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Heart Pumping Activity


3-14 Years Old


10 Minutes

What You Need

Classroom or Gym

To find out how this lesson fits Physical Education and Health Education standards click here.


Five minutes before the class is ready to go to the gym or outside to do the physical activity, have the students do the following hand/heart pump.

The class should stand up, push their chairs in, if appropriate, and raise both hands to shoulder level. Open and close each hand continually: close the hand, and then open it all the way.

Continue this pattern (open, close, open, etc.) for 5 minutes. During this time, keep watching the students. If someone stops, remind him or her to keep going.

After 1 minute, ask if they are tired of doing it yet. If no one is tired of it yet, continue to do it for 5 minutes.

Ask again if anyone is tired of doing this hand pumping yet.

When someone finally announces that he or she is tired, explain that this hand pumping action is just like the heart. The heart is continually pumping and cannot stop at any time. When it is tired, it has to keep on going.

Explain that this is one reason that you have to keep feeding it good, healthful food. The heart needs good food to keep it going, whether it is tired or not. If there is too much fat around the heart and other parts of the body, it makes the heart work harder in order to get the blood to all parts of the body.

Make sure to eat the right foods so that the heart can work well. Avoid eating too much, or the wrong types of food, because the heart has to work all the harder to do its job.

As you are walking to the gym or outdoors, have the students continue to pump their hands all the way there. Gather the students to talk about the activity that they will next be doing. Have them continue to pump their hands. As you notice students “dropping out,” remind them to keep doing it.

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