Germ Science

Using a funnel, dump some confetti to an un-blown balloon before demonstrating this to the kids. Talk to the children about germs and how important it is to cover your mouth when you sneeze. As a group, have everyone pretend that they are going to sneeze (Ah, ah, ah, CHOO!), making sure that everyone covers their mouth as they sneeze. Now explain that you are going to show them what happens when you don’t cover your mouth when you sneeze. Blow up the balloon, as the children say “Ah, ah, ah”; when you get to the “Choo” part, let go of the balloon. It will deflate, flying through the air with the confetti spilling every where. Explain to the children that the confetti represents germs, and that when we don’t cover our mouths when we sneeze, our germs are flying everywhere.

To practice hand washing I place a dab of vegetable oil on children’s hands. They rub this all over their hands. I then sprinkle cinnamon on their hands calling it germs. Children really have to scrub to get their hands clean.

This is similar to using the glitter to show the spread of germs. With younger children I hesitate to use glitter because it could get in their eyes. I use cooked rice instead. Cook 1 or 2 cups of rice and let cool. Put it into a large zip lock bag. Have the children sit in a circle with you. Put your hand into the rice (it should stick to your hand), then shake hands with the child next to you and have them do the same with the next child and so on. By the time you get around the circle, each child should have some amount of rice on their hand. Then you can talk about washing hands and have the children wash their hands. We also teach our kids to cough into their sleeves instead of their hands to help prevent the spread of germs.

In a bowl of water, sprinkle some black pepper to represent germs. The pepper will float on top of the water. Discuss the importance of hand washing, using soap and water. Add a drop of dishwashing liquid into the center of the bowl, and watch the soap “scare the germs away”!