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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

A Dirty Job

Sid the Science Kid is focused on health this week. I love learning new and clever ways to teach Henry and Leo about the importance of living a healthy life. The show really hits on the fundamentals of giving little ones the foundations for fighting germs and staying fit. And as usual, it was all wrapped up in a bunch of fun. The Big Sneeze episode is near and dear to my heart because fighting germs is a daily battle in my house. And sometimes we lose…over the holidays for example.
So this week, Leo played in the dirt and got dirty on purpose with the Clean It Up! activity. Leo’s friend Devon was also here getting muddy and icky. And I didn’t care. Really!
I was engaged, excited, and happy for several reasons:

  • 1. We were playing outside.
  • 2. The dirt was confined to a big bucket.
  • 3. I did not have to clean up my house.

The boys were happy because I said we would be playing with dirt. Magic words, apparently.
I highly recommend getting all of the materials ready and reachable before you start. The potting soil I have is organic and had bits of splintery mulch in it. Not perfect, but still dirty!
The first step was to put potting soil in a big bucket. Then I had the boys stick their hands in it and get dirty.
Believe it or not, the soil wasn’t dirty enough until I added some water and made it muddy. That’s how we achieved maximum messiness.
Then I asked the boys to clean their hands with paper towels. It was interesting to see how earnest they were about trying to get the dirt off. I think they knew the activity was building up to something.
Next, I had the boys examine their “clean” hands with a magnifying glass. We talked about the places in their hands where the dirt gets stuck: fingernails, cuticles, between fingers, and in the lines.
I asked Leo and Devon to brainstorm about what they needed to do in order to get really clean. Water, of course! So they dunked their hands in water. Note, that I didn’t use the soap yet. I wanted to them to understand that soap is an essential part of getting clean.
It was clear with further examination under the magnifying glass that water alone wasn’t going to get those cute chubby fingers clean!
What was missing? Soap of course! We added bubbles and they started scrubbing. It wasn’t easy to get the soil out from under their nails.
And then they were clean. Whew! Too bad I didn’t get their faces as sparkling!

This activity is a perfect example of how children respond to concrete, real-world experiences. Kids get dirty and that dirt (invisible or otherwise) sticks. We had a great discussion about germs. Although germs are invisible they can stick to all the same sneaky spots as the dirt. Both boys seemed to understand the concept.
Later, when Leo came out of the bathroom he put up his hands for inspection and showed me all the clean spots. The activity suggests taking before and after pictures of dirty hands and hanging them in the bathroom as a reminder. I think that’s a great tip. Visuals make all the difference!
How do you teach your kids about germs and keeping clean? Do you have any great tips to share?

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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