Teaching kids about germs and how to stay healthy can be difficult. Germs, or rather bacteria and viruses aren’t something we can see. And kids have a hard time grasping that there are tiny little organisms all around them, since there’s no way to visualize it.
Luckily, we have a ton of resources at our hands these days, and we can help children to visualize and understand what these organisms are. It is a great teaching opportunity.
One of the best ways to teach anyone is through hands on experience. In this case- literally hands on!
Bacteria and viruses get on our hands. Then we touch our face and those bacteria and viruses have a way into our body. We can’t SEE any of that happen, but the really neat thing, is that we can grow bacteria very easily and see the result.
Teaching Kids About Viruses and Bacteria With Activities
Agar plates are used to “grow” bacteria. The bacteria use the agar plate as an ideal growing medium and in a few days you can actually see the “invisible”, microscopic bacteria because there is so much of it.
There are some wonderful kits on amazon that are safe for children to use. You can set up a few experiments and involve even young toddlers in the experiment creation.
Perhaps you want to test unwashed hands for each child and adult. Then wash your hands quickly and test again. Then wash your hands after singing the alphabet song and doing a better job. Keep coming up with things to test!
You just run the q-tip over your hand and then onto the agar plate. Label each plate and let it sit.
You could even experiment with coughing onto the agar plate to see what happens at different distances. The sky is the limit with these plates!
Soon you will be able to see which plates have the most bacteria and it will be very interesting for everyone to see! Grab an agar kit today.
Teaching Kids About Viruses and Bacteria Using Books
The other wonderful tool we have are books. Books are amazing. They give us something to hold onto. They give us visuals. They give us the right words to explain things. I turn to children’s books to help teach behaviors, for big changes like switching to a big kid’s bed, and even for explaining what was going on when our daughter April died.
Books are amazing and there are some great resources now for children on amazon, meaning they’re just a couple of days away. You can avoid the germs out and about in the world, and just click and buy.
Here is a list of some great books that explain bacteria and viruses to kids. I hope you enjoy these and find them useful!