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We went back to school last week and WHEW! What a wild ride it has been! For those who may not know, I work full-time as a Preschool Director, so planning to open our school during a pandemic was an adventure, to say the least!
As we prepared for our reopening, one of my priorities was equipping my amazing team of preschool teachers with engaging, hands-on lessons to teach their students about germs and what we can do to stay safe.
I am going to share with you a few of the fun activities we are going to be using to build awareness about health and safety during the age of COVID-19!
First, it is important to teach kids the WHY behind practicing good personal hygiene. This will help them understand the importance of how it protects not just them, but others! When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of others, too.
Let’s start with a kid-friendly definition of germs:
Germs are teeny tiny living organisms that can get inside our bodies and make us sick if we don’t practice good hygiene. Germs can spread from our saliva when we sneeze or cough without covering our noses or mouths, or if we don’t wash our hands after sneezing and coughing into them.
6 Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Germs
If you know me, you know this is my favorite method for teaching about germs. Place some glitter in a bowl of water. Let your kids put their hands in the water and play with the glitter. The glitter will stick to your child’s hands. When they are done playing, tell them that the glitter is like germs. Have them try to wash it off with just water. When it doesn’t work, tell them to use soap and to wash for at least 20 seconds. As the glitter germs wash away with the soap and the right amount of time, it will demonstrate the power of hand washing!
Black Pepper Germs
Fill a large bowl about 3/4 full of water. Sprinkle enough black pepper on the surface so that it is visible. Tell your kids that the black pepper is like germs. What can we do to make germs go away? SOAP! Squirt a couple of drops of dish soap into the water and watch the germs run away from the soap and cling to the outer edge of the bowl. Check out a video of this experiment by clicking HERE.
Clean Hands Sensory Bag
Take a gallon-size, freezer grade Ziploc bag and trace your child’s hands with black Sharpie marker on the outside of the bag. Fill the bag with clear hair gel and a handful of pompoms (these are the germs). Seal. Move all of the pom-poms so that they are inside the traced hand lines. Discuss with your kids that the hands are covered in germs and you need to wash them away! Then have your kiddos use a SOFT-bristled scrub brush to push the germs off of the hands! See this activity in a video by clicking HERE.
Sing a Song
My favorite way to teach kids an important concept is to put it to a song! We are using THIS SONG this year to teach our preschoolers about hand washing. A bonus is that when they sing the song while they are washing their hands, they will wash for the appropriate amount of time! HERE and HERE are other great hand washing song options.
Use a Visual
I made sure to print out visual, step-by-step hand washing instructions for our preschoolers that I found HERE. I also like THIS ONE – and it is FREE! We hung them by all of the sinks in our preschool. This guides the teachers as they show their students the proper way to wash their hands. Another great visual that we are using this year is THIS SUPER FUN LIGHT we got on Amazon that blinks green while the kids are washing their hands and then turns RED when it’s time to stop. The preschoolers are OBSESSED with this little tool!
Read a Book
We love making children’s literature a starting point for teaching a new concept. Here is a short list of books that you could use to help your kids learn about germs.
Last week, one of our students did NOT want to wash his hands. The teacher knew it was best for him and his classmates to do so and she didn’t want to get into a power struggle, so she brought him to me for a quick one-on-one lesson. After I used one of the activities above, it was like a light switch was turned on! He was ready to go back to class and wash away all of the germs so that he could protect himself AND others.
To put this under the umbrella of God’s best for us, we can tie it all back to God’s greatest commandments – to love Him and to love others. This even applies to washing our hands! As we practice good hygiene, we are sharing God’s love.
And that is way better than sharing germs.