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balloons and plastic straws on a table top. text reads "Balloon Lung Experiment #AtHomeWithAPH" Balloon Lung Activity

Appropriate for Elementary School students

Let’s learn about our extraordinary lungs! You can simulate the action of the lungs with this simple model made from items found around the house!


Materials needed:

  • 2 bendable straws
  • 2 balloons or Ziploc baggies
  • tape



Start by bending the straws and place them next to each other pointing in opposite directions (left and right); tape the straws together near the unbent ends. Next, tape a balloon or baggie to cover the straw openings near the bent ends. Make sure you get a tight seal and that no air leaks out. Now you’re ready to simulate breathing by alternately blowing into the straws, inflating the balloons (or baggies) and then allowing the air to flow out. Explain to your child that the straws represent the windpipe which branches into two bronchi leading to each lung. The balloons or baggies represent the lungs which is where the exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide takes place.


For more resources please check out our #AtHomeWithAPH resource list for free and accessible activities, tips, webinars, and more from APH, our partners, and the field at large. Have a free and accessible resource you would like us to include? Email us at to tell us about it!

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