Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hand washing

Hand washing does not rate as an important pastime amongst my offspring. At least it didn't until I did some experiments to show them the importance of hand washing.

I couldn't get Ben, in particular, to understand that germs are on your hands, even though you can't see them and that whipping them past a cold running tap doesn't constitute washing them.

To illustrate my point I had them rub a teaspoon of oil onto their hands. I told them that this is to replicate the skin oils. Then I sprinkled cinnamon onto their little hands and told them that the cinnamon represented the germs.

I had them pass their hands through cold water and then check the cinnamon. Ben's eyes grew even larger than normal. The cold water did not budge the cinnamon. We progressed through rubbing with cold water, running them through hot water, rubbing with hot water and then rubbing with soap and hot water. The winner being, rubbing with soap and hot water.

They are now convinced about the merits of hand washing. They were shocked at how difficult it was to remove the cinnamon. I thought afterwards that we should have used glitter as that is even more difficult to remove than cinnamon.

I was on a roll, so I then moved onto coughing and sneezing. I had them hold their hands at varying distances from their mouths and then to cough. I wanted them to feel the air on their hands. Then we spoke about how when we cough or sneeze, the germs come out with our breathe.

We then did a fun activity to replicate germ laden sneezes. We put confetti into balloons, blew up the balloons and then popped them. I then had the kids measure how far the confetti scattered. It's worked a charm. The kids are now vigilant about hands over mouths. (I read somewhere that you should cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. I see the logic of it, but have no intention of doing so. Can you imagine everyone coughing and sneezing into their crooks of their elbows? Way too bizarre for me)>


Lostcheerio said...

Oil and cinnamon is a lot kinder lesson than the one we did, with chicken broth gelatin agar and gladware "petri dishes" -- we grew cultures from their hands, the doorknobs, the DOG'S TONGUE, etc. and now --- they still don't want to wash their hands. Your children are more able to grasp metaphor than mine! Hehehe. Cinnamon as metaphor for influenza -- that symbology would be impenetrable for Benny the Literal.

OH and about the politics.... you should have heard MY CHILDREN shouting RON PAUL RON PAUL at the television as we were watching the returns start to come in, while they were getting ready for bed. I don't even think Sadie knows that ronpaul is a name, but she knows how to rhythmically chant it. *cackle*

Shez said...

how do you make chicken broth agar? I would really like to do this experiment with the kids.

Love the chanting. Did you listen to McCain's speech in NH? Talk about long and boring. At least Huckabee didn't win NH.

momof3feistykids said...

I have been enjoying your blog; I love all your hands on experiments. :-) You've inspired me to dig the Zome Tools out of the closet.

Silvia said...

That's so cool! Any trick for teaching about dirt under the fingernails that has been there for a month? :) You ought to submit this to the carnival of homeschooling, hint, hint!

Shez said...

I've seen mention of this Carnival of Homeschooling. Need to look into how it works.

Michelle (the beartwinsmom) said...

I LOVE the idea of cinnamon and oil! I will have to try that with the boys. You always have such great ideas!

Hugs, MG aka "The Beartwinsmom"