Updated: Nov 6, 2020
With the virus continuing to spread and it being flu season, I thought I'd write a quick recap of strategies to help young children and individuals with special educational needs and learning disabilities with their hand washing hygiene.
Using a visual schedule is an excellent way to communicate what is required of an individual.
Make Hand Washing Motivating!
Treasure soap will motivate individuals to wash their hands! The more they wash their hands 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
Cupcake baking tray
A sprig of herbs (rosemary, lavender or mint), a child friendly flower or motivating small plastic toy.
Cut a bar of glycerine soap into cubes then melt in a microwave for 50 seconds.
Stir, reheat in the microwave at 5 second intervals then stir until it is melted.
Pour the liquid into the cupcake baking tin or moulds.
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 (can be cocount/olive/
Chopped dried herbs (rosemary/lavender/thyme/mint are ideal)
Bind the oil and the cornflour together.
Add the handwash/liquid soap or shower gel
Add a few drops of food colouring
Add the chopped dried herbs
Knead until the required consistency (adding more oil or cornflour if necessary)
Glitter Germ Game
The learner rubs a little glitter or flour into their hands. These are the germs.
Give the individual a simple task (draw a picture, water plants using a watering can or jug or simply play for a couple of minutes)
Show them how the germs (glitter/flour) has stuck to everything they touched and that this is the reason we wash our hands.
Ask the individual to wash their hands with just water. This will not remove all the glitter and flour.
Model washing your hands the correct way explaining how the soap washes the germs away leaving spotlessly clean hands.
Ask the individual to copy your actions.
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.
Health & Safety
The activities in this blog are ideas. You are wholly responsible for any activities you decide to carry out. The activities are designed to be led and supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
If you are concerned or have doubts regarding any activity or item used, then seek advice before starting.
Be aware of choking hazards.
Check the ingredients in any items you may be using for any potential food or skin allergies or respiratory reactions. If you see any signs of redness, swelling or other symptoms of a suspected reaction seek immediate medical advice.
Click HERE for your free Washing Hands eBook