6 DIY At-Home Activities to Teach Kids About Germs

So they’ll actually want to wash their hands.

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Now more than ever, it’s critical for kids to know how to wash their hands. But they’ll 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 at home (under parental supervision, of course!):

1. Glitter Germs

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This is a great experiment that families who are quarantining together can do to show kids how germs are spread. Give each family member a different color of glitter to coat their hands with and then have them shake hands. Kids will see the glitter transfer … and that it doesn’t come off without soap!

2. Germ Detectives

Here’s another 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.

4. Hot Potato Germ Exchange

Give a sponge 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!

6. Shake Those Germs

Similar to Glitter Germs, this activity involves shaking hands, but family members who are isolating together use different colored finger paint instead of glitter. Kids can then use the paint to make “germ portraits.”

Looking for more resources to teach kids about germs? Check out Lysol’s HERE for Healthy Schools.

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Posted by Kimmie Fink

Kimmie is an editor at WeAreTeachers. She has 13 years of classroom teaching experience and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

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