, bandages, ace wrap, scrub clothes, masks, syringe, tongue depressor, etc.
Let each child bring in a doll or stuffed animals as a “patient.” They tell the doctor what is wrong with their friend. Apply band aids, slings, etc. Give the child a “prescription” to take home with what they said was wrong with their friends and instructions on how to treat the condition. Parents get a big kick out of this. Contact your local hospital or doctor office to borrow supplies. Some hospitals offer such visit as field trips for the students.

Hot and Cold Application for Injury

This activity allows the students to gain an understanding of when heat is used for an injury and when it is better to use cold for treatment. Allow the students to make small rice bags that they can stitch up and take home. Squares of flannel work well. Fill the bags with rice. They can be frozen for a cold pack or microwaved for 2 minutes for a hot pack.

Online Safety

Local officials are usually very helpful with this topic. The Attorney General’s office has done presentations in a few schools in the northern panhandle.

Fire Safety

To reinforce what your local fire department educators present, have paper drills with students. Put paper flames in an area of the school and guide the students in how to react.

ATV/Bicycle Safety

Local hospitals and police departments will usually help with this project. They have even brought in their bicycles, helmets and an ATV for students to view and discuss the safety related to these activities.

Let’s Talk Health

Have middle school children each pick a topic, make a poster, and give a brief presentation to other school members. This activity is similar to a science fair. The displays can be open to parents and families to view.

Kids Can Cook!

Use this activity to promote healthy eating through simple cooking projects with healthy recipes.
Try “Zucchini Day,” letting kids make zucchini in many different forms. Examples: sliced with fat free ranch; fried in olive oil; breaded in brand flakes; zucchini bread, or; baked with tomatoes, onions, mozzarella cheese.
Enhance your school lunch at holiday time by having each class make the side dishes. Thanksgiving and Christmas can include: Cranberry and diet 7-up punch, walnut, celery, apple, plain yogurt and cranberries salad. Pumpkin custard with fat free or sugar free whip cream. Whole wheat rolls.

Breakfast of Champions

Heroes are part of every child’s world. Invite local officials such as a policeman, fireman, mayor, priest, minister, teachers, doctor, nurse, and others who make a difference in your community to breakfast with your students. The guests enjoy the experience as much as the kids do! Each guest can receive a token of appreciate like a small picture frame with a verse about heroes inside. The program can be simple with introductions of the guests, serving eggs, bacon, toast, juice etc. and mingling with the students. We were able to get out local newspaper to come and write an article for Wheeling Catholic Elementary.
Another twist is to invite your high school football or basketball team players to come and eat with the kids. The elementary and middle school kids look up to these youth in awe!

Dirty and Clean

Fill a bowl with glitter or soil. Have students put their hands in it. Now, have them use hand sanitizer to try and get the glitter off. Next, let them wash with good old soap and water. The glitter should wash all off. Hand sanitizers are OK if there is no water. They are not good for viruses or visible dirt.

“Witchey Poo and the Witchey Flu”

Using a Halloween theme, dress up like a good witch (Witchy Poo) and have a small doll like witch (Witchy Flu) that you can remove the stuffing to be able to place your hand in the doll like a puppet. Fill a small spray bottle with water and insert it in the doll so the spray will come out of “Witchy Flu’s” mouth simulating a sneeze.
You can also use other character bath mitts for any time of year putting a hole in the mouth and inserting a spray bottle. The kids love it!
Talk about how to use your “Witches’ cape, Batman cap etc.” or sleeve to cover a sneeze.
Use a tape measure to show students how far a sneeze can spray on others.
Have tissues and show students how to tuck them up their sleeve or in their sock if they don’t have a pocket.

Infection Control and Hand Washing

The number one way to prevent the spread of infection is by practicing good hand washing. There are many ways to teach staff and students the proper technique. Visit these sites for some ideas, games and videos.
http://www.henrythehand.com/
www.scrubclub.org/home.aspx
http://www.ehow.com/how_4785417_children-good-hand-washing-techniques.html
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HandWashing/
http://www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/Health/Process_Skills/HPS0200.html