Top 10 Ways To Teach Kids About Hand Washing

By Victoria Simpson on April 28 2020 in How to

Teaching children the right way to wash their hands is more important than ever. Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Teaching children the right way to wash their hands is more important than ever. Photo by CDC on Unsplash
  • You need to wash your hands for a minimum of twenty seconds with soap to rid them of germs.
  • You can sing
  • People who are immunocompromised can have a severe reaction to COVID-19.

As you probably already know, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has no cure. If your immune system is strong enough and you do not have an underlying condition like asthma or diabetes, you can likely fight it off. For those who are immunocompromised, COVID-19 can be deadly as it causes pneumonia and respiratory infection that does not respond to antibiotics. This is why staying home even if you do not feel sick and washing your hands is so important. 

Kids, as well as adults, need to do this. Even if they are not in school or hanging out with people outside your immediate family, which they should not be, it is still important that everyone stays clean to stay healthy. Just one person venturing outside of your home for groceries and other essentials is enough to bring germs back home. How can you get kids to wash up on a regular basis? Here are ten tips for getting those hands clean.

10. Teach Them About Germs Online

There are many resources online that can help you teach your children about germs. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Online resources can be great tools. There is now a wide variety of videos available on Youtube that are geared towards kids and teaching them about germs. From good germs to bad germs, to information about bacteria in your gut and proper handwashing techniques, you are sure to find something to watch that kids will follow along with.  

9. Do the Potato Experiment

The potato experiment helps kids learn about the dangers of germs. Image credit:

This experiment creates a strong visual effect that can help reinforce in kids the idea that, even if you do not see them, germs can be on your hands. 

This is how it is done. Take two raw potatoes and peel them. Have your kids handle one potato, without washing their hands. Pass it around, play with it, and do what you want. Then, place it in a clear plastic bag. Now, wash everyone’s hands thoroughly and pass the second potato around. Place it in a second clear plastic bag. Leave the bags in a dark cupboard or closet for about one week, at room temperature. Once time has passed, take them bags out of the cupboard and have a look. You will likely see a large difference between the two potatoes, showing them the aftereffects of all those germs on their hands.

8. Use Flour

Flour is a useful tool to show children how easily germs can spread. Image credit:

Place flour on your counter, or in a bowl. Let your child play in it with their hands. Point out how the flour gets in the crevices of the lines on their hands, under their nails and just about everywhere. Point out that germs can do the same thing. 

7. Sing Songs

You can uses singing to show children the length of time they should be washing their hands. Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When washing your hands, it is important to do it for a minimum of twenty seconds, in order to get all the bacteria and bugs to go away. Kids, and adults, can do this by singing “Happy Birthday” twice through, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” a few times, or a few verses of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

6. Do the Soap, Oil and Cinnamon Experiment

The soap, oil, and cinnamon experiment is a great visual that will help kids learn. Image credit: YouTube

Here are some more visuals and a fun experiment for the kids to participate in. Get a container and mix cooking oil with cinnamon. Have your kids rub the oil and cinnamon mixture on their hands like a hand lotion. Then, have your child wash their hands with water, only. Not much comes off! Now, have your child wash with soap and water. Notice the difference a bit of soap makes!

5. Make a Hand Washing Rewards Chart

Reward you child when he or she practices proper hand washing. Image credit: Photo by CDC on Unsplash

If getting your child to wash up is a chore, treat it like one. Get a chore chart and add “washed hands” to the list of chores to do. Every time your child washes properly with soap for twenty seconds, reward them on the chart.

4. Use Powdered Donuts

Parents can uses powdered donuts to show kids how easily germs spread. Image credit:

Buy some powdered donuts, and offer them to the kids. Then, pretend the sweet treats are germs. Point out how the powder gets on everything easily, and how everything they touch, once they’ve touched the donuts, can get “infected.”

3. Look Under a Microscope

Microscopes are useful tools to show children that germs are invisible to the naked eye. Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash

If you have a microscope at home, you may have already looked at something under there with your child. If not, now is a perfect time. Place a strand of hair under the scope, or some salt or sand. Notice how you can see things under the microscope that are invisible to us with our eyes only. Point out that germs are just like this.

2. Use Glitter

Glitter is another useful way to show kids how easily germs spread. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

This one is a bit messy, but it is fun. Have your child run their hands through some glitter. Next, tell them to walk around touching some things- the glitter is sure to spread. This can indicate how easily germs can spread. Have them wash their hands with soap to wash the glittery germs down the drain.

1. Make a Picture

Drawing germs can help your child remember. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

After doing some of the germ-filled activities, have your child sit down to draw a picture about what they learned. This will help to reinforce in their memory what they now know.

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