Hand Washing Lesson: This lesson was inspired by an idea I saw in The Mailbox Magazine. Grab a loaf of bread, a paint brush, and a container of cocoa powder. Discuss with your students why it's important to wash your hands- especially before eating!
Dust the kiddos hands with a small amount of the cocoa powder to represent dirty hands. Give each child a slice of bread and have them knead it for a minute or so. This should prompt lots of discussion! What happened to the bread? What if the cocoa were real dirt and germs? What would happen to the dirt and germs if we ate the bread? Next, have the students wash their hands. This is a great intro. to teaching your procedures for washing hands.
Here are mine:
- Use the student sink. (This dramatically reduces the germs you and other adults are exposed to!)
- Do a quick cleanup check to see if you can help keep the bathroom sparkling!
- Turn on the water and put 1 squirt of soap in your hand. (I wrap a rubber band around the pump so it's actually 1/2 a pump of soap for those tiny hands!)
- Sing the hand washing song in a bathroom voice (this changes seasonally- I post the laminated song poster in the bathroom. This keeps the print on the wall from blending into the background, helps promote print awareness, gives a little focus in the bathroom, and builds excitement about reading). Singing a short song also helps to ensure your kiddos are washing for at least 20 seconds. A bathroom voice is a soft, level 1 voice. Otherwise, the kiddos will really put those fantastic bathroom acoustics to work! :D
- Leave the water on and get a paper towel. (I know, this wastes water, but according to NAVFAC (Navy Health thing) we have to teach the kiddos to turn the faucet off with a paper towel).
- Dry your hands and turn the faucet off with the paper towel.
- Throw the paper towel in the trash.
Now, give the students another slice of bread to knead. Compare the two slices of bread. Which is cleaner? Why? What can we learn from this?
**There are lots of different versions of this lesson. Some use glitter, oil and cocoa powder, brown tempera paint, etc. I like this one the best. It gets the point across in the simplest way for me. :)**
This is another idea adapted from one I saw in The Mailbox Magazine.
Use the nose shaped cutout below to tape onto a mist-type spray bottle. Go around the room pretending to sneeze and cough without covering your mouth and spray water from the "nose" onto common surfaces such as doorknobs, the water fountain, table surfaces, toys etc. This looks extremely funny holding the spray bottle to your face like it's your real nose! As you make your way to your seat in the whole group area, your little ones are sure to be cringing and giggling. :) You may want to "sneeze" once you get settled in the whole group area and give the little ones a spray of water, though some schools may not like this, so be sure to check first. :/
Another option is to pretend to sneeze into your hands while holding a handful of pompom germs. As you sneeze, release the pompoms onto the children to illustrate how germs spread through the air when you sneeze. Be sure to take a moment to gather the pompoms germs or you have lost them for the real message in your lesson! This is my reasoning for not using glitter as the germs as well. Impossible to gather back up and impossible to focus the attention back on you. :D
Next, "sneeze" spray into your hand and offer your little ones a handshake or high 5. Discuss how wet sneeze germs are spread so easily in school and how we can do some things to keep the germs from spreading and making our friends sick. Talk about sneezing into your elbow and washing your hands with soap after sneezing/coughing.
You can close the lesson by singing this song to the tune of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" (I have no idea where I got this song. If you know, please leave me a comment so I can give proper credit!)