This germy hands experiment is a fun way to teach kids good habits to help keep them healthier during cold and flu season. Sponsored by MedExpress Urgent Care.
Glitter Germy Hands Experiment to Teach Kids About Hand Washing
Temperatures may be falling, but cases of cold and flu are on the rise!
Last year’s flu season was especially active — in fact, it was the first to be classified as high severity across all age groups, according to the CDC.
With this year’s flu season in full swing, it’s more important than ever to teach kids good habits to help keep your family healthy.
As much as I hope other parents will keep sick kids home from school, it’s highly likely that our kids will be exposed to the cold and flu from classmates. Actually, any public space has the potential to put us in contact with others who may be carrying a virus.
What About the Coronavirus?
These hand washing tips are especially important with the recent coronavirus outbreak!
Experts say our best line of defense is thorough hand washing. But most people don’t wash their hands right! That’s why it’s so important to teach our kids how to wash their hands properly!
Related: Just how dangerous is the coronavirus? Click here to learn what health experts say parents need to do to prepare for the coronavirus.
How to Teach Kids to Wash their Hands
With younger kids, the idea of “germs” may seem a bit abstract, which can make teaching kids to wash hands a bit tricky.
I tell my 5-year-old all the time that we need to wash hands throughout the day to kill germs, but I’m not sure if she actually knows what that means.
That’s why I created this glittery germy hands experiment, with the help of MedExpress, to show her how germs spread.
Plus, making a game of it is WAY more fun than just telling kids how to wash their hands!
MedExpress is a neighborhood medical center dedicated to providing high-quality and affordable care to families. They’ve recently opened several Houston-area locations. To find your local center, visit MedExpress.com.
Together, we put together this fun activity to teach kids about germs and healthy habits.
What You Need for the Glitter Germy Hands Activity
Good news! Only simple supplies needed for this activity! We provided shop-able ad links where possible with products we recommend; disclosure policy here.
- Free printable “Germy Hands Activity Sheet”
- 1 bottle hand sanitizer
- 1 bottle colorful glitter
Is Glitter Safe?
We’ve gotten a few reader questions about glitter alternatives, due to concerns about glitter and the environment or safety for small kids.
The good news is that there are wonderful eco-friendly glitter options available now! Here are a couple that had 4 1/2 to 5-star reviews at publication time:
For younger children, you could even try using cooked rice, which would stick to their hands. Just be sure to do the hand washing over the kitchen sink where you can run the garbage disposal afterwards!
How to Do the Germy Hands Experiment
STEP 1 – In a small bowl, combine hand sanitizer and glitter. You won’t need the entire bottle of sanitizer – only enough to cover two sets of hands (or however many kids are participating). Stir together the sanitizer and glitter and set aside.
STEP 2 – Print a copy of the Germy Hands Activity Sheet for each child. Ask them to trace their hands on the sheet, then draw what they think germs look like inside the outline of their hand.
STEP 3 – Ask kid(s) to dip their hands into the sanitizer/glitter mixture so that their hands are coated, then have them rub their hands together until dry.
I know, I know – glitter has a reputation for being messy, but the cool thing about mixing it with hand sanitizer is that it keeps the glitter from flying all over the place!
STEP 4 – Once your child’s hands are dry, ask them to place their palm into the handprint they traced on the activity sheet. What happened to the “germs” on their hands?
STEP 5 – Next, have kids shake hands with each other (or you) and observe what happens to the glitter “germs.” Did the germs spread to the other person? If you’re feeling brave, ask kids to touch their favorite toys, door knobs, etc. and see if the germs continue to spread.
STEP 6 – Practice washing hands and see how long it takes to wash away germs – it often takes longer than we think!
What We Learned from our Germy Hands Experiment
- Even though we can’t see them, germs spread quickly from person to person.
- Germs can even spread to objects that we touch!
- Washing hands is crucial to preventing the spread of germs and keeping us healthy.
5 Tricks to Teach Kids to Wash Hands the Right Way (and Avoid Germs)
- Recite your ABCs while washing hands to ensure that they get a thorough clean.
- When washing hands, pay special attention to fingernails and between fingers.
- Keep hand sanitizer ready for occasions where soap and water and not accessible.
- Bring your own water bottle when you’re on the go and avoid public water fountains.
- Frequently wipe down surfaces like countertops and light switches – and especially cell phones.
Thank you to Dr. Christopher Dietz and Dr. Ranjit Singh of MedExpress for these healthy tips!
Want to see our germy hands experiment in action? Click video below to play:
Even with the best hand-washing habits, cold and flu viruses can be stubborn. That’s why I have the number to our closest MedExpress location on hand just in case.
When dealing with non-emergency situations, I avoid the ER at all costs (pun intended!) A traditional emergency room is usually significantly more expensive than an urgent care facility like MedExpress.
Plus, MedExpress provides amazing service and shorter wait times.
Printable Activity Instructions
Glitter Germy Hands Experiment
- Mixing bowl
- hand sanitizer
- In a mixing bowl, combine hand sanitizer and glitter. Stir together the hand sanitizer and glitter until well combined and set aside.
- Print a copy of the Germy Hands Activity Sheet for each child. Ask them to trace their hands on the sheet, then draw what they think germs look like inside the outline of their hand.
- Tell kid(s) to dip their hands into the glitter mixture, then have them rub their hands together until dry.
- Once your kid's hands are dry, ask them to place their palm into the handprint they traced on the activity sheet.
- Next, have kids shake hands with each other (or you) and observe what happens to the glitter "germs." Ask kids to touch their favorite toys, door knobs, etc. and see if the germs continue to spread.
- Practice washing hands and see how long it takes to wash away germs - see how long it takes!
More About MedExpress
Injuries and illnesses don’t always occur during normal business hours — that’s why MedExpress strives to make it easier for families to get the care they need.
- Open from 8am – 8pm every day
- No appointments needed
- 7 convenient Houston-area locations
- Most major insurance plans accepted
Plus, unlike a traditional emergency room, at MedExpress, most patients are in and out in an hour or less! As a mom of three, the convenience factor is crucial!