Washing Hands!

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

This is a free resource aimed at helping young children and individuals with special educational needs and learning disabilities with their hand washing hygiene during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Tips & Strategies

  • Model washing your hands then offer lots of praise and encouragement to the individual as they copy your actions.

  • Use a digital or sand timer as a visual clue. 

  • Sing or play a favourite song. 

  • Add a little glitter onto the individual’s hands to wash off or give them a small plastic toy to wash in the sink.

  • Experiment with different textures of soaps (bars, gels, liquid, foaming).

  • Using novelty shaped and scented soaps can be motivating.

  • Experiment with fruity and oral scents, soaps that smell like lemonade or retro sweets, cartoon character soaps, shaped soaps and 'Treasure Soap' (see 'Extension Activities)

  • Individuals sensitive to smell may prefer an unscented soap. 

  • Offer individuals with sensitive skin a hypoallergenic soap. 

  • Offer a reward each time the individual washes their hands, this could be a sticker, blowing bubbles or adding a tick to a wall chart so they can track their accomplishments.

  • Washing the hands frequently can make them dry and sore to those with sensitive skin. Offer moisturising cream with an optional hand massage afterwards.

Ideas to Motivate

Make Treasure Soap

Treasure soap has a motivating item inside.

The more the individual washed their hands using the soap, the nearer they get to accessing the motivating item hidden within the soap.

The treasure inside the soap can be tailored to meet an individual's likes and motivators.

You will need:

  • A bar of glycerine soap

  • Microwave

  • Cupcake baking tray

  • A sprig of herbs (rosemary, lavender or mint), a child friendly flower or motivating small plastic toy.


  1. Cut a bar of glycerine soap into cubes then melt in a microwave for 50 seconds.

  2. Stir, reheat in the microwave at 5 second intervals then stir until it is melted.

  3. Pour the liquid into the cupcake baking tin or moulds.

  4. Place a sprig of herbs/flower/toy to each soap and leave to solidfy then remove from the tin/moulds.


Soapy-Doh is a soft mouldable dough made with soap so children are cleaning their hands as they play!

You will need:

  • 1 cup Cornflour

  • ½ cup Handwash/ liquid soap/shower gel

  • Oil (cocount/olive/vegetable)

  • Food colouring

  • Chopped dried herbs (rosemary/lavender/thyme/mint are ideal)


  1. Bind the oil and the cornflour together.

  2. Add the handwash/liquid soap or shower gel

  3. Add a few drops of food colouring

  4. Add the chopped dried herbs

  5. Knead until the required consistency (adding more oil or cornflour if necessary)

  6. Supervise play