Sanity Savers: Paper Bag Lungs

Sponsored by: BlueCross BlueShield of WNY

Written by: Amelia Schrader
Senior Manager of Learning and Education


Two paper bags
Two straws


About 10 minutes

Academic Subject:

Arts Science
Development Subject Areas:
Cognition – Knowledge of the World
Fine Motor Development
Gross Motor Development  

With so many friends and family members currently under the care of a doctor it is more important than ever to show appreciation for those who work tirelessly to make us feel better. These doctors, nurses, lab techs, hospital administrators and janitors are all working around the clock to make sure we stay healthy.   

The current global pandemic, the COVID-19 Virus, is attacking a very important part of our body, our lungs. However, it can be hard for children to understand why lungs are so important and how they function. This simple activity will give children a hands on way of understanding this important concept.  


Step 1: Label one paper bag “Left Lung” and the other “Right Lung”
Step 2: Draw the bronchioles and alveoli on the paper bags, use the same side you wrote on during Step 1.
Step 3: Place the straw in the top of each bag, twist the top of the bag around the straw and securing it with tape.  
Step 4: Practice inflating your paper bag lungs for a visual representation of how YOUR lungs work!  

Our lungs help to bring oxygen to our bodies and expel carbon dioxide. When we breath, air is brought into our body through your mouth or nose and down your windpipe all the way into your left and right lungs. When your lungs are inflated they oxygenate the blood which gets pumped to the rest of your body. As you breathe out your lungs expel carbon dioxide. More information about lungs can be found here.

Vocabulary Words

· Doctor: a person who is qualified to practice medicine and treats people that are sick
· Lung: A pair of organs inside our chest, behind the rib cage. These organs are responsible for getting oxygen to our blood and the rest of our body.
· Bronchi: The main stem or tube that brings air to the left and right lungs.
· Bronchioles: These are the tiny tubs that stem from the bronchi. There are about 30,000 bronchioles in each lung.
· Alveoli: The tiny clusters or air sacs at the end of the bronchioles.
· Inflate: to fill with air or gas 

For more Sanity Savers projects click here!

Upcoming Hours - OPEN: 7/17-22 | CLOSED: 7/23, 7/30