How To Teach Children To Properly Wash Hands Using “Glitter Germs”

Updated October 2021

With cold and flu season fast approaching, the time has come to start preparing our families and households for staying healthy this fall and winter. One of the best ways to do that is to properly wash our hands. However, when it comes to children, that can be hard to do since they can’t see germs, and they often think running their hands under water alone is enough to clean them.

This is where “glitter germs” can help!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about ways you can boost your and your child’s immunity to give them a head start on fighting off illnesses as well as sharing some herbal remedies to help get you through whatever does happen to come your way this fall and winter. But in today’s blog post, I want to share how you can teach your child to properly wash their hands by using “glitter germs” to make a visual impact on them.

Catching a Cold or the Flu

Most cold and flu viruses are airborne. This means when someone has a virus, and they talk, cough, sneeze, etc., those germs spread through the air onto whatever surfaces are nearby. Your child then either breaths them in from the air or touches something that the virus is on, such as a doorknob or a toy. They then touch something that will eventually go into their mouth and transfer the virus there.

Now there isn’t much you can do about breathing in a virus that’s floating around in the air. You can stay away from others who are sick as much as you can, and you can work towards boosting your kid’s immune system.

Feel free to watch this video on 3 Steps To Getting A Head Start On Flu Season for information on how to boost the immune system.

However, there’s a lot you can do about your child touching things and putting things in their mouth. As I mentioned earlier, properly washing hands can go a long way in preventing the spread of illness, so we’ll focus on how to prevent viral illnesses such as colds and the flu by teaching our kids how to properly wash hands using “glitter germs” to make it fun and memorable for them.

How To Properly Wash Hands

Hand-washing is the first line of defense your child will have against staying away from these nasty viruses. Think about it. Kids touch everything. Please, I touch everything! We’re human, and we use our hands all the time. The problem comes from when we touch our eyes, nose, and mouth or when we touch things that come into contact with those areas, like our food.

We, as parents, don’t want our kids to get sick. Once they’re sick, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the family is sick. We need to start teaching our kids how to properly wash their hands. Even if you’ve already talked with your kids about how to properly wash hands, go over it again so their memory is refreshed.

When & How Often To Properly Wash Hands

I’m not really big into being obsessive and washing hands ALL THE TIME. I do think it can be bad to overwash.

Your skin has a natural protective barrier on it called the acid mantle, and if you wash and scrub your hands (or your body) all the time, you’re breaking down that barrier and it can lead to infection as well as dry skin and other problems.

So when it comes to properly wash hands, here are a few things to remember.

First off, you don’t need antibacterial soap. Colds and the flu are viruses. Anti-bacterial anything isn’t going to help. Besides, antibacterial soaps do more harm than good due to the chemicals used in them. Just get some good ole plain soap — homemade is best — and use it.

Next, teach your kids when to wash their hands — definitely after they go to the bathroom and before they eat! It’s also a good idea to teach them to wash their hands when they finish doing something that could have their hands dirty such as after playing outside or at the park, after doing chores, or after coming home from school or a friend’s house, and so on and so forth.

Lastly, teach your kids how to properly wash their hands the correct way. I don’t know about you, but anytime I learn something that is interactive, fun, and hands-on, I tend to remember it more. I’d say that most of us are like that so it’s no different for your kids. Teaching them how to wash their hands is important, and they’re more likely to remember it if you make it fun.

Using “glitter germs” to teach your child how to properly wash hands can do just that!

7 Steps To Teach Children How To Properly Wash Hands Using “Glitter Germs”

  1. Use glitter to teach your child how germs spread. Put 1 teaspoon of oil on their hands along with a small amount of glitter, and have them rub it in. 
  2. Next, let them touch a piece of food or their face or even a toy to show how the glitter gets on everything. We call these “glitter germs.”
  3. Take them to the sink and let them wash their hands with water only.
  4. After they wash, have them wipe their hands off on a towel or cloth and look to see if any glitter comes off. This shows them that water alone didn’t remove all the “glitter germs”.
  5. Next, have them wash again except this time you’ll wanna use warm water and some soap. Instruct them on getting their hands wet first and then teach them to spend some time rubbing the soap all over their hands away from the water so that they lather up well instead of washing it all right off. Show them how to rub their hands together on the tops and bottoms, making sure they get in between their fingers and around their nails and wrists. They can also sing a song while they rub their hands together such as the ABC song or Happy Birthday so they know they’ve rubbed long enough. When they’ve finished, have them rinse their hands well.
  6. Lastly, have them dry their hands on another paper towel or cloth so they can see if there’s any glitter left.
  7. Repeat if necessary.

Doing this exercise on how to properly wash hands on a daily basis will show and teach your kids how to wash their hands well and get off all the “glitter germs” each time. Plus, it’s even better and more fun if you do it with them!

Do you have any tips on making hand-washing fun for your kids? Share them in the comments below!
  1. Chelsea says:

    Genius! Such a great idea ‘glitter germs’!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Meagan says:

      You’re welcome! My kids love this and really do want to do it over and over. It never gets old and it really helps them learn to wash well. Just buy some cheap junkie oil to use so you don’t waste your good stuff!

  2. Lori says:

    Cute idea, Meagan! especially for little girls who love glitter! What a great science lesson, too, as we can see how germs spread onto different surfaces and others can pick them up. Have any ideas on how to show the kiddos how long to brush their teeth? and how to get rid of all the cooties in their mouth?

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks Lori, and I have something up my sleeve for the toothbrushing idea. I’ll have to try it out on my boys and see if it works. If it does, I’ll definitely write a post on it!

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