Here are 10 ways to teach kids about germs and viruses, how they spread, and how to minimize the transfer of germs.
Let’s face it, kids are germ magnets. It seems as though they often find themselves in the most germ-filled situations and are more than happy to transport those germs around. Schools, playgrounds, and other areas where children reside can often be a hot spot for germs, and if they aren’t careful they can quickly become sick and pass the illness on to others. Teaching kids about germs is important as it will help them lead a healthier life and keep those around them healthy as well.
10 Ways to Teach Kids About Germs
Teaching kids about germs doesn’t have to be difficult. Just take a look below at 10 ways to teach kids about germs so they can stay healthy and safe.
1. Make your own germ model.
Kids don’t always realize what germs look like. Make your own germ model using playdough and q-tips to create a model of a virus. Simply roll the dough into a ball and poke the q-tips into it. This is what a germ looks like magnified. Notice how the tips make it easy to attach to other things.
2. Look at photos of germs magnified.
You can’t see germs on your hands, but they are there. Look at examples of viruses magnified online. When kids see that these germs do in fact look like little monsters, they will be more than happy to scrub those germs away via great hand washing.
3. Use flour to show how viruses can hide.
Sprinkle flour on your child’s hands. Notice how it gets in the cracks of the skin and in between fingers. Germs can do the same thing, which is why proper handwashing is always important. Once you show them how the flour can hide, move on to step 4.
4. Demonstrate proper handwashing.
Show children how to properly wash hands by using the right amount of soap and water. They should have a song or rhyme they repeat when singing which is at least 20 seconds long. This is long enough to scrub away any germs present.
5. Show how a sneeze and cough travels.
Put some colored water in a spray bottle. Just use some water and food coloring. Spray the bottle onto a piece of white paper to show how the sneeze or cough spreads. Notice how far the colored droplets can go, then move onto tip #6 to talk about proper sneeze control.
6. Show the Vampire technique.
When your child has to sneeze or cough, they can shield germs using their arm which is better than the hand. Have them cross their arm over their mouth and nose so their face is in the inside of their elbow. It sort of looks like a vampire covering his face with a cape. Brilliant!
7. Demonstrate how to use sanitizer.
Kids oftentimes want to pour huge amounts of sanitizer all over themselves. Show them the appropriate amount to use, which is about the size of a dime. Have them practice using sanitizer especially during cold and flu season. You can even make your own hand sanitizer with this DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe.
8. Grow your own mold.
Show how dirty hands are by growing your own mold. After an hour of play, have children press a piece of bread in their hands. Place the bread in a bag and store it in a dark place. In a few days, the germs will grow into mold. It is a wonderful visual reminder for kids that just because they can’t see the germs they are still there.
9. Make a list of germ zones.
Some places and things are more germ-filled than others. Go over these spaces with your kids. Bathrooms, playgrounds, door handles, telephones, and light switches are a few good places to name. Once kids can identify these places, they can take precautions.
10. Use lipstick to show how germs travel.
Put lipstick on your child. Have them kiss their hand or put their mouth on a piece of paper. This shows how germs transfer from mouth to surface and why it is important to keep things away from their mouths.
Teaching kids about germs is a great way to keep them healthy. Give these tips a try when teaching kids about germs and see how helpful they can be.