This post is sponsored by Dettol.
Handwashing is pretty important for keeping our families healthy and preventing the spread of germs. Unfortunately, if your children are anything like mine, they are usually in so much of a rush to get back to playing, that they prefer to skip the hand washing step whenever possible! Helping children to understand why washing our hands is essential is as important as teaching them the proper technique for cleaning them properly. And often, when children understand the why, they are more inclined to actually comply with the when and how!
Germs are a pretty abstract concept for kids to understand – while they can see when their hands are dirty they certainly can’t see the microscopic organisms that we call germs. Finding ways to make this form of abstract learning more hands-on and tangible is very important to learning. Simple science experiments are fun for kids and there are a number of experiments that can help them learn about germs. For example, Immy was fascinated when her school class tried this simple experiment – growing germs on apple slices (via Playdough to Plato).
While not scientifically directly linked to germs (it’s actually about surface tension), the following simple experiment takes just a few moments and acts as a great demonstration for reinforcing the importance of thorough hand washing. Plus it adds a little magic for kids – the sort of magic that helps to make the message memorable! All you need is a bowl of water, some black pepper and liquid hand wash.
Sprinkle the pepper onto the surface of the water. It will float. Tell your child that the pepper represents germs. Ask your child to dip one finger gently into the water to see what will happen to the pepper. Nothing happens – just like not much happens when they give their hands a cursory dip under a running tap when washing their hands. Take their finger out of the water, dry it and coat it with hand soap. Now have them dip their finger again into the water. What happens to the pepper? Magic, right!
Helping Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Teaching children healthy habits, especially thorough hand washing, really is a good way to help fight germs! To help you introduce or reinforce a thorough hand washing technique with your children I’ve partnered with Dettol to develop a handy printable handwashing poster. Feel free to print it out for use in your home or classroom.
What are your top tips for teaching kids about germs and hand washing?