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Early Years: Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the single most effective things children can do to support preventing the spread of infection.

This lesson supports children aged 3-5 to learn why it is important to wash their hands properly and how to do so. Scroll down to find out more and to download the resources.

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Learning objectives
All students will:
  • Understand that we wash our hands to remove germs (microbes)
  • Understand the sequencing of hand washing and nose blowing
  • Understand how to blow their nose to minimise the risk of transmission of infection
Background Information

Schools are a haven for potentially harmful microbes that can spread rapidly. Hand washing helps protect ourselves and others from the spread of these microbes.
Our skin naturally secretes oil which helps to keep it moist, but this is a perfect place for microbes to grow and multiply and helps microbes ‘stick’ to our skin. Our hands can easily pick up harmful microbes from our surroundings, surfaces and even through the air. These harmful microbes can spread quickly and easily from child-to-child via touch and can make us poorly if swallowed.

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop harmful microbes from spreading and prevent us from becoming sick.

This lesson plan supports you to educate children on why hand hygiene matters and how to practice it.

Main activity:
  • Balloon hands
Extension activities:
  • Hand washing and nose blowing flashcards
  • Picture sequencing activity
  • Hand washing chart
Curriculum links

Communication and language development:

  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical development:

  • Health and self-care

Expressive arts and design:

  • Exploring and using media and materials
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
EY Hand hygiene teacher guidance
Student worksheets
SW1 Picture sequencing
SW2 Healthy hands washing progress chart