Hand Washing with Soapy


20-30 minutes


This lesson can be Health or Science




  1. To teach students that hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of infectious disease and to promote healthy hand washing habits that help to rid 95% of harmful bacteria from the hands.
  2. To demonstrate proper hand washing skills and teach students when to wash their hands.
  1. Learn what Germs, Bacteria and Viruses are and why we want to cleanse our hands of them.




For this lesson you will need:


      Hand Washing with Soapy Video

      Germinator Quiz that can be downloaded at

      When To Wash coloring page that can be downloaded at

      Germinator coloring page that can be downloaded at

      Crayons, colored markers or pencils.

      Liquid Soap, running water and paper towels.

      Stop watch (optional)





  1. Present Hand Washing with Soapy to your class.


  1. After watching the video, discuss with your class the important points they have learned from Soapy about personal hygiene.


What are germs?


-Germs are found all over the world, in all kinds of places. There are four major types of germs: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. They can invade plants, animals, and people, and sometimes they make us sick. Soapy told the kids about Bacteria and Viruses.


What are Bacteria?


Bacteria are tiny, one-cell creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. In some cases that environment is a human body. Bacteria can reproduce outside of the body or within the body as they cause infections. Some infections bacteria cause include sore throats (tonsillitis or strep throat), ear infections, Hepatitis, Salmonella and pneumonia.


-Bacteria consist of only a single cell, but don't let their small size fool you. They are amazingly complex.


-Bacteria live on or in just about every material and environment on Earth from soil to water to air, and from your house to arctic ice to volcanic vents. Each square centimeter of your skin averages about 100,000 bacteria.


What are Viruses?


Viruses need to be inside living cells to grow and reproduce. Most viruses can't survive very long if they're not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. Whatever a virus lives in is called its host. When viruses get inside people's bodies, they can spread and make people sick. Viruses cause chickenpox, measles, flu, and many other diseases. Because some viruses can live for a while on something like a doorknob or countertop, be sure to wash your hands regularly!



-When we forget to wash our hands, or don't wash them properly, we can spread germs to other people, or give them to ourselves by touching our eyes, mouths, noses or cuts on our bodies.


-We can also pick up germs from objects, such as doorknobs, stair railings and money, touched by other people who aren't good hand washers. Have your students think about all the things they touch each day and how many people may have touched them before.


Tell your students about the two words germs fear — soap and water. Washing your hands well and often is the best way to ward off these harmful germs and to become GERMINATORS. Wash your hands every time you cough or sneeze, before you eat or prepare foods, after you use the bathroom, after you touch animals and pets, after you play outside, and after you visit a sick relative or friend.


  1. One of Soapys key points when washing your hands is to wash for 10-15 seconds. This is about how long it takes to sing Happy Birthday. As a classroom activity you can have the children come up with other songs or rhymes that they could use when they wash. You can even have them do this in groups.


  1. Download the WHEN TO WASH coloring page and make copies for each student. One column is labeled WASH BEFORE, the other column WASH AFTER. Used as a coloring activity, they can draw pictures of the appropriate activities or they can list them by writing them out.


  1. Download the Germinator coloring page and make copies for each student as a coloring activity for younger students.


  1. Have the children take turns exhibiting washing and drying their hands using liquid soap and paper towels. The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted that liquid soap is easier to use for young children.




  1. Give your class the Hand Washing with Soapy Quiz


  1. Present your students with a Germinator Certificate. You can download a colorful Soapy Certificate or a coloring page one which kids can color any way they like.



Resources from, and