One of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the last year is how important it is to wash your hands. But, as we all know, kids will never do it if they don’t know why. They need to know what germs are—microscopic bacteria and viruses that can make you sick—as well as how easily germs spread. But germ education doesn’t have to be a lecture or a health textbook. Instead, try these fun ways to teach kids about germs:
This is a great lesson to show kids how germs are spread. Since we can’t do the demonstration itself right now (no handshaking, thank you very much), this video is a great option. In the clip, each student gets a different color of glitter to coat their hands with and then shake hands. They’ll see the glitter transfer … and that it doesn’t come off without soap!
Here’s a fun DIY activity to teach kids about germs. In this one, you’ll use “germ powder” (flour or cornstarch) on blocks and have kids pick them up. Ask them to clap to show how germs travel from surfaces to hands to the air!
3. Read Aloud
There are tons of engaging picture books that can teach kids about germs while simultaneously making them giggle. Our picks are Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost and Sick Simon by Dan Krall.
Here’s a homework idea: Send kids home with a sponge with a dusting of flour or cornstarch (again representing germs) and have family members sit in a circle. Invite them to pass the sponge along as fast as possible for 30-60 seconds to see how easy it is to pass germs without even knowing it!
5. The Pompom Sneeze
For a demonstration of what happens when you don’t cough or sneeze into your elbow, place a handful of pompoms in your hand and pretend to cough or sneeze. You’ll send the pompoms flying in front of you!
Similar to Glitter Germs, this activity also involves shaking hands. So this could be a fun one for kids to do at home with family and friends in their bubble. They’ll use different colored finger paint instead of glitter. Then they can use the paint to make “germ portraits.”
These adorable coloring pages are both fun and educational, with a cartoonish version for grades K-2 and a more scientific one for grades 3-5. For the younger set, try this cut and paste germ education activity.