Learn about the human digestive system for kids that moves food from their mouth, through their esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and out the other end as poop. This digestion experiment is a ZANY and memorable human body project that is super simple, but effective in teaching first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th garde, 6th grade, 7th grad, and 8th graders about how food is digested in the body and waste is expelled as poo. Plus don’t miss the free printable digestive system worksheets pdf file at the bottom of the post.
Human Digestive System for Kids
As children begin to learn about their amazing bodies they have lots of questions. One that I hear a lot is what happens to food so that it comes out so disgusting as poop! It’s a good questions. In this human digestive system for kids project we will learn what happens to the food you’ve eaten, where it travels, how it’s used, and how and why it comes out as a smelly bowel movement! This digestion experiment is certainly hands-on and simple to replicate! You can use this digestive system experiment with kids of all ages from grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, and jr highers in grade 7 and grade 8. The fantastic visual of the digestive system for kids helps kids really comprehend what happens. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschoolers you will love this human body project that so colorfully explains the digestion process for kids.
Digestive system worksheets
All 4 worksheets include an answer key! These are a great way to make sure kids learn key vocabulary and terms as well as the name of the organs involved in digestino and their function.
To try this digestion science experiment all you need are a few simple items you probably already have on hand:
- 1 banana
- 6-8 crackers
- 1-2 Tablespoon lemon juice or clear vinegar
- ziplock plastic bag
- old pair of tights or stockings
- plastic funnel
- 2 paper or styrofoam cups
- tray or container to contain the mess
- sharpie (optinoal to write the different parts
Digestive System Experiment
Start off by showing your students the banana and cracker. Ask them what happens when we eat our food. The simple answer is the food goes in our mouth, then reaches the stomach, through the intestines, and out the other end as poop.
But why does it look so different when it comes out? It comes out a different color, texture, and ….. well it smells. Basically, all the healthy ingredients have been absorbed by your body as the food was broken down and all that is left is the leftover, unused waste. In this fascinating and memorable human body science project children will learn and visualize what happens to the food they eat.
The Digestive System for Kids
The six major activities of the digestive system are:
- ingestion – You eat food and your saliva begins breaking down the chemicals in your food; your teeth further grind the materials as you tongue moves it around.
- propulsion – Swallow the food, now called bolus, down your throat into a stretchy, 10″ pipe called your esophogus.
- mechanical breakdown – food getting broken down by chewing and tongue movements
- chemical digestion – The esophogus muscles slowly empties food into the stomach in waves . In the stomach food is stored as it is broken down by the help of muscles and gastric juices (stomach acid) into a liquidy mixture that will slowly empty into the small intestine.
- absorption – The small intestine breaks down the food mixture even more so the body can absorb all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Those organs send different juices to the first part of the small intestine. These juices help to digest food and allow the body to absorb nutrients. The pancreas makes juices that help the body digest fats and protein. A juice from the liver called bile helps to absorb fats into the bloodstream. And the gallbladder serves as a warehouse for bile, storing it until the body needs it. Food can take up to 4 hours in yoru 22 foot small intestine!
- elimination – Anything that wasn’t absorbed along the way to get used by the body will empty into the large intestine. LIke the small inestine, the large intestine is coiled up inside of you like a garden hose. The large instesting is a larger hose, about 3-4″ and if unwound would be almost 5 feet! In the large intestine food goes through the colon where it has one last chance to be absorbed by the body before being pushed into the rectum and out the body as poop.
Here’s another explanation of the process of digestion for kids.
Digestive system process for kids
Gather all your supplies and put on your gloves. Pour 1-2 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in your ziplock bag. Now it’s time to demonstrate the digestive process.
For our digetsive system model we are going to jump right to step 4 when the food is in the stomach. For the digestion experiment, students will put the food (banana and crackers) directly into the ziplock stomach. Seal it and have kids squish it, along with the stomach acid lemon juice or vinegar around.
Digestive System for Kids
Now the food goes into the intestines. Cut off the corner of the ziplock bag and send the mush through a pair of stockings with the foot cut off. Have the stockings hang over a bin to catch the mess liquid being re-absorbed into the body as nutrients. While the intestine is lined with sheets of muscle that contract and release to move the material down, in our project the kids will have to serve as the muscle. They will squeeze the food down the instestines.
As the food is squeezed own the tights the excess liquid along with the nutrients will leave the intestine where it will be used by the body.
Digestion Process for Kids
When the food gets to the bottom of the stocking put a styrofoam or paper cup with a 3-4″ small hole cut out the bottom. The cup represents the large intestine– the last stop in the digestive process. Remember that the large intestine is about 3-4″ wide.
Human Body Project for Kids
Remember how the large intestine includes the colon which tries to get the last bit of liquid nutrients out? Put a cup on top of the large inststine cup and push down to do two things:
- extra liquid will come out (in your body it would be absorbed)
- the waste will go out the bottom hole in the form and shape of poop
This is such a fun, hands-on human body project to help kids really understand what happens when we eat food. They will not only see the digestive system model, but will be able to do it and thus remember it better.
Human Body for Kids
- Grab this free printable 5 senses preschool printables to explore the senses of sight, taste, sound, smell, and touch
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- The Digestive System for Kids Experiment
- See all of our hands-on ideas to make learning about the human body for kids FUN and more creative printable science experiments for all ages
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