Children are notorious for their hygiene habits! They touch every nook and corner and then, put the same fingers in their mouths! Disgusting, right? :) If that was not enough to freak parents out, they go ahead and lick windows. Seems perfect recipe for falling ill.
Even if you are a parent with a high tolerance for dirty kids — or if you’ve been bold enough to build them a home science lab of their own — it is imperative to teach children about hygiene and how they can keep themselves healthy. Hygiene habits can go a long way in bolstering your child’s health and immunity.
That said, it isn’t easy to inculcate hygiene habits in kids for they are not high on following directions. But, what they are exceptional at is ‘learning by doing’. Teach them to keep clean in a fun way through these Hygiene STEM activities for kids and help them understand the science behind cleanliness.
Hygiene STEM Activities for Kids
1. Make your own Germs
The foremost rule to getting children listen is to involve them. So if you are planning to teach your children about germs and viruses, making a model should be the first step.
Technically speaking, Germs and Viruses are single celled organisms but the latter are parasites. Don’t overload your little one with too many technical details and keep the activity fun and crisp.
Step1: Roll clay or regular dough into a ball.
Step 2: Take toothpicks or cotton swabs and cut them into halves.
Step 3: Stick the halves into the dough, so they are partially inside the dough and remaining half sticking out.
That’s it! Your germ/virus model is ready.
2. Go on a Germ Hunt
Germs are microscopic, meaning you can’t see them with naked eyes. To help children understand that even their clean hands have germs on them, try this Hygiene STEM Activity:
Step1: Ask your children to look at their hands and tell you if they are clean. Most children will say ‘Yes’. Now, invite them to touch various surfaces around the house, like their cupboard, shelves, toys etc.
Step 2: Ask your children again, if they think their hands are clean. Reinforce the concept that germs are microscopic organisms that cannot be seen by naked eye and ask them the same question again. Most children will agree that their hands still look clean.
Step3: Now, take a baby wipe and gently wipe their hands. You will notice the wipe will turn brown. Show this to your children and tell them that those are the germs that were sticking to their hands.
3. Wash “The” Hands
Now that your children understand what germs and viruses are, why not teach them how to wash hands properly? Doctors recommend that you must wash your hands with soap, scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds before washing off the soap.
But children are often in a hurry and ignore the 20second rule. Try this simple activity to help them understand the significance of this 20 seconds Golden Rule.
Step 1: Take a plastic glove, blew it like a balloon and tie its mouth.
Step 2: On the glove, randomly draw some germs with whiteboard markers.
Step 3: Ask your child if she/he could wash the germs off the glove without following the 20 second rule. Are the germs still there?
Step 4: Try again to wash the glove, only scrubbing it nicely with soap and counting till 20 this time. Boom! The germs are gone.
4. Make a Handwash Poster
Once your child knows how to wash the hands properly, hand her this simple cut & paste worksheet to sequence the process.
It is a great idea to help children make their very own hand-wash poster. This helps them recapitulate what they have learned and remember it better. They can even stick it on the kitchen or bathroom wall just above the sink or wash basin.
5. Make Germs Posters or Stickers
Children love coloring and arts. So why not let them colour some germs as they learn all about germs. Print these germ posters and let your child colour them using oil pastels. Every time your children touch the posters, some of the oil colour will rub on their hands. Thus, showing how germs spread.
6. Travelling Germs Activity
Another Hygiene STEM activity for kids to help them understand how the germs travel from one person to another.
Try this simple Hygiene STEM Activities for kids to help them understand the science behind spreading of germs.
Step1: Take plateful of regular wheat flour and ask your child to press their hands in it. The flour here represents germs.
Step 2: Now that your children have flour on their hands, ask them to shake hands with you.
Step 3: Invite your child to play with their blocks/ soft toys for 5 minutes.
Step 4: After the paly, sit down with your child and help them find traces of flour on your hands (from handshake), their toys and all the places they touched.
This is how germs spread. Help your child understand that whenever they sneeze/cough or touch something that is not clean, they carry germs. These germs, just like the wheat flour, are carried with them and passed on to all the other things they then touch.
7. Cough and Sneeze Activity
Another Hygiene STEM activity for kids, this one will help them understand why it is important to cover mouth/nose while coughing or sneezing.
Step 1: Take water spray bottle and fill it with colored water.
Step 2: Pretend to sneeze/cough while spraying the colored water every time you do that.
Step 3: Observe how far the water travelled. Now, try it with your child. Ask her/him to stand next to you when you pretend to sneeze/cough.
Did the water travel up to your child? That’s exactly how germs from one person spread to another when they sneeze or cough without covering their face.