Year group: Foundation Stage
Personal, social and emotional development – Dispositions and attitudes
Physical development – Health and bodily awareness
Knowledge and understanding of the world – Exploration and investigation
Understand why it is important to wash our hands
Learn how to wash hands correctly
Learn the hand-wash song
Spray bottle, washable paint and disinfectant wipes
Interactive whiteboard (IWB) presentation containing hand-washing song
and correct hand-washing technique (downloadable from www.planet-
Activity sheet 1 (downloadable from website)
Download IWB presentation
Print copies of activity sheet 1 for pupils
Teacher mimes hand-washing and asks pupils to guess what s/he is doing.
1. Ask children when they wash their hands, e.g. after using the toilet, before
eating, when they look dirty.
2. Ask them if they know why we wash our hands. Ask if anyone has heard of
Main teaching activity:
1. Introduce the idea that germs are tiny things that are so small we can’t see
them, but they are all around us – especially on our hands, because we touch so
many different things each day. Some germs don’t really cause any problems,
but others can make us poorly with tummy bugs or flu.
2. Demonstrate how germs can easily be spread from one person to another. Mix
some washable paint with water and place it in a spray bottle, then pretend to
sneeze (without covering your mouth!) on to a table. Explain that the green paint
is like germs: when we cough or sneeze without covering our mouths, we spread
3. Ask two children to put a hand on the table, and then shake hands with another
child. See if the ‘germs’ spread from one child to another.
4. Explain why it is best to cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or
sneeze, to catch the germs – but if you use your hand, remember to wash it
5. Now ask all the children to wash their hands. While they are washing, explain the
a. Wet your hands with warm water and apply a small amount of soap.
b. Rub your palms together vigorously (away from the water) to make a
c. Rub every part of your hands, including under and around your nails.
d. Continue for 20 seconds – this is the same amount of time as singing
‘Happy birthday to you’ twice.)
e. Rinse your hands well under clean running water.
f. Dry your hands thoroughly using a clean dry towel.
6. After everyone’s hands are clean, explain that they are going to learn a hand
washing song to help them remember how to wash their hands and how long to
wash them for. Show children the hand washing song on the IWB presentation
and sing it a few times with them to teach them the words.
7. Class activity: think of actions that pupils could carry out along with the song to
encourage good hand washing technique.
Remind children that we need to wash our hands with soap and water to remove the
tiny germs that might make us poorly.
Using activity sheet 1, ask pupils to put the hand-washing stages in the correct order.