Here’s a fun way to sneak a little body awareness into your kids’ brains without it feeling like homework. Created by Heather Manley, N.D., a naturopathic doctor and mom of two, this series of activity books and audio CDs features Human Body Detectives Merrin and Pearl, two young girls who magically shrink and take their tiny selves on adventures inside the bodies of family and friends.
I checked out the third installment in the series, A Heart Pumping Adventure. The CD features an engagingly told tale complete with fun sound-effects (like the sound of the pumping heart) and lots of facts about the circulatory system. Concerned about their dad’s unhealthy eating habits, Merrin and Pearl enter his body and float along on a red blood cell they nickname “Squishy,” getting a good view of some yellow goo threatening to clog his arteries, and having a vocabulary-building conversation about heart-healthy food and habits along the way.
After listening to each CD, kids can reinforce what they’ve learned with a companion HBD activity book. Yes, it has the obligatory crossword puzzle, stickers, word finds and picture puzzles, but it also encourages kids to write down what they “know, learned and want to know” about the body system in question.
I especially liked interactive elements, for instance, teaching kids to take their pulse and encouraging them to email Merrin and Pearl if they notice a difference in their heart rate after exercise. Another section offers up vocabulary words about the circulatory system and the beginning of a tale for kids to finish. Merrin and Pearl then ask kids to send in their stories.
Other adventures in the series explore the digestive system (and an escape from a poopy diaper!) and the immune system, where the girls befriend a white blood cell. The idea is that if children understand how their bodies work, they are more likely to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives. I think this series will inspire ages 6 to 10 in that direction.