Washing Hands!

Updated: Apr 10

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

Glitter Germ Game

  • Ask the individual to rub a little glitter or flour into the 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 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 action

Health & Safety

  • These activities 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.

  • The interactions should be led by the sensory explorer who should be allowed to participate without expectation.

  • Never force stimuli and stop the activity if the sensory explorer shows signs that they are not enjoying the session.

For more sensory ideas, inspiration and free multisensory stories visit the website:

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