I feel like I spend a lot of my life at the moment saying “wash your hands” and “please don’t pick your nose (and eat it)”. I have talked about germs with kid M but because you can’t see them and they don’t instantly make you sick I don’t think she really believes me. Or at least enough to wash her hands properly and not lick windows. I had been trying to think of an experiment to show her about germs when I stumbled across this fantastic one in a book. It’s simple and effective, plus involves glitter. And who doesn’t love a bit of glitter.
What you need:
- Glitter (essential).
- Soap and water (essential – for hand washing afterwards).
- Hand cream (not essential but makes the glitter stick to your hands a bit more).
What to do:
- Rub hand cream onto your hands.
- Sprinkle on the glitter and then touch things to see how the ‘germs’ spread.
- Try and wash the germs off with just water. Then add soap and give them a good wash.
- Pretend to sneeze and sprinkle the glitter all over a surface as the germs from your sneeze. See how far they spread and where the go.
- Use different coloured glitter for different germs.
The science bit
Germs are passed from person to person or by touching surfaces that have germs on them (from someone else touching them with germs on their hands or by sneezing/coughing on them). The glitter should show how easy it is to spread germs to other people or to surfaces that you touch. Washing hands are a way to prevent the spread of germs. The glitter helps to demonstrate how you need to wash your hands properly with soap in order to remove the all the germs.
Explaining it to children
As it’s such a visual experiment kids can see how the germs can spread around and how well you need to wash your hands in order to get them clean (not just wave them near water as mine often do!).
(Proof of the clean hands after washing!)
Experiment based on an activity from the fantastic 101 coolest simple science experiments book.