Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Germs Make Me (and You) Sick!

Well, in case you haven't noticed, my weekly blog has been on hiatus because I've been under the bed for the last week, sick, sick, sick! So today is the first day I've been able to focus my eyes and coordinate my thoughts enough to write and it took me 2.2 seconds to decide upon my topic for this week. In fairness, I will give some of the credit to this idea to PBS Teachers. Last night I attended an awesome (and FREE) webinar called, Helping Kids Understand Viruses and Vaccinations with Sid the Science Kid. During the session, some of the participants expressed the everyday challenges we face in the classroom with helping children to learn the important habits that we all know spread germs. Several of us started exchanging ideas that we use in the classroom and I thought this might be a good place to expand that conversation.
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

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?


  1. We love to sing the itsy bitsy spider song when we wash our hands... we pretend our germs are going up the water spout and we rinse off the germs down the spout... but I think my kids love the motion sensor paper towel dispenser I purchased for the bathroom... I run a Family Home Daycare and the kids love to use the towels so they love to wash their hands :) We also have a lotion dispenser from Bath & Body which keeps their little hands from getting chapped from the million hand washings they have during the day. I love your blog... great ideas, thanks for Sharing!!!

  2. Michelle, I am glad you like the blog and ideas. I love love love the idea of the children washing the germs down the spout! Of couse the motion sensor paper towel is an added attraction! I hope others will read your comment and enjoy your ideas too!



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