Girl Scouts who visit Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe can meet requirements for a badge while learning about heart health and having fun.
At the museum, kids can touch, play and interact with educational exhibits, learning that “doing what it takes to be healthy can be fun!” says Dana Jirauch, executive director.
During a two-hour tour through the museum, Girl Scouts learn about the functions of the heart, how to take care of it, how to recognize warning signs of a heart attack and how to make healthy eating choices. “Lub Dub’s Journey to the Heart” is an experience with eight major exhibits through which a “heart guide” takes the trootps.
Sisters Meghan and Ashley Hufford pose as they experience Lub Dub's Journey to the Heart. Photo courtesy of Halle Heart Center Children's Museum.
In the Marketplace, kids get to shop for foods in a “grocery store” and ring up items with a scanner, tallying the total grams of fat. This helps kids learn about good and bad fats; the challenge is to reach 20 grams of fat per meal. This allows kids to see how quickly fats can add up with poor eating decisions, Jirauch says.
“We’re not telling you not to eat foods, just to watch what you eat,” she says.
The kids also get to put a lunch together in the kitchen as they learn about healthy portions and eat a healthy snack. “We want to empower kids,” Jirauch said. “The power is in each one to choose to live healthy.”
“The Beat Goes On” gets kids actively learning about the importance of getting their heart rates up. They calculate their resting heart rate and then exercise to a video featuring the Phoenix Suns gorilla. They then calculate their new heart rate in order to see the change and realize the importance of everyday physical activity.
Other exhibits include a giant heart that teaches the circulatory system, giant animals with life-size hearts and realistic heart rates to compare the human heart with other animals and a mini golf zone in the “Stay on Course” exhibit focusing on the effects of smoking with the challenge of putting a golf ball through a giant artery.
Several badge options are available at Halle. Try-Its badge opportunities for Brownies include Healthy Habits, My Body and Eat Right, and Stay Healthy; some Junior badge opportunities include Food Power, First Aid and Fun, Fun and Fit and High on Life. The museum has been focused mostly on Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts, but is branching out to include Boy Scouts as well.
Tours are available on Saturdays for troops of 15 or more girls, or on weekdays after school for smaller groups. There are free, self-guided tours with maps, but Jirauch suggests that those tours be limited to 15 girls. To have the full experience, Jirauch recommends the guided tour.
The guided tour costs $10 for each girl, but chaperones are free. The tour includes a heart guide, a healthy snack and a Fun Patch featuring the museum’s mascot, Lub Dub. To sign up a troop or get more information visit the Halle Heart Children’s Museum website or call 602-414-2800. — Amy Vogelsang