A great way to teach your preschooler about germs is through fun, educational activities.

We have two science activities to teach your little ones how to avoid spreading germs and how to stay healthy:

1. Glitter Germs

Red glitter on child's hands

Image credit: James Franco

For this activity, you will need glitter to show how germs are spread from one person to another, or from a person to objects.

The glitter represents the germs that are spread by sneezing and coughing.

First, explain to your kids that we cannot see germs with our eyes, so glitter will represent germs. Give one child a handful of glitter and have her or him shake another child’s hand. Ask them to continue to shake hands until the ‘germs’ spread to everyone.

This exercise can also show how germs spread from touching objects throughout the day. Place a small amount of glitter in your child’s hand and ask them to rub their hands together, then have them go about their day. By the end of the day there will be glitter everywhere: on books, desks, doorknobs, their faces and more. It’s the perfect way to show them that germs are everywhere and spread very easily. This is a great time to reiterate the importance of coughing into our elbows and covering our mouths and noses when we sneeze, then quickly washing our hands afterward.

Tip: If you’re concerned about glitter cleanup, perform this exercise outside or in a contained area that can be easily cleaned afterward.

2. Potato Practice

Yukon Gold potatoes cut in half

Another fun activity features a raw potato cut into two pieces. Pass the first section of a potato around the room from child to child. Then ask the children to wash their hands. Now pass the second piece of the potato around the room from child to child.

Put both of these potatoes in clear bags. Label one “washed hands” and the other “unwashed hands.”

Your kids will find that the unwashed potato darkens quickly. Place the bags in a dark closet at room temperature and leave them there for a week. After a week, pull out the bags and ask your kids what they see. Look at the amount of growth on the unwashed potato and ask them what they think this means in regards to germs.

If you enjoyed this post we invite you to read our blog, “3 Lovely Children’s Books About Autumn.

Carmel Mountain Preschool provides a safe and caring environment with hands-on, developmentally-appropriate programs for children. We also offer excellent care for elementary school-age students with our before and after school programs. CMP is located at 9510 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego CA 92129, situated between 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Carmel Valley, and Santaluz For more information, please visit our website or contact us at 858.484.4877.