So here we are in the middle of cold and flu season and people are still deciding whether to get the seasonal flu vaccination, where to find the H1N1 shots, and how to survive these upcoming weeks and months without getting sick. Despite the lingering questions, there are things that we know that we can do right now in our classrooms to reduce the spread of germs. Below you will find some of my favorite books for preschoolers that I hope will inspire a healthier classroom environment for you.
Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger
- Listen to the book at PBS Kids/Reading Rainbow.
- Turn your dramatic play area into a Doctor's office! Be sure to have several dolls and stuffed animals to act as patients. Items to include: gauze, toy doctor kit, band aids, note pads for prescriptions, calendar for appointments, telephone, etc...
Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick
- Make Germ Stopper Badges for the children and award them when children are seen doing things to prevent the spread of germs (washing hands, sneezing into elbow, etc).
- How do germs spread? Cover one child's hand with flour (some teachers use glitter, lotion, or paint) to represent germs. Then let that child shake the next child's hand, and then let that child shake another child's hand, and so on...This helps give children a visual idea of how germs spread, even though we can't see them.
Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting but...Invisible Germs by Judith Anne Rice
- Make "Sneezing Faces" by having the children decorate a paper plate to look like themselves. Trace the child's hand on skin-toned construction paper; then cut it out. Glue a tissue on the nose area and then glue the hand on the tissue. Here is an example.
- Hand Wash Scramble: Take any hand washing poster such as this one cut out the steps and laminate them individually. Have children practice putting the steps in order.
Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross
- Make up a hand washing song for your class.
- Have the class illustrate their own hand washing posters to post at each sink. The posters should illustrate each of the four steps in the process.
Resources for Teachers
- Sid the Science Kid Gets a Flu Shot and Elmo's Flu PSAs
- The Teacher Resource Manual to Promote Hand Hygiene
- Henry the Hand
- Should Teachers Be Required to Get Flu Vaccinations?
- CDC Guidance on Helping Child Care and Early Childhood Programs Respond to Influenza during the 2009-2010 Influenza Season
- Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Child Care and Early Childhood Programs
- Clean Up the Classroom with Clorox
- Join the PBS Teacher Discussion: How are you helping kids understand what they are hearing about the 2009 H1N1 flu?
- Scrub Club
Share your ideas:
- Do you have a favorite hand-washing song?
- How do you remind your preschoolers to wash their hands?
- What kind of information do you share with the parents of your students?
- Do you have other books or activities that you use to teach children health-related information?