Kids guide to hand sanitation

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Doctors worry a lot about public health. Public health involves teaching people about diseases and how to avoid them. One of the best ways to fight disease and stay healthier is something you can do in your own home. Washing your hands is the best way to kill germs that get onto your hands as you touch things. The more often you wash your hands, the more germs you will kill, which can help keep you and other people healthier.

Importance of Clean Hands

You can’t see germs, but they are almost everywhere. When you touch a light switch or a doorknob, germs hop onto your hands. When you touch toys, germs from the toys hop onto your hands and any germs on your hands hop onto the toys. Washing with soap and water helps get rid of germs on your hands. Cleaner hands mean that you don’t spread germs to other people and surfaces. Cleaner hands also mean that germs don’t get into your body when you touch your mouth, eyes, or nose.


How to Wash Hands Properly

Scientists who want to help with public health have studied how soap and water kill germs. After doing experiments, scientists figured out that washing your hands for about 20 seconds is important for killing germs. The best way to wash your hands is to use warm water and soap to lather up your hands and fingers. Some people like to sing a short song like the ABCs or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” while they wash to make sure they wash for a long enough time. After lathering, rinse your hands and dry them with a clean towel. You should wash your hands before cooking and eating, after using the bathroom, when you come home, and after you have been near someone who is sick.

  • Teaching Handwashing (PDF): Some kids like to sing a song while they wash their hands to make sure that they wash for a long enough time to kill all of the germs.
  • The ABCs of Handwashing: Wash your hands after you blow your nose, cough into your hand, or use the toilet to keep germs from spreading.
  • Handwashing: Five Easy Steps to Prevent Disease (PDF): The handwashing steps include getting your hands wet, adding soap, rubbing your hands together, rinsing, and drying.
  • Wash Your Hands (PDF): Scientists estimate that washing hands helps prevent about 98 percent of infections that would be spread by touching things.
  • Let’s Wash Our Hands (PDF): Doctors tell people to try to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds to kill all of the germs.
  • Proper Handwashing Fact Sheet (PDF): Don’t forget to scrub under your fingernails and between your fingers when you wash your hands.
  • Make Handwashing Fun for Kids: Handwashing is important, but it can be fun, too. Singing while you wash is helpful, and you can also keep a sticker chart for your handwashing.


Lesson Plans, Games, and Activities

You can have fun as you learn about germs and hand hygiene. Play games and do activity worksheets to learn about handwashing. You can also fill in coloring pages to help you remember to wash your hands. Lesson plans are also available to help teachers teach kids about hand hygiene.

  • Handwashing Lesson Plans (PDF): These lesson plans help you understand germs and where they hide so you can keep your hands cleaner.
  • Why We Wash Our Hands (PDF): It’s exciting to learn that you can play a big role in how healthy you are just by making sure that you wash your hands often.
  • Healthy Hands (PDF): Color pages and work on activity sheets to learn about hand hygiene.
  • Sink Those Germs: Wash Your Hands (PDF): These activity sheets show you the importance of washing your hands to stay healthier.
  • The Scrub Club (PDF): Join the Scrub Club to learn about the importance of clean hands for keeping yourself and other people healthy.
  • Be a Healthy Hero (PDF): Being a healthy hero means doing what you can to help everyone be healthier, which includes exercising, eating healthy foods, and washing your hands often.
  • Hand Hygiene Unit Activity Ideas (PDF): You can learn about effective handwashing by putting on hand lotion with glitter in it. If you still have glitter on your hands after you wash, you need to scrub longer.
  • Good Clean Fun Coloring Activities (PDF): Henry the Hand wants to help you learn all about handwashing and hand hygiene.
  • Handwashing Lesson (PDF): Learning about germs, where they live, and how they spread helps you understand how you can kill them with handwashing.
  • Good Health is in Your Hands (PDF): Work on this activity book to learn about the times when you should wash your hands and how to lather your hands.
  • Handwashing (PDF): Your hands touch many things throughout the day, and the germs they pick up are invisible.
  • Masters in Public Health