Hand washing FUN (and learning)

For my birthday Little M gave me the sweetest gift… “Since it’s your birthday I will actually wash my hands. Actually wash your hands eh? As opposed to all the other times you go into the bathroom and don’t ACTUALLY wash your hands. Hmmm…. interesting.

I posted this funny little comment on Facebook and was given the greatest idea from one of my readers. A visual, fun and hands on way to teach kids about the importance of washing their hands. (Thanks Sheena!)

Now that we are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season I think it’s time to revisit this one! The cleaner they are getting their hands the better for everyone!

Hand Washing Fun (and learning)

What you’ll need: Cinnamon ~ Oil ~ Paper Towel ~ Soap ~ Water

Hand washing for kids -- great for cold season and back to school!

I poured about a tablespoon of oil onto Little M’s hands and shook cinnamon all over them. She loves a mess… so of course she played with it for a bit.

Hand washing for kids -- great for cold season and back to school! To get her thinking I asked her to wash her hands. I turned on the cold water and waited. Since I wanted her to make the connection on her own about what was happening I asked questions instead of telling her what I saw.

“What do you see happening?””Interesting. Is that what you expected? What did you expect?”

Hand washing experiment -- great for back to school and cold season

I asked Little M to press her hands onto the paper towel.

“What do you notice?””What would happen if you went to play right now?””Now what?”

Hand washing experiment -- great for back to school and cold season

Little M suggested we try using soap in our hand washing. If you little one offers a different solution let them try it. Learning is far more effective when kids see for themselves rather than being told something won’t work.

This worked like a charm… but I wasn’t quite done. I had Little M inspect her hands for cinnamon.

“What about in between your fingers? What about the back of your hands?””How can you wash differently to make sure you get all of those places?”

Once Little M was satisfied that her hands were clean it was time for me to add in a little something extra. I pretended to sneeze on my hand. Then explained how germs stick just like cinnamon. (They are invisible but they are there.) I started to wash with water and was quickly corrected. Yep, she got the message… now it was her turn to teach me.

How do you get your kids to wash up FOR REAL?


  1. Sonya Morris says

    Great lesson!
    My children love snuggling while watching television when they are feeling under the weather.

  2. Nina says

    My smart-alec kid has shown me his hands and said, “They’re clean!” because other times they’ve gotten visibly dirty. I had to explain germs and hopefully he gets it! Otherwise, we’re pretty good about routinely washing hands.

  3. Angie says

    When my littles are sick we make a huge bird nest made of blankets and pillows in the front room and pretend to be baby birdies resting.

  4. Jennifer Harris says

    I love this lesson! So visual. When my kids are sick, we’re so lazy. We lay around on the couch snuggling and watching tv.

  5. Lisa Brown says

    When we spend time reading together, or doing any other craft projects at home, and television, they always feel better.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  6. Katie King says

    At my preschool, we singto the tune of Frere Jacques:
    Tops and bottoms, (rub top of one hand)
    Tops and bottoms (switch and rub top of other hand)
    In between, in between (fingers rubbing interlaced)
    Round and round
    Round and round (rubbing hands all around)
    Now they’re clean, now they’re clean. (rinse with water)

  7. Amanda O says

    We sing these words to “Row Your Boat” with my toddler to make sure we scrub long enough:
    Wash, wash, wash your hands.
    Make them nice and clean.
    Do the rub, do the scrub.
    Germs are very mean.

    Wash, wash, wash your hands.
    We should sing this twice.
    Do the rub, do the scrub.
    Being clean is nice.

    He loves it! Thanks for the great idea to teach him even better.

  8. Ashley Hatten says

    Watching TV in bed or playing their 3DS. My oldest son likes to read on the iPad as well :) THANKS!

  9. Tiffany Winner says

  10. Kelly Massman says

    Reading books with me (or listening to me read)! Thanks for a chance to win and have a great day!

  11. marlene anthony says

    I just get out her creative art kit and she perks right up. She loves making creative projects.


    My daughter loves to watch The Parent Trap in her room over and over again when she feels crummy. She knows the words by heart

  13. Kiara says

  14. Julie Greenwood says

    We make a “sick couch”. All of her favorite pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals move to the couch in front of the TV. Popsicles are a plus too.

  15. Debra D. says

    When my kids feel sick I always make sure I stock up on Gingerale. They especially like the old fashioned Chelshea kind that is hard to find now.

  16. LeAnn V says

    When my kids are sick they love to snuggle with their favorite stuffed animal and watch their favorite cartoons.

  17. clynsg says

    Generally, my children just wanted to snuggle when they were not feeling well. They might not have smiled much, but they were content.

  18. Wild Orchid says

    My son loves to cuddle with me and his favorite blanket while watching his favorite movies when he is feeling under the weather.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 @ gmail dot com


    We watch movies together. I usually also go out and buy her something in Toys R US. If it makes her feel better, it’s worth it.

  20. Michelle S says

    I lay in bed with her armed with tissues, snuggles, her favorite “daddy’s shirt”, books, water/juice.

  21. Lesley M. says

    When my son is sick, we spend as much time cuddling on the couch. I’ll put on his favorite show, and just hold him.

  22. Cassandra Eastman says

    I keep my little ones smiling by giving them a little sprite, cuddling up and reading books and watching movies together!

  23. Joni Mason says

    My home made potato soup has always been the “good” part of being sick. Everyone from sister to my 2 year old grandson wants it when they are sick! I won’t reveal the whole recipe, but i will say that there are ingredients that definitely open up your nasal passages!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  24. Stacey B says

    I give Tylonel to keep the fever and aches and pains away, and make sure they’re comfortable, and entertained. I am sure to be there for whatever it is that they need, and do lots of cuddling to help as well!!

  25. Nicholas Walls (@number5scores) says

    When I get sick I like to watch some of my favorite TV Shows!! Like Full House!! Love that classic show!

  26. Lorena Keech says

    no little ones around now, but we always had a box of “giveaways” and goodies from cereal boxes, etc. that were collected and kept as surprises on sick days.

  27. ky2here says

    By following the context clues to see if they want more or less attention. They can be fickle.

    ky2here at msn dot com

  28. Becky Horn says

  29. says

    My kids love to bake with me in the kitchen. So, baking always put a smile on their faces when they’re under the weather and make them forget they’re not feeling well.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  30. says

    My kids are tween/teens but they still like to be babied and taken care of when they are feeling under the weather. Bringing them some ginger ale and soup while they watch tv in bed is usually how they cope with sick days.

  31. chaz anderson says

    We make a special fort out of our dining room chairs and blankets. We find oour favorite books to read and sip chicken noodle soup!!

  32. sy says

    That’s a successful man made mess lol
    My little cousin likes to make storybook or watch tv when she’s feeling sick, we cuddle up and sit together, she recovers quite fast.
    songyueyu at gmail

  33. Rita G says

    My children love the special attention they get on sick days….a special movie and jello flavor of their choice are some things that my sick little ones to smile!

  34. says

  35. says

    There is nothing better than being able to take the day off with your kid when they are sick and playing with them. Or even just watching a good movie together.

  36. Samantha Daleo says

    When my daughter is sick, I like to surprise her with a new DVD and/or book. That always perks her up.

  37. Jennifer says

    I love this idea- never heard of such a thing! My kids have only been sick once in their lives actually…. we have been blessed. But it was miserable. There was lots of rest, fluids and cuddling

  38. says

    They love all the extra TLC they get when they don’t feel well. Nothing beats being served chicken soup in bed and the extra snuggles they get.

  39. Katharina says

    My daughter has always been rather easy to keep occupied on sick days because she loves books and I enjoy reading aloud. For as long as we’re reading, she’s taken to another place or another time and gets her mind off of being sick even if just for a little while.
    Katharina angelsandmusic[at]gmail[dot]com

  40. Sarah L says

    No kids. I sleep as much as possible, drink lots of water and hot herbal tea and use essential oils.

    Thanks for the contest.

  41. Candice Hull says

    We make a bed on the floor with lots of blankets and pillows and watch movies or play games. Just spending the day together resting seems to help everyone feel better

  42. SHAYNA says

  43. Vikki Billings says

    I try to keep movies, coloring books, crayons, markers and lots of books for sick days. Then I make sure they drink plenty of fluids and I make campbells soup with characters in it.

  44. Brian E. says

    Thanks for the giveaway…puzzles & DVD’s to watch help keep our kids occupied when cold & flu season invades !

  45. Kari Flores says

    Lots of hugs, Give them a blanket to cuddle n the couch and watch their favorite shows and give them warmer chicken noodle soup.

  46. Tim Moss says

    Unfortunately we have never had kids so I can’t honestly answer this question. I still think I should be eligible for this drawing though, don’t you? Equal opportunity.

  47. Lynne T. says

    Well I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t have children as I was never fortunate enough to meet the right man and am still single at nearly 50. But if I did have them I think I’d buy them a special treat (a small toy, book or sweet) when they were sick to help cheer them up.

  48. Suzie Williams says

    We make sick days more fun by renting movies to watch. We also play board games if the kids are up to it since they can’t go outside to play.


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