Handwashing tips and tricks
Alongside our interactive learning resources, the following activities are great ways to teach your children about germs and the importance of handwashing!
1) Glitter Germs
- Children will have a concrete example as to why they should wash their hands with soap and warm water.
- Children will understand that germs are smaller than the eye can see and are easily transferred from person-to-person and objects.
- Glitter (biodegradable if possible!)
- Paper Towels
- Hand Lotion
- Bucket (to catch glitter)
(Be sure to find out if any children have allergies to hand lotion.)
- Ask: What is a germ? How big is it? Why is it important to wash your hands?
- Put a small amount of hand lotion in each student’s hands. Have them rub it all over their hands.
- Sprinkle, over a bucket, a small amount of glitter into each student’s hands. Have them rub their hands to spread the glitter evenly.
- Next, have a few kids try to get the glitter off with dry paper towel.
- Then, have a few kids try to get the glitter off with plain, cold water. After that, have a few kids use warm water, with soap, to get the glitter germs off.
- Let everyone wash his or her hands with warm, soapy water. Use the Germ’s Journey handwashing song to help!
- Bring everyone back to circle and ask, “What does the glitter represent (Germs)? What happened when you tried to get it off with just paper towels? Cold water? Warm, soapy water? Why is it important to properly wash your hands?
Assessment will be informally based on the Following Criteria:
- Students will demonstrate proper hand washing with warm, soapy water.
- Each student will understand that germs can be spread by not properly washing their hands.
By: Terry Sayre (http://lessons.atozteacherstuff.com/682/glitter-germs/)
Safe Sparkly Hands - Learn About Germs and Hand Hygiene Using Biodegradable Glitter
2) Mouldy Bread Experiment
What you’ll need:
- Three slices of bread
- Three re-sealable bags
Label each of the three bags:
- Place one slice of bread in the “control” bag without touching it. You can use clean tongs, or turn the re-sealable bag inside out and use it like a glove to get the slice inside. Seal the bag.
- Remove a second slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with their unwashed hands. Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
- Have your child wash their hands with soap and water. Use the Germ’s Journey handwashing song (link:.....) to help!
- Take a third slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with their freshly-washed hands. Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
- Take all three sealed bags and put them in a cool, dry place.
- Look at the bread daily and write down your observations, but do not take the bread out of the bags. In a few days, mould should start to appear. What slice of bread gets mouldy first? Which grows the most mould? Which grows the least? If mould starts to appear, have your child take a ruler and measure it and record your observations. You can even draw a picture of the bread each day, or keep a photo diary by taking pictures of the bread each day to watch the changes over time.
3) Pepper and Soap Germs Experiment
What you’ll need:
- Bowl of water
- Sprinkle a generous amount of pepper (pretend germs) into a bowl of water.
- Ask your child to put their finger into the bowl of water and pepper, when they remove it the pretend germs will be all over their finger.
- Next, ask your child place soap on their finger and once again put their finger in the bowl.
- Watch the pretend germs ‘run away’ from the soap and say bye-bye germs!
Use this method to visually show your children how germs disappear when using soap, and why correct handwashing is so important to keep their hands clean and themselves healthy!
Be sure to explain that just placing soap on their hands is not enough to get rid of real germs, they must wash their hands properly (use the Germ’s Journey handwashing song to help!) to keep their hands clean.