Sana, an Oxfam volunteer in Aleppo, shows children from Aleppo how to wash their hands properly.
Sana, an Oxfam volunteer in Aleppo, shows children from Aleppo how to wash their hands properly.

Have fun with handwashing

Activity ideas for ages 5-9.
  • Good handwashing is more important than ever.
  • Here are some fun and quick activities to help you learn about the why and how of washing your hands.

1. Move to the rhythm

  • Use song, dance and rhymes to show the essential steps involved in washing your hands.
  • Perhaps you could make your own homemade video.
  • Here's some inspiration from a few Oxfam staff members and volunteers!

2. How to wash your hands

  • Here's a quick activity to help you learn more about how to wash your hands.
  • First, ask an adult to help you sprinkle cocoa powder on your hands. Curry or turmeric powder could be used instead.
  • Now have a go at washing off the powder using just water.
  • Repeat, but this time try using soap as well.

Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

Questions to think about:

  • Was it easier to get rid of the cocoa powder when you used soap?
  • How long did it take you to get rid of all the cocoa powder?
  • Which parts of your hands (and wrists) took the longest to get clean?
  • Do you always wash all of these parts?

Germs are a bit like cocoa powder. Although we can't see germs, we still need water, soap and time to get rid of them!

3. How long should we wash our hands for?

  • How long does it take you to wash your hands?
  • Try timing yourself or others in your household.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice!

4. Can soap really kill a virus?

  • This simple activity from Dr. Lucy Rogers helps demonstrate the power of soap against viruses.
  • All you need is pepper, oil and water.

5. Design a handwashing device

  • Check out this contactless handwashing station in Cox's Bazaar refugee camp in Bangladesh.
  • People can use a foot pedal to get water and soap. This means that they don't need to touch a tap with their hands and so avoids spreading bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19.
  • Maybe you could design your own handwashing device for use in your school or community.

6. Make your own rainbow soap

Abby Jones

A bar of rainbow coloured soap.