Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Make Hand Washing Fun Self Care Skills for Toddlers

Here are some simple and fun activities to teach hand washing!

This post shares some easy to set up activities to help toddlers and preschoolers learn and practice how to wash their hands.

How do you teach a child hand hygiene?

Kids need to learn how to wash their hands.

Hand washing helps prevent kids from getting sick and making other people sick, so it is a really important self care skill to learn.

RELATED: Want to check out more important skills toddlers should learn? Go HERE.

Kids need to learn when and how to wash their hands. Here are some easy ways to explain this to them.

When do you wash your hands?

According to Stanford Children's Health, you should tell your child to wash their hands before:
  • Eating
  • Touching his or her mouth, eyes, or nose
  • Touching a cut or scrape
And after:
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Playing with pets or other animals
  • Touching pet food or treats
  • Being on playground equipment
  • Being close to a person who is sick
  • Touching a dirty diaper
  • Touching garbage

The best way you can teach these is through your positive example. Kids are always watching you. 

You can also make it easy for kids to wash their hands by providing stools that help them reach the sink and easy to use soap. 

How do you wash your hands?

Teaching kids how to wash their hands doesn't have to be boring! There are several fun things you can do as you practice.

When you are teaching your child to wash their hands, share these simple steps:

1. Get your hands wet in clean water. 

2. Put soap onto your hands and make suds.

3. Rub your hands together and scrub them for at least 20 seconds. Clean your nails, in between your fingers, and the front and back of your hands.

4. Rinse your hands with clean, running water.

5. Shake your hands and then dry them with a clean towel.

How do you make hand washing fun?

Now that you know the basics, here are some simple and fun ways to practice washing your hands with toddlers and bigger kids!

Three Ways to Make Hand Washing Fun:

1. Create a hand washing sensory bin!

What you need:

  • plastic tub
  • warm water
  • soap dispenser
  • dolls that can go in water
  • scrubber brush
  • towel
  • vinyl tablecloth (optional)

Set up:

Place a plastic tub with warm water on top of a vinyl tablecloth. I love to do any sensory play on top of my vinyl tablecloth to help keep things tidy!

Next, put some dolls and soap dispensers with your sensory bin. We stuck them right inside!

Show your child how to stick out the doll's hands and squeeze soap onto them. Practice rubbing the doll's hands together to create suds and counting to 20 (or singing a favorite song, like the Paw Patrol Theme Song). Next, rinse the doll's hands in the water and dry with a towel.


After we did hand washing, we gave the dolls a bath and had fun scrubbing and playing in the water too.

2. Use glitter!

Glitter is another fun way to help kids learn about hand washing. It is tough to scrub off and let's them get some good practicing in. Put some glitter on your child's hand and encourage them to scrub it off.

3. Try some germ science.

Magic Milk Science can show kids how soap repels germs.  

Grow some germs using this idea from the Organized Homeschooler.

Self care skills (aka daily living skills) are important and help kids participate successfully in life activities. They also help them start good habits that they can continue as adults.

According to Parents Magazine, "Practicing self-care routines at a young age can reduce the risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. The earlier your child learns self-care, the more likely they are to maintain those good habits into adulthood."
What are some other self care skills that you are working on with your child?

Do you have any other fun ways to teach hand washing to kids?

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