Digestive System: Hands-On Activities – Esophagus, Stomach, Small Intestines

We did a lot of hands-on activities over the course of two or three weeks. I’m going to put them all into one post.

Esophagus Activities:

Does food fall down to the stomach? We proved that muscles helped move the food bolus down to the tummy with this quick upside-down activity.  Everyone took turns standing on their hands, chewing up a cracker and swallowing. We also did this lying on our sides. Yes, the food travels to the stomach, no matter what direction the esophagus is pointing.

As food is swallowed, the muscles in the esophagus contract and relax. This activities with panty hose showed how the food is pushed down with the rhythmical muscle movement.

Stomach Activities:

After food is swallowed, it collects in the stomach where stomach acid and food enzymes mix. Muscles in the stomach wall squeeze the food around to mix it.

Make your own vomit:

The kids were keen to do this quick activity that I saw on Zelda’s wondeful blog, Homeschool Escapade, a couple of years ago. We used the recipe she suggested:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped (we were out, so we used a red pepper)
  • 1 or two cookies or crackers, crushed (we used 3 so each kid could do their own)
  • 1/8 cup vinegar (we were out, so we used lemon juice as our stomach acid)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Of course, it all fizzed, but after it was done we were all SO GROSSED OUT!!! What do you think? Looks pretty disgusting, doesn’t it?

(Zelda does a lot of hands-on, wonderful activities with her kids, be sure to go check out her blog, Homeschool Escapade.)

Stomach Noises:

As the stomach wall squeeze and mix the food mixture, it makes a lot of noises. We took turns listening to each other’s tummies.  The kids said they could here a lot of noise, but unfortunately without my hearing aid in, I couldn’t hear much (though I’ve certainly heard my own rumble from time to time!!)

Small intestines:

Using panty hose we squeezed some cooked oatmeal down through our “intestines.” We noticed how some small particles, “nutrients,” were able to make their way out of the lining of our “intestines.”

We pulled out our Squishy Human Body and spent time looking over all the internal organs. This product by Smart Lab is really fun. The kids love it and it has held up well.

I have a few more things to share with you about this unit, but I need to bring this post to a close for now. I’ll also share the digestive system packet I made for this portion of our unit with you in the next day or so.

Related Posts That Might Interest You (We are moving to homeschoolden.com):

  • Choking, An Important Lesson for the Kids - A lesson about swallowing, the epiglottis and performing abdominal thrusts. Make your own (moveable) epiglottis with the printout to show how food is prevented from entering the windpipe:

Check out our other science units and freebies:

  • Rocks and Minerals: Free 25 page packet, free pages on the 3-types of rocks, lots of hands on activities


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  1. by Digestive System Free Worksheets | The Homeschool Den

    On February 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

    [...] Digestive System: Hands-On Activities – Esophagus, Stomach, Small Intestines [...]

  2. [...] Digestive System: Hands-on Activities — Esophagus, Stomach and Small Intestines – 4 or 5 activities we did to see how the muscles of the throat worked, how nutrients pass through the small intestines… we even made fake vomit (uck!) [...]