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Healthy New Year! Washing Those Germs Away

As we continue on into 2021, TNL want to help encourage healthier choices and attitudes in your Early Years classes, to instil good habits early and start the year right!

This is a fun activity to help encourage the healthy habit of hand washing in Early Years. It is best suited for older children in groups of 2-5.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this PSED activity today:

What you will need:

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Edible oil such as sunflower/olive (not baby oil in case of accidental ingestion)
  • Plate
  • Wipe-clean plastic toys (one per child)
  • Liquid soap
  • Towels
  • Access to a sink or washing up bowls (ideally, one per child)

Preparing the activity:

  1. Fill the washing up bowls with warm water.
  2. Pour the oil onto the plate to about 0.5cm deep

Doing the activity:

One by one, help the children to place their hands into the oil on the plate, then rub their hands together so they are coated. Then ask the children to hold their hands over the plate while you sprinkle some cinnamon on and tell them to rub their hands together again.

Ask the children to look at their hands and imagine the specks of cinnamon are germs that are on their hands after going to the toilet or sneezing. There are thousands of tiny germs that you usually can’t see.

If the children don’t wash their hands and then touch their toys, what happens? Get children to pick up their plastic toy and observe how the ‘germs’ transfer to the toys. Ask them to think about what could happen if another child picks up one of the toys and then puts their hands in their mouth – they could get sick!

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Now give each child a squirt of liquid soap and ask them to wash their hands in the water. Help them to make sure they don’t miss spots. They may want to wash the plastic toys as well.

When washed, let the children dry their hands (and toys) on the towels and ask them to look at any differences from before they washed their hands. Are all the germs gone? Emphasise the importance of washing hands after sneezing, coughing and going to the toilet to make sure they don’t spread any germs and keep themselves, and others, safe.

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Physical Development: Health and self-care: “Can usually manage washing and drying hands.”

40-60+ months

Physical Development: Health and self-care: “Shows some understanding that good practices with regard to exercise, eating, sleeping and hygiene can contribute to good health.”