Try this experiment in your preschool – it proves how important hand washing is!

Try this experiment in your preschool it proves how important hand washing is

You’ll need hand washing facilities, resealable bags and some bread…

There’s no better way to put together an effective lesson for younger children than to show them something a little bit gross, while at the same time teaching what is perhaps the most important skill they can learn – effective hand washing.

There’s a lovely experiment that can be carried out easily in any preschool or nursery. And all you’ll need is some sliced bread and some resealable bags, as demonstrated in an excellent article on the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital website.

The aim of the experiment is to demonstrate first and foremost how to teach children to wash their hands properly – and to show a splendidly gross example of what happens if you don’t.

It’s very easy for children to see when they’ve got dirty hands, especially after outdoor play or painting activities.

But this experiment will show very effectively that it’s the germs that you can’t see are the ones you need to be aware of…

What you will need for the experiment

The article suggests getting three slices of bread with the fewest number of preservatives, as this type will work best.

And three resealable, clear plastic bags. Label the bags “Control”, “Dirty” and “Clean” – and you’re good to go!

Control. Put one slice into the “Control” bag – without touching it with hands. Tongs are suggested.

Dirty. This is the fun one! Get one or more kid/s to touch the slice with unwashed hands, then put it in the “Dirty” bag.

Clean. This is the really important one! Have a child wash their hands thoroughly (see the video below) for at least 20 seconds and then dry them with a paper towel. They can then pick up the remaining slice, hold it in their hand and put it in the “Clean” bag.

Makes sure that all three bags are properly sealed and put them in a cool, dry place says the article. Take the bags out once a day, without opening them, and make a note of what begins to happen to the bread. Perhaps take daily pictures so that you can see what begins to happen over time.

It should make the point very well…

Younger children washing hands with a KiddiSynk at a preschool
Younger children washing hands with a KiddiSynk at a preschool

Learning about hand washing

This is a wonderful opportunity to teach appropriate hand hygiene techniques – and why they’re so important.

The article quotes Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Mott Children’s Hospital, Terri Lynn Stillwell MD, who details how, when and why hand washing should take place – and be done well.

“The scrubbing part of washing your hands is important. It’s the combination of the friction of rubbing your hands together along with the soap that really gets them clean. Take your time and sing or hum the Happy Birthday song twice.”

How Clean Are Your Hands? »

Hand wash units for younger children – place them wherever they’re needed!

Teal produces portable hand washing sinks that are idea for preschool and nursery children including the KiddiSynk and KiddiWash, which can be used equally effectively indoor or out.

The Teal range of mobile sinks includes the MediWashHygienius and Hygienius ProWashBigSynkSuper StalletteTEALwashHandeman XtraCompact ClassicHandSpa, CliniWash – and now the new WashStand Xtra.

How to choose the correct mobile sink »