I came across an activity that a nurse demonstrated at Wee Disciples in the past that helped students understand germs and the importance of washing hands. I believe that in our current situation, this little experiment would be beneficial and interesting for our children.
1. You need a bowl, water, pepper, dish soap, Germ Experiment sheet (Click here), pencil.
2. Fill the bowl with water. Sprinkle pepper on the water while explaining to your child about how tiny dirt/germs/bacteria/viruses are and how they get on surfaces all around us…via touch, sneezes, coughs, wind, etc. Explain how the pepper in the water looks like germs on surfaces around us, but pepper is a lot bigger in size than a germ. Germs/bacteria/viruses are so small we can not see them with our eyes we need a microscope to see them.
3. Have your child draw a picture of what the water with “germs” looks like right now. Use the Germ Experiment sheet.
4. Dip your child’s finger in the dish soap and then encourage them to touch the water with the soapy finger and observe what happens to the pepper.
5. Talk about what happened to the pepper when your soapy finger touches the water. The pepper “germs” go away from the soap.
6. Have your child draw a picture of what the pepper water looks like after you touch it with a soapy finger using the Germ Experiment Sheet.
7. Explain that Germs/bacteria/Viruses do not like soap or hand sanitizer. Just like the pepper moves away from the soap…when we wash our hands we get rid of the germs/bacteria/Viruses on our hands.
8. Also talk to your child about correct hand washing technique…use soap and water…rubbing every part of the hands(between fingers, top and bottom, under nails)…for 20 seconds or longer to rid your hands of the germs. Encourage your child to wash their hands scrubbing/rubbing soap while counting to 20 or singing the ABC song. This is how long you should take to wash your hands.
9. Further the experiment: Try the experiment again using a different object other than your finger like a soapy tooth pick, soapy fork, etc. Does it work the same way? Leave the pepper water in the bowl…does it change in appearance after a period of time? Does the pepper stay in a ring?
Have fun with Science!