Body Venture, a walking tour through the human body for children, teaches the importance of good nutrition and exercise for the human body.

Giant teeth, glowing hands, intestinal villi and other parts of the human body were on display this week at Skyline and the ACE building as Body Venture paid a visit to Pratt. The theme of Venture is Eat Smart, Play Hard.

Body Venture is a larger than life tour through the human body that focuses on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity for children, said Judi Salyer, Kansas Department of Education Body Venture Manager.

One of the major lessons of the tour is every thing in moderation in food and every child needs an hour of exercise a day. Eat something from all the food groups but don't overeat.

Body Venture is a series of connected structures that are decorated with various internal body parts like the brain, mouth, intestines, muscles, bones and heart. Grade school students from grades K-5 are lead through the Venture, stopping at each body part for a five minute information lesson from a volunteer that can include visual aids and demonstrations. Because each stop is just five minutes, it holds their attention, Salyer said.

There are no videos in the tour but there are plenty of visual aids. The tour requires students to use their listening skills and imaginations.

In the lung, students get to see a representation of a smoker's lung and a healthy lung. Students are each given a small straw to breathe through while they hold their nose to represent how hard it is to breathe with bad lungs.

In the intestine, there is a rope that is 22 feet long that represents the length of intestine in the body. There are giant teeth in the mouth and students get to practicing flossing. In the brain, there is a skull, a bike safety helmet and samples of good food for the brain.

For demonstration at the skin display, the speaker used a black light to shine on students hands to reveal "germs." Then the hands are sprayed and the black light is used again and it reveals the germs. Then the students without the spray shake hands with someone who hands have been sprayed and it show how shaking hands spreads germs.

At the start of the tour, each student is given a bookmark card with information about the five food groups. Each student has card has a color that matches up with one of the fire groups. At each station, they learn which of the food group is most beneficial for that particular body part.

The students get to keep the bookmark and can use it with the activity book at the end of the tour. The five food groups are fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Fats and oils are no longer included in the good groups because there is enough of that in ordinary foods.

Lots of health issues are covered in the tour including eating healthy. A problem with proper nutrition is that food that is not beneficial is usually the cheapest to buy. Salyer suggests if a family will not buy soft drinks, chips, ice cream and other less healthy food for a week and spend that money instead on more healthy food like fruits and vegetables, they can afford to eat healthy. Families need to remember that if they try to both at the same time, it can be expensive.

Eating healthy is the responsibility of the parents. They need to set a good example for the children.

"It takes the adults in the kids lives to do it," Salyer said.

At the end of the tour, students do a review and receive an activity book to help them remember the lessons they have learned.

Volunteers present lessons and help lead the students through body venture. The students really like the tour because it's so hands on, Salyer said.

There is a cost for body venture but schools can get grants to cover the cost. Body Venture visits 90 sites a year and has already booking for next year.

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