Wash Our Hands

Help your child learn about basic hygiene (health) and teach him how to wash his hands!

For this Activity you will need:

  • The book: Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross
  • Liquid soap
  • Tub or sink
  1. Ask your child, "What is a germ?" Tell your child that germs are things we can’t see, but they can make us sick. Tell your child that we get lots of germs on our hands because we touch many things.
  2. Tell your child that you are going to read him a story about germs and washing hands. Read your child the book, Wash Your Hands.
  3. Say, "It is really important to wash our hands to get the germs of our hands. I am going to teach you how to wash your hands so you’re sure all the germs are gone."
  4. Show her the hand-washing chart. Ask her if she can guess what each of the steps is.
  5. Explain the steps one by one:
    • First we get our hands wet.
    • Next, we put soap on our hands.
    • Now, we wash our hands all over by rubbing the soap all over, making it look like we have on soap gloves. He should continue lathering for as long as it takes him to sing the alphabet song.
    • Rinse off the soap and dry hands with a paper towel.
    • Finally, we turn off the water with the paper towel.
  6. Once you have explained the steps, move to the sink or tub. Have your child wash his hands with you. Follow the steps.
  7. Finally, explain to your child all the times when it is important to wash our hands (after playing outside, after going to the bathroom, or after blowing our nose).

Next Steps/Follow-Up:
  • Have your child make a poster of hand-washing directions to put in the bathroom.
  • Talk with your child about brush his teeth. Encourage him to brush his teeth twice a day.
  • Talk with your child about healthy (apples, bananas, nuts, granola, carrots) foods and unhealthy foods (chips, cookies, candy). Tell your child that healthy foods help your grow up big and strong! Have your child make a "Growing Foods" poster. Give your child magazines and ask her to find good-for-you foods, cut them out and paste them on the poster.

Background Information:

Physical development involves:

  • Having good muscle control and coordination (able to run, jump, climb, balance, skip, and play ball).
  • Developing hand-eye coordination (in order to draw, trace, write, cut with children’s scissors, stack, button, zip, and tie).
  • Having good personal hygiene, such as washing hands, brushing teeth, and using tissues.
  • Being aware of good safety.

When your child starts school, he will be more likely to do well if he is able to do these things.


You can help your child’s physical development by doing this activity.

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Ready At Five improves the practice and quality of early childhood education in Maryland.


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