Saturday, August 29, 2020

Germs vs. Soap

Handwashing is a vital skill for children to learn.  Their hands come into contact with countless germs each day.  This is especially problematic when children put their hands in their mouths or touch their eyes.  Handwashing is the best defense against spreading germs.

Children Washing Hands

When do children need to wash their hands?

  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after touching a cut or scrape 
  • After playing outside and touching the playground equipment
  • After doing arts-n-crafts
  • After playing with animals
  • After blowing or touching their noses
  • After being near someone who is sick
  • After touching garbage
  • After using the toilet

How should children wash their hands?

  • Use warm water and get those hands nice and wet.
  • Put some soap on your hands.  Rub your hands together to make lots of soap bubbles.
  • Make sure to scrub the tops of your hands, your palms, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Rinse your hands with warm water.
  • Shake your hands, then dry them with a towel or air dryer.

Science Demonstration

No matter how many times we tell children what they need to do, we need to find ways to help them visualize what we are asking them.  This science demonstration is a good way to do that.  To complete this demonstration you will need a dishpan, water, dish soap, and black pepper.

Germs vs Soap Demonstration

First, fill the bottom of the dishpan with approximately one inch of water.  Cover the entire surface of the water with black pepper.  The black pepper represents the germs our hands come into contact with.

Germs vs Soap Demonstration

Second, cover one of your fingers with dish soap.  (You could cover several fingers or your whole hand if you really want to.)  Once your finger is covered with soap, stick it into the water.  Notice how the germs move away from your finger.

Germs vs Soap Demonstration

When you swirl your finger through the water, the germs will move away from the soap!

Germs vs Soap Demonstration

What did we learn from this demonstration?  We learned that we need to use soap to keep the germs off of our hands.  We also learned to always use soap when we wash our hands!

(To understand how this demonstration works, watch the video by DaveHax below.)

Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon

Didi Dragon wrote a terrific children's book about germs and why we need to use soap when we wash our hands.  Germs vs. Soap (affiliate link to Amazon) explains what germs are, how they can make us sick, and how to wash our hands properly.  It's a funny story that will make children want to wash their hands and to wash them well.

From Amazon:

Germs vs. Soap shows children (and adults) the secret world of germs and how much germs absolutely, positively do NOT like soap. In fact, these germs will do anything to trick kids into not washing their hands with soap because it's the one thing standing between them and their beloved energy cupcakes. And all they want is to gobble up all the energy cupcakes humans have to offer and then spread to eat some more. But only if soap doesn't get in the way. Otherwise, it's all down the drain for them.

Children need to learn proper hand hygiene, but it does matter how you tell them. Did you jumpstart their imagination? A quirky book like Germs vs. Soap sticks with kids. The story becomes real, right there in the palm of their hands, the moment they step in front of the sink and pump some soap. Germs, beware!

Germs vs Soap by Didi Dragon

What are some other ways to show children why it's important to wash our hands with soap and water?  Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below!


  1. Great lesson to start the year with! Especially this year.

    1. Thank you. I hope this post will help children realize how important it is to wash their hands properly!