Songs and games can easily teach children the proper way to wash their hands. A wonderful way to help them remember, activities for preschoolers can enhance curriculum and learning experiences. Encouraging young minds to identify their different moods and feelings can be hard, but doing so with the aid of activities engages their minds in a fun, yet educational atmosphere.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has teamed up with Sesame Street and made Elmo their spokesperson. Preschoolers can stay healthy everyday by singing Elmo's song to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat. Elmo says, "Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. While singing this twice: "Wash, wash, wash my hands, make them nice and clean! Rub the bottoms and the tops, and fingers in between." This is a day to day activity that children can even do at home.
Hand Washing Finger Play
Gathering children for circle time to show them how to properly wash their hands can be fun. Make sure they know to cover the whole hand, and wash good in between fingers. Let the children practice washing their hands with soap in a large bowl of warm water in the middle of your circle. Stress the importance of thorough washing in a Hand Washing Finger Play to get rid of all the germs. Using the following song, make up hand gestures to each verse using the designated amount of fingers. This is also a good number and counting activity.
Five little fingers playing all day
Getting really dirty
Wash the germs away
Four little fingers catching a sneeze
Needing some gel soap
Just a squeeze please!
Three little fingers staying pretty clean
Sneeze into your shoulder
See what I mean!
Five little fingers happy to say
We're clean and healthy
Hip! Hop! Hooray!
Fighting Germs with Super Heroes
Children love Super Heroes and what better way to teach children to fight germs. As a free art activity, give your children crayons, and blank pieces of paper. Ask them to draw a germ fighting super hero. Any hero they'd like to help them fight germs. One way to incite their germ thinking is to read a story about or look at pictures of germs beforehand. After they are done creating their germ fighter, have each child tell you about their hero and why or how they are going to help them remember to wash their hands. Tape their super heroes above your classroom sink, or if you do not have one, send them home with parents to tape up for the children to remind them at home. This activity engages children's imaginations and allows them to associate their own creativity in learning.
Hand Washing Collage
Have the whole class create a chart. Ask children when they should wash their hands. See what types of answers you get. You may be surprised. Begin teaching the basics and then add more information. Keep it simple and don't try to cram in all the facts at once. Creating a germ fighting, hand washing collage is great for preschoolers who can glue stick but not draw well. Don't be afraid to pull out glitter, felt, or any tactile object children can engage and create germs with. Small children also learn best through repetition and reinforcement, so collages or hand washing charts are a fun way to remind children when to wash. They will also be very proud of what they have made, and more willing to follow it.
Brittany McComas has been writing since 2000. She has served as a scriptwriter, freelance writer, editor, dramaturg and producer for theater, television, radio and film. She wrote for a television series that won a Royal Television Society Award. McComas holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from West Virginia University and a Master of Arts in scriptwriting from Bath Spa University.