Fall is now here and while it’s time for pumpkin spice and everything nice, it’s also the beginning of cold season. In any contained area with children, illness can spread rapidly. With the runny noses, stomach bugs, sore throats, and fevers, cold season can go on for what feels like eternity. Before the illnesses begin, take precautions in your class by teaching and reminding students about effective handwashing methods.
It’s no secret that a major way to avoid getting sick is by washing your hands. Proper handwashing is using soap, water, and 20 seconds of good scrubbing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest humming a song such as Happy Birthday as a simple timer for handwashing. Teaching students the proper way to wash hands with soap, and enforcing frequent handwashing may stop the spread of germs in your class.
Understanding the importance of using soap during handwashing can be expressed in this activity. Using Palmolive dish soap, black pepper, water, and a bowl, this experiment can be recreated just about anywhere. By sprinkling black pepper throughout the bowl of water, and placing a drop of dish soap in, you’ll be able to see the true power that soap has. This experiment can also be done by having children dip a finger into the dish soap and inserting it into the pepper covered water bowl. The pepper acts as the germs on our skin. The soap is soap and kills the germs in the water.
Using glitter water, students will learn the importance of effective hand scrubbing. Let students play around with a bowl of glitter water. The glitter acts as the germs in this situation, and becomes stuck to the students’ hands. Next, have the students wash their hands with only water. Do the germs come off with only water? If they don’t, have the students then wash their hands with soap and try to scrub off all the germs with soap. As the CDC suggests, humming a song such as ‘Happy Birthday’ is a good way to time yourself washing your hands.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that everyone over the age of 6 months receives a yearly flu shot before the end of October. Following this suggestion will prevent the spread of the flu. Enforcing frequent handwashing in your class can prevent the spread of disease.