My Beating Heart

Children will learn about their heart.

Birds Nest

Lesson Objective

Children will identify the location, size, and feeling of their heart.


What You'll Need

  • Picture of a heart (if possible)
  • Drawing paper – 1 sheet per child
  • Chart paper – 1 sheet
  • Crayons or markers

What To Do

Note: Prior to beginning the lesson, record each child’s name on the chart paper. Make two columns to record their resting heartbeat and their active heartbeat.

  1. Discuss information about the heart with the children (see Did You Know).
  2. Explain that the heart is located just to the left of the center of the chest and help the children locate the area of their heart.
  3. Ask the children to place their hand on their heart and see if they can feel their heartbeat (see Guiding Student Inquiry). Explain that this is a gentle and soft feeling and may be difficult to find.
  4. Tell the children there are other ways to feel your heart beating; this is called your pulse (see Did You Know). Show the children how to place their fingertips on their chin line below the ear, and follow it down to the neck to feel their heartbeat.
  5. Have the children count out the number of beats for 15 seconds. Record the number of beats on the chart.
  6. Explain that the rate of your heartbeat depends on what you are doing. Have the children perform about 20 jumping jacks.
  7. Have the children feel their heartbeat immediately after jumping. Count out the number of beats for 15 seconds and record on the chart. Discuss the differences (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  8. Explain that each person’s heart can be a different size and it is about the size of their fist.
  9. Have the children make a fist and trace around it using a crayon or marker on a piece of drawing paper. Hang up the drawings and compare.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain what your heart does.
  • Describe what your heartbeat feels like.
  • Tell me what you can do to make your heart beat faster.
  • Explain what happens to your heartbeat when you exercise.
  • Describe how your heartbeat feels different when you exercise.
  • Tell me about the size of your heart.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Ask the children what else they could do to change their heart rate. Could they make it go even faster? What can they do to slow it down? Do different types of movement create a difference in their heart rate?
  • Provide turkey basters in the water table or a basin of water for children to play with to experience pumping action similar to a heartbeat.
  • Provide stethoscopes in the dramatic play area for children to listen to their heartbeat.
  • Place oversize white button down shirts with the sleeves cut shorter (to use as lab coats), clipboards, paper, and pencils in the dramatic play area for children to play doctor.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children locate the area of their heart?
  • Could children explain the size of their heart?
  • Could children describe what their heartbeat feels like?
  • Could children explain the difference between resting and active heartbeats?


Did You Know?

Your heart is a special muscle near the center of your chest that pumps blood through your body. The blood gives your body oxygen and nutrients that it needs. Your heart works like a pump. It fills up with blood; then it squeezes to push the blood out and let more blood in. The movement of the blood through your heart and around your body is called circulation.

Even though your heart is inside your body, you can feel it working by feeling your pulse. Your pulse can be felt on your neck or your wrist. Your pulse keeps the same beat as your heart. When you exercise, your heart beats faster to carry oxygen to other parts of your body. Because your heart is beating faster, your pulse will be faster.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • heart — the organ in the body that controls the flow of blood.
  • muscle — the soft pieces of flesh in animals and humans that make the bones move.
  • blood — the red liquid that flows through the body; blood carries oxygen and other things the body needs.
  • pump — a machine that causes liquid to move from one place to another.
  • circulation — the movement of blood through the body.
  • pulse — the regular beat caused by the beating of the heart.

Lesson Tips

If children have difficulty finding their pulse, have them use a stethoscope to listen to their heartbeat.


  • The Heart: Our Circulatory System by Seymour Simon
  • Our Hearts (Our Bodies) by Charlotte Guillain
  • Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan
  • The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
  • Lilly’s Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS