CONCEPT: General Nutrition
Children discuss the importance of calcium for the body and learn the best way to make sure they get enough calcium.
After completing this activity, children will be able to:
- state that they need calcium to build strong bones and teeth
- understand that they receive most of their calcium from their formula
Explain, "Today we are going to talk about calcium." Using the Calcium Fact Sheet, lead a discussion about calcium, with questions such as:
- Does anyone know what calcium is? (a mineral...)
- Does anybody know why calcium is important? (to make bones and teeth strong and to keep them that way, to maintain muscle and nerve function, to help clot the blood)
- What does our body do with calcium? (puts it into our bones, takes it from the bone to the blood)
- Where do we get the calcium our body needs? (food)
- What foods have calcium in them? Why can't you eat (or drink) those foods? (dairy products are the main source of calcium, dairy products are high in phe)
- Point out the fact that most of their calcium comes from their formula.
Introduce the skeleton and Bone Diagram. Give each participant a Bone Diagram handout.
- How many bones do you have that need calcium? (all of them--206 bones)
- What do bones do? (protect the brain, heart, lungs from being bounced around; team up with muscles to help you move; provide support; help you chew...)
- Bones are alive and growing--tiny bone-building cells are always at work; they always need a good supply of calcium.
- How can bones be strong enough to carry your weight, yet light enough not to slow you down? (bones need calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals to be strong; your skeleton doesn't feel heavy because all the long bones are hollow)
- Have the children feel their own bones (knee, ankle, etc.)
- Bones need exercise too. Exercise brings blood and oxygen to the bones and also helps make them stronger.
- Re-emphasize the importance of formula for good blood levels and strong bones (and teeth).
Introduce the Calvin Calcium character. If there is time, you can read the Calvin Calcium Story together.
Distribute an activity sheet to each child. Directions:
- Color the calcium character.
- Cut out the calcium character and the arms.
- Punch out holes in the arms.
- Fasten arms behind the character with paper fasteners.
- Calcium Fact Sheet
- Skeleton model (if available)
- Bone Diagram handout
- The Calvin Calcium Story
- Calvin Calcium activity
- Paper fasteners