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Prevent the spread of germs with these healthy hand washing activities and promote good oral hygiene with the dental health ideas you'll find in this theme.

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Preschool Health Activities 
There are 4 black & white printable coloring pages available for this theme. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

Science: "Dental Magic"
This dental science experiment from Cathi can be easily accomplished by preschoolers.

Materials:  Hard boiled eggs, clear plastic cups, large spoon, black felt marker, tea or caramel colored soda, old toothbrushes, backing soda, salt, paper towels and toothpaste.

Description: Give each child a hard boiled egg with a toothy grin drawn on it.
Tell the children that eggs and our teeth are made of the same thing - Calcium.
Place the eggs in plastic cups and fill some of the cups with coke or tea. Leave overnight then use a large spoon to remove the eggs. Dry the eggs that were in the coke / tea filled cups with a paper towel.

Now show the children an egg that was not put in the coke and observe how the coke eggs have become discolored.  Tell the children that we can brush the egg just like we brush our teeth. Sing this song to the tune of  Oh My Darling Clementine as you encourage children to brush their teeth.

Brush your front teeth,
Brush your back teeth,
Brush to bottom and the top.
If you brush them each and every day,
Then your smile will never stop.
Comment: Your class can also make their own toothpaste using 3 parts baking soda and 1 part salt. 

dental health art activity  Dental Health Art
Preschoolers use motor skills and learn about tooth brushing during this art activity from Mindy.

Materials: Toothbrush,  white paint, corn syrup, bowls and pictures or outlines of a tooth.

Description: In advance prepare outlines of a tooth for each child. Then take a little bit of white paint and mix it with an equal amount of corn syrup.  Using the picture / outline of a tooth, let the kids dip the toothbrush in the paint and "brush" the tooth.  When it dries it will look like enamel.  We talk about how to brush your teeth and they can practice on their pictures.

Note: There's more dental ideas further down the page.

Glitter Germs
Mindy R. shares this discovery activity that demonstrates why we wash our hands with soap and water.

Materials: Glitter, soap and water 

Description: Teachers put glitter on your hands.  Explain that we are pretending that the glitter is germs.  Then shake a child's hand and say, "Look, she's got my germs."  The child then shakes someone else's hand, etc.  You then choose one child to go wash their hands, but do not dry with a paper towel yet.

The child comes and shows the class his or her hands (not all of the glitter will be gone yet).  Then have the child dry his or her hands and show class again.  Children now see how important it is to both wash and dry their hands.

Hand Washing Poster
Mindy R. offers this preschool activity that helps youngsters learn the proper method of hand washing.

Materials: Soap and water, camera and poster.

Description: To make a poster that hangs in your bathroom to remind children to do 
a good job when washing, this is what we did.  I took a picture of each child washing 
his or her hands.  Each child had lots of soapy bubbles on his or her hands that we 
named "Bubble Buddies".  I attached the photos to a piece of poster board and then wrote at the top Did you see your Bubble Buddies today?

hand washing rapHand Washing Rap
(Improvise a rap tune)
You gotta wash your hands, you gotta wash them right
Don't give in to germs without a fight.

Use water that's warm and lots of soapy bubbles,
These are your weapons for preventing germ troubles.
Don't cut short your time, your fingers get between,
It takes 20 seconds to make sure they're clean.

Gotta wash, gotta wash, gotta wash your hands,
You gotta wash, gotta wash, gotta wash your hands.

book Literacy and Hand Washing
Children will be able to see how germs are passed from one person to another person with this personal health activity from Celeste C.

Materials: Glitter, soap and water and the book: Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting But Invisible Germs

Description: Have a couple of children sprinkle different colors of glitter on the palms of their hands. Read the story book.  The children with glitter on their hands are asked to shake hands with the other children in the group.  Have the children look at their hands and talk about what happened. Next, have the children wash their hands with soap and water. Now talk with the children about what happened.

Dramatic Play: "Germ Control"
Cindy S. offers this healthy good housekeeping activity to introduce children to proper hand washing before and after handling food. 

Materials: Sink, soap, towels, dishes, dust pans, broom, table, books, plastic food, household cleaning tools, pictorial sequence strip for hand washing 

Description: During circle time sing songs about hand  washing. I present pictures to help the children understand the sequence of  hand washing. The children are introduced to what germs are and how we can try to control them. Reading a book about germs helps with this.

Next, divide the group into small groups of four children. The children pretend to wash hands in the kitchen area before handling food. While washing hands the children will have an opportunity to review the sequence of hand washing. While washing, encourage the children to sing the song that they learned about hand washing (see activity below). Since it take a little time for hands to be properly washed singing the song will give youngsters time to really clean their hands. Now, they can pretend to do food preparations in the kitchen area.

Healthy Hand Washing Song
Preschool teachers explain to young children that germs make people sick and can stay on our hands.  Hand washing is the best way to get rid of them.  It's also the best way to keep from passing these germs on to other people. If you wash your hands with soap under running water while singing this song your hands will be really clean.

hand washing song To the tune of "Row, Row Row Your Boat"
Wash, wash, wash your hands
Play our hand game.
Rub and scrub, and scrub and rub.
Germs go down the drain.  HEY!

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Play our handy game.
Rub and scrub, and scrub and rub.
Dirt goes down the drain.  HEY!

Hand washing Song from "Healthy Habits For Healthy Happy Kids"
Canadian Institute of Child Health
For story time try reading the following book;
Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting but ....Invisible Germs: Esos Desagradables Detestables Sucios Completamente Asquerosos pero...Invisibles Germenes
by Judith Anne Rice , illustrations by
Reed Merrill     (Published by Redleaf Press)
tissue box Sneezing
Starla J. offers a way to demonstrate how germs spread with this personal hygiene activity.

Materials: Baby powder or tissue.

Description: Teachers can use either powder or a tissue. If you use a tissue rip it 
up into tiny pieces and hide it inside your hand. Talk about sneezing and how the children need to cover their mouths. Then pretend to sneeze and blow the powder or the tissues on the children.

tissue box Sneeze Painting
Debbie R. shows children how germs are spread through sneezing and coughing when
they forget to cover their mouth.

Materials: A large piece of paper, 2 to 4 spray bottles filled with colored water.

Description: Teachers read the book The Cow Buzzed. Next talk to the youngsters about germs and how they spread. Now place the paper on an easel and allow the children to spray the paper with the colored water. You can also let the youngsters spray their hands and touch the paper to see what happens to the 
"germs" when they don't wash them off their hands.
Comments: The children really seem to understand this concept.

Where Are The Germs?
Young children use self help skills as they learn the importance of hand washing during this activity from Susan R.

Materials: Small balloon and glitter.

Description: While discussing the transmission of germs, I put some glitter in a 
balloon.  I then blow up the balloon and tie it.  As the children sit in a circle, I pretend to sneeze into my hands where the balloon is. I then pop the balloon as I sneeze and the glitter goes everywhere. I explain that germs travel so we have to try to be as clean as possible.  I then vacuumed the glitter with the children's help. 

For the next two days we found glitter in all different places.  I explained that this is how colds are spread.  The children really learned a lot and passed it on to their parents.  They also found "germs" that they had transported home.
My afterschool youngsters also learned from this experiment.

Comments: I use this activity every year.  It makes the lesson real to the children.

Science: "Moldy Bread"
Help youngsters answer the question, "Where do germs come from?" with this activity from Mindy R.

Materials: Piece of bread per child, ziploc bag per child, magnifying glasses 

Description: Give each child a piece of white bread and ask them to cough on 
it, sneeze on it, rub their hands with it or wipe it on different areas of the classroom (bathroom, pet cages, etc.).  Then put it in a ziploc baggie with the child's name on it and a description of where the germs came from.  Seal the bags and lay them all out so children can observe them during the next two weeks.

Put magnifying glasses on the table with the bread so children can watch the germs growing.

Tooth FairyTooth Fairy VisitTooth Fairy
Begin teaching good health habits with this preschool activity by Annette H.

Materials: Someone willing to be a Tooth Fairy

Description: What child has not dreamed of catching the Tooth Fairy red handed? 
Well this can be arranged when you invite someone who is willing to portray the 
fairy into your room the week you are learning about the importance of healthy 
teeth.  Our janitor was willing to dress up one year. She borrowed a prom dress, 
made her self a crown and a magic wand. She was wonderful. She looked into each 
child's mouth to see how many teeth were missing then waved her wand over them
to make good teeth return. The children loved the visit. This year I have invited 
a lady who loves and collects fairies. She is so excited and so am I.

Fairy DustPoem: I Had A Loose Tooth
After children learn this poem invite them to draw a picture of what they would look like if one of their teeth were missing.

I had a loose tooth,
A wiggly, jiggly loose tooth.
I had a loose tooth,
A-hanging by a thread.
I pulled my loose tooth,
My wiggly, jiggle loose tooth,
Put it 'neath my pillow,
And then I went to bed.
The fairy took my loose tooth,
My wiffly, jiffly loose tooth.
And now I have a quarter,
And a hole in my head.
Brushing Our Teeth
Start promoting healthy teeth during this oral hygiene activity by Tracey.

Materials: Toothbrushes, toothpaste and a set of laminated teeth or you could 
ask your dentist for a set.

Description: Let children place toothpaste on the toothbrush and practice 
brushing the laminated teeth. Children love it and it encourages tooth brushing

Dental Health
Promote healthy teeth with this tooth brushing activity by Erin.

Materials: Yellow construction paper, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Description: Use the construction paper to cut out a large tooth shape.  Explain 
to the children that yellow teeth are not healthy and we need to brush them to 
make them a healthy white. Next, give each child a toothbrush and toothpaste and have them "brush" the tooth until it is white.

brushing teeth Science:  Keep Tooth Decay Away
Rabiah L. suggests this oral hygiene activity to help children discover what happens to teeth if they are not brushed regularly.

Materials: Boiled eggs, plastic cup, toothbrush - 1 for each child, one 2 liter soda (dark).

Description: Talk to the children about what they think will happen to their teeth if they do not brush them at night and in the morning. Read the book, Bearstein Bears Visit the Dentist. Talk about sister bear's fears and brother bear's visit. Did they brush well? Why do they think they got the good results? How should you brush your teeth? What is the proper way?

Have enough hard boiled eggs so that each child can have one. Fill a cup with a dark soda. Tell the children that we are going to pretend that the egg is their tooth. Ask them to gently put the egg into the dark soda. Tell them the soda represents candy, 
soda, etc. Things that are bad for their teeth. You can also brainstorm about things that are good and bad for their teeth. Leave the eggs in the soda overnight.

The next day, have the children see what happened to the eggs. (They will turn brown) Ask them why they think this happened. They are amazed at how the egg looks when they come back the next day and realize that good brushing is a priority. Have the children take a soft toothbrush and toothpaste and gently brush their "tooth" clean. 

Comments: You can easily save toothbrushes year to year. I go to the dollar store and get 20 brushes for 10 dollars and save them each year. 

Floss Your Teeth
Mrs. C. teaches preschoolers how to floss their teeth during this dental hygiene activity.

Materials: Egg carton, white yarn and scissors.

Description: Take an empty egg carton and cut, so you'll have three pieces.
You don't need the top of carton, just the bottom. Cut a long piece of yarn (white) and use as floss. Turn the carton over so the bottom will be face up, this will act as your teeth. Ask kids to wrap the yarn around their fingers and start to floss!

book  Literacy and Crocodile Teeth
Tooth brushing is the focus of this activity by Lori. Just be careful with the shaving cream because it stings eyes. 

Materials: Green poster board, tooth brushes, shaving cream, the book 
The Crocodile and The Dentist.

Description: Cut out big crocodiles from the poster board. Staple plastic egg 
carton onto the crocodiles mouth and let children brush his teeth with shaving cream. Read the story The Crocodile and The Dentist before or after this activity.

Comments: I cut out 4 crocodiles and had them laminated before I used them.

Tooth Tally
This is the system that Merrie K. uses to keep track of lost teeth throughout the year.

Materials: Large white tag board in the shape of a tooth.

Description: Keep track of lost teeth throughout the year by writing the names 
of the child on the tag board tooth and the dates when teeth were lost.  Then at 
the end of the year, use the personal data to make a chart or bar graph.

Game: Healthy Charades
Ann P. helps youngsters become aware of different healthy activities when they play this game.

Description: Have children sit in a circle.  Ask one child to stand up.  In the 
child's ear whisper the name of an activity that promotes good health,  such as 
washing hands, brushing teeth, using facial tissue, getting exercise, sleeping
etc.  Then have the child act out the activity and let the other children guess 
what it is.  Continue until each child has had a chance to act out a healthy activity.

book Mental Health: Feelings Book
Debra M. uses this activity to introduce preschoolers to mental health ideas and self awareness.

Materials: Poster board, contact paper or laminating paper, book rings, hole punch, markers to decorate and scissors.

Description: Draw a circle in the middle of each piece of poster board, cut the 
circle out and then use your markers to decorate the area around the circle.
Write This Is A Book About Feelings using the top and bottom of the page.
On the other pages write "This is me when I'm feeling sad", happy, etc. After decorating and writing the words on the pages, laminate each page The circle will then be clear.
Demonstrate to the children how to put their faces up to the  page and demonstrate the feelings that correspond with the whatever feeling is described on that page. As a language extension allow the children  to talk about things that create these type feelings for them. 

art and craft activity Doctor Bags
Encourage children to make their own doctor's bag and become familiar with 
different medical supplies with this activity from Debra R.

Materials: Black construction paper, white chalk or crayon, Band-Aids, q-tips, 
cotton balls, tongue depressors, medical tape, gauze etc.

Description: With white chalk outline a medical bag on black construction paper. Ask the children to cut out the bag. On various paper plates, put Band Aids, cotton 
balls, q-tips, gauze, medical tape and tongue depressors. Have the children pick all 
the above things, preferably one of each. Then ask them to glue the items to their doctor's bag. 
I display all of the doctor's bags on a health bulletin board outside of my classroom with the heading, The Doctors Are In.

Comments: At the beginning of the year, I have parents send in their child's baby 
pictures and I place them above their doctor's bag on the bulletin board.

art and craft activityStethoscope
During your health or medical unit provide youngsters with materials to create this stethoscope by Debra R.

Materials: One section of a egg carton, paint and yarn or a piece of pipe cleaner.

Description: Give each child a section of a egg carton. Have them paint it silver or any color you want. Before or after it's dry, make a hole so that a piece of yarn or pipe cleaner can fit through. When it's dry, each child has their a stethoscope of their own 

The Effects of Smoking 
This early childhood lesson plan by Rabiah L. is for older children and helps them  discover that smoking is detrimental to their health and that they should resist peer pressure to smoke.

Materials: Puppets and smoking advertisements.

 1. Hold up a smoking advertisement and ask students what the advertisement tells 
 us about smoking? Does it make it look like it's cool? Is it telling us  that you will have big muscles when you smoke?

Lesson Presentation:
1. Ask students what smoking really does to you.

2. Ask if the smoking advertisement is truthful or misleading. Would a smoker 
 look like this? What would a real smoker look like?

3. It is misleading because..(list on board)
  *tobacco can raise blood pressure and make a heart beat faster
  *gives people bad breath, not cool
  *makes it more difficult to run so playing sports is harder
  -big muscles on advertisement is definitely misleading
  *It's more difficult for blood to move around so you can't think as quickly.
  *can cause lung cancer or emphysema
   *smoker's cough

4. Ask students if they can list other detriments.

 5. Pass out paper bags and crayons. Assign partners. They can make a puppet out 
 of the paper bag. One person can be the peer pressure and try to get the other person (who is using the puppet) to smoke. The child using the puppet refuses to smoke. He or she gives reasons why he needs to say no. The reasons are the detriments discussed earlier. Switch roles.

Closure: Review some of the detriments without them being written on board.
Evaluation: Puppet role playing.

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