How to Teach Your Kids About Germs

With cold and flu season right around the corner and with COVID continuing spread, communicating to children about germs and increased handwashing can be difficult. Here are some fun and easy ways that you can teach them about how easily germs can spread and how a little soap can help stop germs in their tracks. These are also great reminders for Grown-Ups!

 handwashing

Experiment #1: Glitter Germs

This experiment is great to show younger kids that washing your hands with only water does not kill germs. Soap is the key to removing all germs!

Bowl of water

Glitter

Soap

Step One: Fill a bowl with water and add glitter to the surface.

Step Two: have your kids place their hands in the bowl covering their hands with the glitter. Tell them to imagine the glitter on their hands as germs.

Step Three: Have them wash their hands with only water to see how much of the glitter washes off.

Step Four: Now have them wash their hands using soap. Make sure they wash for 20 seconds and see the difference!

Experiment #2: Black Pepper Activity

This is a great experiment for showing kids how soap removes germs.

Bowl of water

Black pepper

Dish soap

Step One: Fill a bowl ¾ of the way with water.

Step Two: Sprinkle the black pepper onto the surface of the water. Tell them to imagine the black pepper as germs.

Step Three: Drop a few drops of dish soap into the center of the bowl and watch the pepper quickly move to the sides of the bowl.

Experiment Three:  Where the Germs Are

This experiment is great with older children to show them where germs are located.

Potato slices with the peel still on

Plastic bags

Marker

Dark space

Step One: Cut a potato into slices that include the peel.

Step Two: Have your child rub each slice (using the peel side) in different surfaces such as doorknobs, sink handles, cell phones etc. Make sure they do not touch the peel side of the potato after they have used it.

Step Three: Place each potato slice in a plastic bag and label it with its surface location.

Step Four: Place all the plastic bags in a dark room in the house (closet or drawer under the sink) for seven days. After the week is done, they can observe each slice and see what areas contain the most germs. For an added step, clean each area with soap and water and have them repeat the experiment and compare results.



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Emily Krauter

Administrative & Social Media Assistant

References:

Ipatenco, Sara. "Easy Kids' Science Fair Experiments About Germs" sciencing.comhttps://sciencing.com/easy-science-fair-experiments-germs-7973072.html. 5 October 2020.

“How to Teach Kids About Germs: 11 Super Fun Activities We Love!” Meraki Lane, 14 Sept. 2018, www.merakilane.com/how-to-teach-kids-about-germs-11-super-fun-activities-we-love/.

CDC information on Covid-19

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