Ozark River Manufacturing Co.

How To Teach Kids About Hand Washing

Child showing glitter and paint on hands representative of germs and hand washing necessity.

Getting kids to wash their hands can be—well—difficult. Although stopping the spread of germs is a serious matter, teaching kids about hand washing doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 ways to help teach and stress the importance of hand washing—with a bit of fun thrown in!

Practice Makes Perfect

For the reason hand washing rates aren’t 100% in adults, the same exists for kids. We can’t see the germs so it’s hard to view them as dangerous. To change that, we’ve found some creative ways people are already demonstrating the presence of germs to children!

    1. Take a rubber glove and draw different shapes all over it with washable marker. These markings represent the germs! Then put the glove into a sink or bowl of water. Next, have the kids try to wash the marker off with soap and water—demonstrating how hand washing sends those germs right down the drain. Source: Wash Your Hands! - How Wee Learn

    2. Another great way to show germs is to sprinkle non-toxic glitter right on those little hands and have them wash it off. Seeing how much scrubbing it takes will drive home the fact that germs are there and need some hand washing help. Source: Printable Parents

Put a Twist on Routine

Children of all ages like routine. Regardless of their efforts to fight against teeth brushing, vegetable eating, and quiet time in school, kids thrive within regular schedules. It increases their sense of security within their surroundings and amongst the people they interact with. So how do we make routines appealing? We mix up the same action with some engaging additions!

    3. Make a hand washing clock or calendar with stickers they can put on themselves every time they wash up. Visually seeing their progress will reinforce contingency-based thinking and independence!

    4. Pick a different song every day to play while washing their hands. You can make a playlist beforehand and have them pick the song name out of a hat. This puts some of the control in their hands (literally) and presents hand washing as a choice, not a chore.

    5. Create your own hand washing dance. Each time they wash up, have them add a new dance move of their choosing. Or if you’re promoting hand washing to an entire class, make a new dance every day with one move from each student. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire choreographed soap salsa!

With children, it’s all about the perspective—as you well know. If they see hand washing as an obligation, they’re less likely to do it. If you morph it into an exciting task where they get something out of it—stickers, independence, or a few new dance moves—they’ll eventually associate hand washing with happiness. 

Bonus Tip

Integrating a child-height portable sink in schools and daycare facilities has been shown to increase hand washing rates in children! Providing a portable sink that meets kids where they are allows them to demonstrate independence and their own capabilities. Every one of Ozark River Manufacturing’s child-height portable sinks is ADA-Compliant, allowing for complete autonomy when those little ones are washing up. Combine a portable sink with some of the fun activities above and you’ll have a whole classroom of clean hands before you know it.

So on that note, happy hand washing everyone!

Thank You