With COVID and Flu season upon us it very important that we take the time to wash our hands as recommended. CDC handwashing guidelines can be found here.
This isn’t hard for adults, but our younger children can have a hard time understanding why it is important. This handwashing activity can help explain why and how to wash hands to your little ones.
For this activity you will need:
- Oil (I used vegetable oil.)
- A fine spice or flour (You want something that will show up well on your child’s skin without irritating it, I used ground sage.)
- Paper towels
Pour around a tablespoon of oil in your child’s hands and then sprinkle a generous amount of spice/flour.
Let your child have some fun mixing the two together on their hands, this is a great sensory activity as well. Talk to your child about how it feels, “Is it slippery? Does it have a smell?”
When your child begins to lose interest ask them to wash their hands turning on the water and letting them wash their hands without soap. Ask questions about their experience, “What do you see happening? Interesting. Is that what you expected? What did you expect?”
Ask your child to press their hand to the paper towel and follow up with questions like, “What do you notice? What would happen if you went to play right now? Now what?”
If your little one offers a solution other than soap let them try it. Learning is far more effective when kids see for themselves rather than being told something won’t work. But eventually you will need to use the soap to get all the oil and powder off.
Have your child inspect their hands for cinnamon. Ask questions like, “What about in between your fingers? What about the back of your hands? How can you wash differently to make sure you get all of those places?”
Once you think your child has got the idea, pretend to sneeze on your hand. Then explain how germs stick just like the spice/flour. (They are invisible, but they are there.) Then start to wash your hands with water only and see if your child corrects you. If they don’t, ask them if they think you got the germs off, reminding them of when they just used water earlier and ask them what you need to do to get the germs off. Children love the chance to be the expert.
We hope this activity help you and your child have a safe and healthy winter.