116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A very important part of your body is an organ called the lungs.
Take a deep breath in and you can feel your lungs expand in your chest. Lungs help us to breathe in oxygen, then they move it into our blood, which takes the oxygen to our cells.
You can help your lungs get stronger through breathing exercises. These exercises can also help you overcome stress, slow down and relax.
Benefits of practicing proper breathing techniques include increased oxygen levels, improved blood circulation, improved posture, enhanced mental clarity and the ability to focus.
You will learn that proper breathing helps build lung capacity. Lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs can hold. As people age, their lung capacity tends to decrease. However, by doing exercises like this Cotton Ball Challenge, in which you will use a straw to blow cotton balls across the table, you can maintain and increase lung capacity. This keeps lungs healthy and ensures that your body is getting the oxygen it needs.
You will need:
• Cotton balls
• Masking tape
1. Put a line of masking tape about 2 inches from the edge of a table, then gather a few cotton balls and a straw. Take the straw and start at the side of the table opposite of the masking tape.
2. Place one cotton ball on the table. Use the straw to blow the cotton ball across the table by taking big deep breaths to get those cotton balls moving and to open lung capacity.
3. Try to blow your cotton ball across the finish line of masking tape — don't blow too hard or your cotton ball will fall off the table! Continue until all of the cotton balls have been blown across the table.
Were you able to get across the finish line without having any fall off the table? What was easy? What was difficult?
Extra Challenges: Race someone to see who gets the cotton balls across the finish line first. Use the masking tape to create an obstacle course that the cotton ball must navigate through!
This activity was adapted from Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development / Heads In, Hearts In / Healthy Living Activities canr.msu.edu/resources/heads-in-hearts-in-healthy-living-activities
To get your child involved in fun learning opportunities, check out Clover Kids (grades K-3), 4-H (grades 4-12), Lego Teams, and hands-on educational kits for checkout at extension.iastate.edu/linn/4h.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Linn County helps build a strong Iowa by engaging Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. The 4-H Youth Development program empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences. Linn County Extension Office website: extension.iastate.edu/linn