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Games to Teach Kids About Personal Hygiene

| By Kay Ireland
Games to Teach Kids About Personal Hygiene
Teach kids the correct way to wash their hands to keep sniffles to a minimum. Photo Credit washing hands image by Julia Britvich from Fotolia.com

Overview

Kids can sometimes be careless when it comes to personal hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note the importance of good hygiene, especially during cold and flu season, when sickness can be passed around because of unwashed hands and uncovered coughs. Therefore, good hygiene should be taught at school and at home. Make personal hygiene interesting by playing games that will help hit home the importance of hygiene. Whether in the classroom or at home, kids can learn about hygiene's importance and find the right ways to stay neat, clean and healthy.

Glitter Hands

Some children only rinse their hands quickly under water, if they wash at all. But hands should be scrubbed with an antibacterial soap for at least 15 to 20 seconds, as recommended by the CDC. Sprinkle glitter on your child's hands and challenge him off to wash the glitter with soap and water. Because glitter is naturally sticky, it will take up to 30 seconds to scrub the glitter away. Then indicate that your child should scrub off germs like he did the glitter each time that he washes. Dr. Lynn C. Smitherman, assistant professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University, notes that washing hands can greatly reduce the spread of germs.

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Germ Transfer

Teach children about the spread of germs by showing how germs can live on hands and the things they touch. Pretend to sneeze, and when you do, cover your hands in a washable paint. Then go about your business, touching things around the room. The kids will see the transfer of germs. After the exercise, have the kids find and tally all the surfaces where germs now live from your transferring them around the room.

Matching Game

You can play a matching game that teaches kids the various tools for personal hygiene and which body part to use them on by creating a matching game. On one set of cards, draw pictures of soap, a toothbrush, fingernail clippers or mouthwash. Then create another set of cards that shoes hands, teeth, nails and mouth. Flip all of the cards over and have the children try to match the tool to the body part.

Good Habit, Bad Habit

Hit home the importance of good hygiene habits when you play this sorting game with children, instructs Pennsylvania State University. On pieces of paper, write 10 good hygiene habits, such as flossing each night, washing for 20 seconds or covering your mouth when you couch. On 10 more pieces of paper, write down the bad habits. Fold all of the pieces of paper and place them in a hat. The children can draw out one at a time and decide whether it's a good hygiene habit or a bad hygiene habit.

Hygiene Charades

Help kids get the motions right by playing hygiene charades. One child picks an action for hygiene, such as brushing teeth, coughing into a sleeve or taking a shower. Then the child acts out the hygiene habit without using any words. The other children guess what action is being portrayed and then you talk about the proper way to do each hygiene habit.

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author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
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