Cold & flu season is right around the corner. While it’s never fun to be stuck with the sniffles, it’s even worse when our little ones are under the weather. Though the extra cuddles are always welcomed, when our kids are sick, we have to miss work and it can be a very scary time for parents, especially if you have a new baby at home. Luckily, there are some fun ways to help keep the germs away that you can practice with your children.
With so many new things to explore, kids put their little hands on everything within their reach! The last thing they are thinking about are invisible germs. Sometimes, it takes being able to actually see something to make it real. This Glitter Germs Activity helps kids understand that everything they touch has germs on it. All you need for this activity is glitter, lotion, a bowl, and small toys to spread the mixture on. Mix the glitter & lotion together in your bowl, smear it on the toys, and then have your child touch the toy. They will notice their hands are now covered with glitter! Explain to them that every time they touch something, their hands are covered with invisible germs, just like the glitter! Now, tell your child to wash their hands and really scrub all of the glitter off. This will teach them the importance of thoroughly washing their hands with soap and water for at least a full 20 seconds.
To show your child the difference washing your hands properly can make, try this Growing Germs on Apples activity. All you need to do is slice two apples in half and save one untouched apple as the control, have your child touch one apple half with dirty hands, have your child wash their hands quickly and touch one apple half, and finally, have your child quickly wash their hands for a full 20 seconds. Put the apple halves in small jars and see which apple stays fresh the longest!
Another fun visualization activity that helps stress the importance of using soap is this Germ Simulation Activity. All you need for this activity is a bowl, water, ground pepper, and soap! Fill up a bowl with water and add pepper. Show your child how the pepper “germs” group together in the water. Then, have your child dip their finger in soap and stick it in the bowl. Watch as the “germs” quickly disperse and run away from the soap! This will help your child understand how soap helps keep their hands free of germs. By using this Montessori Style Practical Life Skill: Handwashing Sequence, you can show your child each step of thoroughly washing your hands. They will be able to see that your hands were dirty, and, after carefully following each step of the lesson, your hands are now clean!
Now that your child understands the importance of washing their hands and using soap, let’s make it a little more fun for them! This DIY Squishy Soap will turn something as mundane as hand washing into something they actually look forward to. The recipe is easy to make, using only cornstarch, liquid castile soap, sweet almond oil, and liquid watercolors. Your child will love creating the soap, and you will love their new enthusiasm about handwashing!
Being sick is never fun, but there are ways to make staying healthy a little bit more exciting! For even more ideas on how to get your kid to wash their hands, check out these Clever Ways to Teach Your Children About Germs.