Use Giant Microbes to Teach Hand Washing to Children
Giant Germ Toys Can Inspire Good Hand Hygiene in Kids
Teaching children about the importance of hand washing for preventing colds can be challenging, when you are trying to talk about those nasty, disgusting, but very invisible germs.
Finding ways to make those invisible germs 'visible' can help in teaching children about germs and good hand hygiene.
One of the ways to help children see their germs is with fun books, toys and germ kits. These silly germ toys are one of many cute and entertaining way to make teaching children about good hand washing techniques a lot more fun. I discovered them researching information for my lens on "Teaching Children About Germs" and have a common cold virus toy of my own.
In addition to books and germ-inspired stuffed toys handwashing or glo germ kits help make it easier for children to visualize the germs and better understand the reasons behind keeping their hands clean. Using silly books, toys and germ kit are fun ways to make normally invisible germs 'visible' and help teach children about illness-causing microbes. I include five of the most common disease causing microbes that have been turned into toys (Rhinovirus, Orthomyxovirus, Bordetella pertussis, Shigella dysenteriae and Escherichia coli in case you want to add them as more visual aids.
This lens was inspired by the IMMINENT Challenge for August 5th, to create a lens about something that is teeny tiny! I couldn't think of much that was teeny tinier than a common cold virus or the rhinovirus which is 30 nanometers or 309 meters in size. (To compare a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick)
Common Cold Virus (Rhinovirus) plush toy available on Amazon
Nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to colds alone.
Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick and spreading illnesses.— CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The Human Rhinovirus (Common Cold)
The Molecular surface of the capsid of human rhinovirus 16, one of causes of the common cold by Robin S.
The rhinovirus is one of the smallest viruses with a diameter of 30 nanometers.*
Other viruses like smallpox are 10 times lager at 300 nanometers.
* One nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter or 109
Used Under a Creative Commons License
Understanding the Size of the Nanoscale
Find out more about just how small a nano is at the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative.
- Size of the Nanoscale | Nano
Just how small is “nano?” In the International System of Units, the prefix "nano" means one-billionth, or 10-9; therefore one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.
Educational Handwashing Kit
This fun and entertaining Handwashing kit makes it easy for teachers, parents, daycare providers and program leaders to teach children about the importance of keeping hands clean.
If I was still teaching about germs in kids classroom's this is the kit I would want to be using.
This kit includes germ detection gel and powder, a UV light key chain to visualize the 'germs' and an activity book.
Also includes stickers, a Sniffles Mirror Cling and a Common Cold clip on Key Chain.
Each year, children loose nearly 22 million school days from the common cold virus.
Frequent handwashing decreases the spread of the virus.— CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Using Fun Tools to Teach Children about Hand Washing
Teaching children about hand washing helps them to stay healthier, which ultimately ensures that everyone else in the house will be healthier too.
When my daughters were much younger, I went into their classrooms and attended club meetings with fun books and the Glo Germ Kit. It was a fun way to help the kids 'see' the invisible germs and perhaps understand why they need to be washing their hands.
The Handwashing Kit below is very reminiscent of the Glo Germ Kit using germ detecting gels and a UV light, but they also include products that feature Sniffles their adorable larger than life cold virus germ as a fun way to educate children.
This soap dispenser with the rhinovirus is an adorable way to remember to wash your hands. I knew when I saw one, I'd have to get one for us.
Common Cold Soap Dispenser available on Amazon
The Importance of Hand Washing Video
ScienceFx shows the importance of hand washing using Glo Germ powder on a little stuffed animal.
I could easily see using one of these stuffed germs as the stuffed toy that gets tossed around the classroom as a demonstration in spreading germs.
Wash Your Hands
A Helpful Education Poster on Handwashing available on Amazon.
Wash Your Hands Before...
There are certain times when you need to make sure to wash your hand before doing something. These include:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
Information from CDC's Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
Helpful Resources from the CDC on Stopping Germs
- CDC - Handwashing: A Family Activity - Hygiene - Healthy Water
For kids, washing hands can be a fun and entertaining activity. It is simple enough for even very young children to understand. Handwashing gives children and adults a chance to take an active role in their own health.
- CDC - Infectious Diseases - Adolescent and School Health
Infectious diseases account for millions of school days lost each year for kindergarten through 12th-grade public school students in the United States.
- CDC - Seasonal Influenza (Flu) - Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Flu - Good health habits can help stop germs.
- CDC - Fast Facts - Hygiene - Healthy Water
Information on Water-related Hygiene.
Wash Your Hands After...
There are certain times when you need to make sure to wash your hand after doing something. These include:
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After preparing food
- After caring for someone who is sick
- After treating a cut or wound
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Information from CDC's Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
More Posters on Hand Hygiene
- Teaching Children About the Flu | CDC
PDF File on Teaching Children about the Flu from the CDC with lesson plans and activities for child care and early childhood programs. Includes a printable poster at the end.
- Hand Hygiene - why is it so important
One of the best visuals I've seen for washing hands developed by the Infection Control Department at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne.
Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.— CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Always Wash Your Hands - Video
This cute plush toy, the cough, Bordetella pertussis helps make the point to wash your hands.
Educational Fact Sheet on Hand Washing with Sniffles
Sniffles is a cartoon version of the cold virus that can be used for teaching hand washing.
- SnifflesÂ® Teaches Handwashing
Downloadable educational fact sheet PDF File with information on hygiene.
Vote on the Giant-Sized Germs
What do you think about these Giant Microbes?
Common Cold (Rhinovirus)
Common Cold (Rhinovirus) Toys on Amazon
The Common Cold toy is one of my favorite. My daughters both want one of the key chains to carry with their backpacks for school.
Cute common cold plush toy
A clip on version of the common cold virus.
Learn about the Common Cold or Rhinovirus
The Flu (Orthomyxovirus)
This version of the flu toy comes with it's own petri dish where the virus is hiding.
Cough (Bordetella pertussis)
Cough (Bordetella pertussis) Toy on Amazon
A regular sized cough or pertussis toy.
This cough toy comes with a petri dish.
Stomach Ache (Shigella dysenteriae)
Stomach Ache (Shigella) on Amazon
A regular sized version of the stomach ache causing bacteria.
This shigella toy comes with a petri dish.
A clip on version of the stomach ache shigella bacteria.
E. Coli (Escherichia coli)
This E. coli toy comes with it's own petri dish.
A clip on version of E. coli.
So Many Germs...
Tiny Microbes turned into Plush Toys
Instructional Hand Washing Poster on Amazon
This hand has animated sponges doing all of the scrubbing.
A fun reminder to wash hands.
More on Giant Germ Making Company
GIANT microbes creates stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes, only a million times actual size!
Their products make for educational, humorous and fun gift idea for teachers, nurses, doctors and those training to be health care providers: college students, medical students, nursing students and science students.
- GIANT Microbes | Teacher Gifts, Doctor Gifts
Plush toy microbes a million times actual size! Clever gag gifts, funny teacher gifts and college gifts for girls and guys.
- GIANT Microbes | Facebook
The official company page for the company that designs plush toys to look like tiny microbes-only a million times actual size!
Included on the "Things That Are Tiny" Highlight Reel
This Giant Microbes Lens was included on the IMMINENT Highlight Reel for the Tiny Quest.
- IMMINENT! “Things That Are Tiny” Highlight Reel | SquidooHQ powered by Squidoo
This week the Giant Squids went “micro” and created lenses about things that are small. While the subjects of these lenses may be tiny their content is huge! Enjoy.
What do you think about these science-oriented educational toys?