Simple Experiment to Teach Kids About Germs and Handwashing

Try this fun idea for teaching young children the importance of washing hands with soap.

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Inside: A simple experiment for teaching young children the importance of washing hands with soap.

RELATED IDEA: Social Distancing Greeting Choices for the Classroom

Simple Experiment for Kids That Shows Them Why It’s Important to Wash Their Hands With Soap

For this simple science at home activity, all you need is a plate or dish, water, some grounded dry herbs/ spice (even grounded pepper works) – we used oregano, and some good ol’ antibacterial soap.

First pour some water on to the plate, then add your ‘virus’ or ‘germs’. Then ask your kid to put a finger in (unwashed) – you will see that the ‘virus’ does not move away.

Do this a couple of times so they see that nothing changes.

Afterward, have them dip their finger in some very soapy water and then stick that finger back into the virus and they’ll be amazed at the difference – the virus spreads away from the finger showing visually how effective soap is. 

Moral of the story – wash those hands!

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Defense tips:

According to this post by the BBC, there are three simple, but crucial, things you and your kids can do to help prevent getting and/ or spreading germs:

  1. Wash your hands,
  2. Use a tissue to cough and
  3. Avoid touching your face. 

In this post we want to help you teach your kids in a way they can more easily understand why they need to be washing their hands frequently and properly.

(Videos) Proper Handwashing

NY Times and the World Health Organization posted the videos below on their Instagram accounts, where they teach you how to wash your hands properly:

Why is soap so important for handwashing?

There’s a whole science as to why soap kills the germs but this can be explained in a very simple fun interactive way at home.

Stay at home activities will be more important than ever as schools close across the world. We don’t want to scare our children but it’s important to explain what is happening right now and how handwashing really makes a difference. 

When we move soap around our hands, creating foam, it lifts up invisible-to-the-eye microscopic oil that holds germs to our hands.

When we then wash off the soap with water it takes a lot of the germs away. 

A virus is a type of germ which is why it is so important that we are all washing our hands frequently.

20 seconds is the recommended time to wash your hands for and this is because the soap needs enough time to foam up and then lift up all those germs.

Songs to help you with handwashing:

Some have suggested singing happy birthday twice but here is a playlist on Spotify with different songs that have a chorus of 20 seconds, in case you are tired of singing happy birthday! Not all these songs are appropriate for preschoolers, but these are more for teachers and parents to sing to themselves as you will need to be doing a lot of handwashing too.

(Video) Explaining to Kids How Germs Spread

Use the video below to learn about how germs spread with your children.

Easy things that you can do with your children when self-isolating at home:

Hello, Wonderful put together a fantastic list of 50+ ideas that you can do with your kids when you can’t go outside. It is worth checking it out!

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