Human Body Activities: The Heart

Kids learn what an amazing muscle the heart is in this fun activity.

During our study of the human body, we did this fun activity to demonstrate just what an amazing muscle the heart is! I think your kids will love it, too!

Human Body Activities for Kids: (Heart)Beat the Clock

Materials needed:  

  • 2 large dishpans, buckets, or bowls
  • 1 gallon of water (1.3 gallons to be specific!)
  • a 1/4 cup measuring cup
  • watch or timer

Human Body Activities for Kids: (Heart)Beat the Clock

Background information:

In just one day, the heart pumps 1,900 gallons of blood through our body!  That’s pretty amazing!  To break this down on a smaller scale for students to understand, the heart pumps 1.3 gallons per minute.  Showing students a gallon milk jug full of water can help them get a picture of this amount.  A little over a gallon a minute means that in each heartbeat, the heart is pumping 2.4 ounces of blood, or about 1/4 cup.

(Heart)Beat the Clock activity:

  1. Fill one large dishpan, bucket, or bowl with a gallon of water (or 1.3 gallons if you want to be exact!).
  2. Place the dishpan with the water in it beside the empty dishpan.
  3. Give a student a 1/4 measuring cup.
  4. Set a watch or timer for 1 minute.  Challenge students to try to work as fast as their heart.  Have students try to move all the water in the dishpan (1 gallon)  into the empty dishpan in just one minute or less using the 1/4 measuring cup as a scoop.

Human Body Activities for Kids: (Heart)Beat the Clock Activity


Students will find that it’s very hard, if not impossible, to scoop and move 1.3 gallons in just one minute.  It takes our heart about 72 beats to move this amount of blood through our body in that time frame.  Through this fun activity, students can see first hand that the heart is an amazingly strong and efficient muscle!

Looking for more human body activities and resources? Check these out!

20 Human Body Books for Kids

Respiratory System Model

Human Body Systems Flip Book

Human Body Activities on Pinterest board


  1. Terrific idea! I would like to try this with my Kindergarten class of 14 students. I fear water would be everywhere. Do you think this would work with rice instead?

    1. Sure, rice would work as well! When I did this activity with young students, I put a large towel on the table to catch any spills. I also had them take turns and go one at a time. Kids loved watching each other try to beat the clock. You might split your class into two groups and have them compete side by side. Weather permitting, you might also try doing the activity outside.

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