Why I couldn't think to review proper hand washing techniques with my children at the beginning of the winter/cold/flu season I just don't know. Not that I haven't taught them...again and again, but it become clear to me when doing this lesson that some of the information hadn't exactly sunk in.
Somehow, to the children, having hand-outs or visuals or an experiment of sorts makes it "official", not just something Mom is telling them about for the umpteenth time. Or maybe it was the phrase millions of microbes that grabbed their attention.
A few catchy resources, and the hand washing instruction session become real. ~grin~
I started with a book: Germs Make Me Sick! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) (Reading Rainbow book):
Then we had fun with Glitter Germs.
I put lotion, glitter, a container to catch excess glitter, and paper towels on the table:
I squirted a big glob of lotion on each of their hands and they spread the lotion all over the front and back of their hands:
Then they held their globby hands over a container and I sprinkled glitter generously all over their hands. The glitter represents germs. The expressions on their faces were hilarious, but I promised not to post a photo of that:
Next, I gave a paper towel to each one and told them to wipe off the glitter:
It was very hard to wipe off all the glitter "germs".
Next, we made a trip to the bathroom where I demonstrated the best techniques for washing hands, and how long it should take: 30 seconds. Some sources suggest 20 seconds is enough, others recommend 30 seconds. I'm going for the 30 seconds, just to be extra sure.
Young children have a difficult time knowing when 30 seconds is up, so I taught them to sing the Doxology twice, not too fast, and that would amount to about 30 seconds:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The idea to sing the Doxology while hand washing isn't mine, but I can't remember where I heard it. I've heard of singing "Happy Birthday" twice, but I like the Doxology so much better.
We finished up the lesson by reading through Wash Your Hands...Stay Healthy!.
I think it would be fun to try a Glo Germ Gel Kit. It's available at Steve Spangler (Glow germ lotion plus mini black light) and Home Training Tools (comes with larger black light and is a little pricier).