Glitter Germs – A Lesson in Handwashing

It’s that dreaded time of the year. The time of the year where I want to quarantine my children, and I carefully disinfect my germ-infested shopping cart.

What time of the year you ask? Flu season.

1With flu season quickly approaching, I have really cracked down on hand washing around here. My children seem to have two hand-washing extremes. They either like to make a massive bubble mess all over the kitchen, bathroom, or public restroom, or they like to wash their hands as quickly as humanly possible. Most of the time it’s the latter.

According to the Center for Disease Control, hand-washing is an important and powerful way to prevent sickness and disease. In order to most effectively wash your hands, they suggest that you first wet your hands, lather them with soap, scrub between fingers and under nails for 20 seconds, rinse, and then dry.

I have had many discussions about germs and germ prevention with my children, but they have had a hard time comprehending the concept of these microscopic creatures. Then one day, I was talking to a couple of sweet ladies who teach a health class at our homeschool co-op and they shared the idea of glitter germs with me. I thought the idea was too great not to pass along.

First, we wet our hands down and dipped them into a bowl of glitter. The glitter represents the germs.

glitter germs 1

Next, I showed them when we have germs on our hands the germs are transferred onto everything we touch. When another person comes by and touches the contaminated objects they unintentionally pick up germs as well.



Finally, I re-dipped their hands into the glitter and headed over to the kitchen sink where they practiced washing their hands following the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. The glitter “germs” helped them to picture the real life germs being washed off of their hands.


This is a great way for kids to visualize germs and how essential good hand-washing is. After doing this activity my kids are all about washing their hands. Every time my son washes his hands now he informs me excitedly, “I got all my germs off, Mama!” I’d say this little lesson did the trick for us!

Teaching my kids to better wash their hands is one way we are preparing for flu season. What tips or tricks do you have as you prepare for flu season? We would love to hear them!

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