health and hygiene

Teaching preschoolers about germs

It’s that time of year, cold and flue season has arrived.  This is one season that I’d prefer we just skip (and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way).  I clean like a crazy person, Clorox wipes are my favorite thing, but there a few things that my little friends can do to help, like wash their hands for goodness sakes! I can’t stand at the sink all day long and make sure they use soap and scrub, so I needed an activity that would really make an impression on them, so that they want to wash correctly every single time.

I looked for ideas on Pinterest, and found a great product that you put on your hands and then shake hands, and touch things in the classroom, then you use a black light to see where all of the product has been left.  I think it’s awesome that someone has come up with a product like this, and it’s a great teaching tool, but I can’t buy every awesome product, plus the black light doesn’t really work in my classroom because there is too much natural light.  I also saw a similar activity that used powdered tempera paint, but I wasn’t willing to get tempera all over everything.  Then it hit me, glitter!

Glitter gets everywhere, everyone knows this, and each little piece of glitter is so small that the children would really be able to imagine that they were germs.  The idea behind this activity is really simple, you put a small amount of glitter on your hands and rub it around (if your hands are clammy it will stick, otherwise you may need to use a little lotion or hand sanitizer), then you shake hands with one of the children, and they shake hands with someone else, or touch something in the classroom.  This activity is a great visual example of how germs travel, and how they end up places that we don’t mean for them to.  This activity could also be done with a different color of glitter for each child, so that the students can see where “their germs” ended up throughout the day.

When you are done, this transitions into a great hand washing lesson, because anyone who has used glitter before can tell you that it isn’t easy to get off, so your students will really have to scrub! Here are a few other tips for glitter germs from Little Miss Kindergarten, and some other great Germ-related activities from Kids Activities Blog!

Photo from Amazon – get your glitter here

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