Water beads are my go-to for many sensory and learning activities. I wanted an activity to visualize the different parts of the human blood, and water beads fit the purpose perfectly. I used red/pink beads for the red blood cells, white for the white blood cells, crush yellow beads for platelets and water with a touch of yellow food coloring for the plasma. I used a red play tray that I bought at the dollar store to mix all the parts together.
I used little condiment containers to show each part of the blood separately.
You can download the blood part labels HERE.
My preschooler loved playing with the beads and we repeated the words of each part and talked about what the different parts do:
RED BLOOD CELLS – Carry oxygen to different parts of the body.
WHITE BLOOD CELLS – Fights infections.
PLATELETS – Helps blood clot when you get a cut.
PLASMA – Helps the blood flow.
Of course if you are doing this activity with older kiddos than preschoolers, you could get into more detail about what the different parts do.
My preschooler recently was potty trained (last 6 months) and she is still quite interested in body fluids, so I also wanted to use this activity to show her how pee is made.
We discussed how the pee is made from the kidneys filtering blood. Filter… I have those, for COFFEE!
I put a coffee filter in a purple cup (my “kidney) and had another blue cup which may be my “inferior vena cava” – I could have done an red “abdominal aorta” cup, but that was too much for this activity. Also my red cup was in the dishwasher, lol.
I had my kiddo pour our blood into the kidney cup. I used clothes pins to keep my filter in place, because the weight of the “blood” was making the filter fall in.
I then took the filter and the blood water beads out of the “kidney” cup and showed my preschooler what remained. She was very excited to see pee in the cup (the yellow plasma filtered through).
I never know how much she learns from these activities, but a few minutes later she had to go pee. She excitedly yelled from the bathroom “Look Mama, I peed – it’s yellow, NO blood!”
So yeah, you can teach anatomy and physiology to a three year old.