Germs and Hygiene

Germs and Hygiene

Washing Hands

Wash, Wash, Wash Yoor Hands
Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Be sure to use the soap!
Rub and scrub and scrub and rub
Germs go down the drain. HEY!


Why do I Need to Wash My Hands?
Washing your hands is the best way to stop the spread of germs.

Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick


How easily germs can spread from one person to another, from person to objects. The glitter is pretend germs from sneezing/coughing and demonstrates how germs are spread.

Wet a ball and roll in glitter. Have children stand in a circle and pass the ball. Ask who has glitter on their hands? Tell children the gillter represents germs. Touching a door knob, a crayon can leave germs on it. Then the next person to touch the object can pick up the germs.

1. At group time discuss how germs are so small we cannot see them. Use glitter to represnt germs. Place a small amount on one of the children's hands. Have that child shake another child's hand and keep repeating around the circle. By the time each child has shaken another's the "germs" have spread to everyone.

2. A second way to show the spread of germs. Choose three children and place a small amount of glitter on their hands. Have each child shake hands with two other children. Then precide with your normal day. Soon there will be traces of glitter on objects and the children--books, erasers, door knobs, noses. A spot of glitter will get everywhere, just like germs.

3. A third way to show the spread of germs with glitter is to choose 5 children and use different colors of glitter for each child. Give each child in the room a piece of paper towel to lay on his desk or a table. Have the child choose a color of glitter and place his palm in it or sprinkle some of the glitter on his palm. Have the children shaking hands with the other children. The children then rub off the different colors of glitter from their hands onto the paper towels. They can note in their journals the many different colors of glitter on their towels.

Did they notice more of one color of glitter? Why might there be more of one color of glitter? Write about how this experiment might show the importance of hand washing.

A Germ's Journey by Thom Rooke M.D.


Peel a raw potato and cut it in two. Pass one potato section from child to child. Have children wash there hands. Then pass the second potoato section from child to child. Place both potatoes in clear bags and label them "washed hands" and "unwashed hands". The unwashed hand potato will turn disgusting very quickly.

Place the bags in a dark closet at room temperature. Leave them there for a week. After a week pull the bags out and look at the potato pieces--don't take the potatoes out of the bags. What do you see on the pieces? Which potato has the most growth on it? When you are done looking at the potatoes seal the bags and throw them away. The unwashed hand potato will turn disgusting very quickly.

Glitter Germs
Need: glitter, paper towels, hand lotion, bucket (to catch glitter) Note: cinnamon can be used in place of glitter.

First--check that no one has alergies to the hand lotion (cooking oil can be used instead of lotion).

Put a drop of lotion on each child's hand and have them rub their hands together to spread the lotion out evenly. Sprinkle over a bucket a small amount of glitter into each child's hand. Have the children make a fist with the hand that has glitter on it. Have them spread their fingers. What do you see? Have each child press his hands together and pull them apart. What do you see?

Give each child a piece of paper towel and have them wipe their hands. Is the glitter all gone? After using the paper towel, have the children wash their hands with soap and water. Did the glitter come off?

Discuss that the glitter represents germs (pretent germs). What happened when they tried to get the glitter off with paper towels? What happened with they used soap and water? Why is it important to properly wash your hands?


Spreading Germs
Need: Spray bottle, food color, water, white paper, tissue

Show how germs spread with a spray bottle. Add green food coloring water in a spray bottle. Squirt the water (sneeze) onto white paper to show how germs spread when you sneeze. Then take a tissue and cover the nozzle of the spray bottle. Spray again (sneeze). When you cover your mouths the germs go on the issue instead of all over.

How long should you wash your hands?
Sing the ABC song while you wash your hands. When you are done with the song you are done washing your hands.

Germs Away
Need: bowl, water, pepper, liquid dishwashing soap.

Sprinkle black pepper in a bowl of water (the pepper represent germs). The pepper will float on top. In the center of the bowl add a few drops of dishwashing soap and watch the soap "scare the germs away"! Discuss the imporantance of using soap when washing hands.

Bubbles Bubbles
Need: white construction paper, tub, dish soap, straws, food coloring.

Make lots of bubbles when you wash your hands. Reinforce the use of lots of bubbles on hands when washing your hands.

Trace the childrens hands on white construction paper and cut out.

In a tub place a small amount of water and dish soap. Have children blow through straws to make bubbles. Make sure the child is able to blow through the straw and not suck up.

When bubbles are formed drop food coloring on the bubbles. Have the child place the hand cutout on the bubbles to get an interesting design when the bubbles pop. Place the hands gentle on the bubble or the paper will go into the water and get to wet.


A Germ Monster
Need: white constrution paper, collage materials, paint or markers

Have children cut out a blob shape from the construction paper. Have children paint or color the shape with markers. Allow to dry. Glue on collage materials--feather, pipe cleaners...

Sculpt A Germ Monster

Basic Modeling Clay Recipe
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup warm water

Place ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until mixture is as soft as mashed potatoes. You can cover it and place it in a refrigerator about 30 minutes to cool. When cool knead on waxed paper. For color when cool, knead food coloring into clay until blended.

Wrap in a wet cloth and place in an air-tight container to keep moist. Hardens quickly. Paint after drying is complete. When your shapes are dry you can brush with clear nail polish.

Use modeling clay to create your idea of what a germ looks like. Can add buttons and pipe cleaners.

Display the Germ Monsters near the sink as a reminder to properly wash those hands.


The Jimmies The best way to spread less germs when you cough or sneeze is the elephant's way.

Sites to See

Immune Responses Game at Nobel Prize

Teacher's Guide: Germs pdf (Grades 3 to 5)
Teacher's guide with activities from Kids Health.

Healthy Habits--online story.

Wash Your Hands! by Margaret McNamara

Sink Germs-Wash Your Hands!
Beanbag game that stresses the 6 times it is important to wash hands. Includes handouts and an activity color page.

Hand Washing Lesson Plans - K-6th Grade

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