Recently, my granddaughter Lilly came to visit – it was early on in the “self-quarantine” process for COVID 19, so we played outside in the backyard at a safe “social distance.” I told her that soon we would have a family dinner inside the house, and she immdediately asked, “When the germs go away?” She explained that her preschool had germs, and they were everywhere. After six weeks, and the promised supper together, Lilly was still talking about them.
I realized that Lilly had formed theories about the invisible world of germs in her mind, and a little adult intervention might ease her concerns. So, I started looking for resources to help her understand the basic concept of germs (viruses and bacteria).
I wanted Lilly to see that she had control over germs – almost like a superhero! Basic hand washing was my focus, which could then be expanded to disinfecting and sanitizing home surfaces to prevent illnesses.
Interactive Germ Experiments Suitable for Young Children
To begin, I shared this simple experiment to create a visual image of germs for Lilly. I used two bowls, water, pepper, and dishwasher soap. This activity assisted Lilly to conceptualize how hand washing would chase all the germs away. Here are the directions:
More great ideas for activities related germs, can be found at this wonderful site. Loved the glitter germ idea.
Teachers Pay Teachers – Activities for Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade
Playful Videos to Reinforce the Basic Concept
CDC Resources for Parents – How to Talk to Your Child About COVID 19
If you have any other ideas for prekindergarten to grade two, I hope you share them with us!