Wash Your Hands

Scripture: Exodus 35-40

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn about the presence of germs and the importance of hand washing.
  • Students will learn that God gives us good rules to live by to help us stay healthy spiritually and physically.
  • Students will learn that God instructed the Israelites to build the Tabernacle as a place of worship and provided rules to serve Him with their bodies and minds.

Guiding Question: How does hand washing keep us healthy?

Materials: cocoa powder, glitter, or pepper (as pretend “germs”), liquid soap or hand sanitizer, water, bowl or cup

Procedure: Review how God gave instructions for the Tabernacle so that Israelites could worship him. Focus especially on the wash basin provided for cleansing. Explain that God wanted his people to be clean, which was a good practice because it gets rid of germs that cause sickness. Ask students ways that they already know for preventing sickness. Explain that hand washing is the most important.

Sprinkle a substantial amount of cocoa powder on several students’ hands. Have them smell and then shake hands with a friend. The friend then looks at and smells their hand to see if the cocoa powder spread. Give them small objects to touch. Students should realize that the cocoa powder is spreading. The specks can be seen and even when it is hard to see, it can be smelled. Explain that germs spread like the cocoa powder.

Put some cocoa powder in a small cup or bowl of water. Then squirt some liquid soap or hand sanitizer in it. Let students observe how the cocoa powder is repelled. Explain that soap makes germs “run away” and gets rid of them so that you do not get sick. Emphasize that germs are so tiny that you cannot see them, but they still need to be washed away.

Review the basic steps of hand washing:

  1. Rinse hands
  2. Put soap on hands
  3. Rub around every area of skin including under nails and between fingers. Do this for 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with water
  5. Dry hands with a clean cloth (emphasize that if there are germs on the cloth, it will get back on your recently cleaned hands)

Have students wash their hands and then analyze/smell them again.

Additional Questions:

  • When should we wash our hands? (Before eating and cooking before touching the face, after coughing or sneezing in hands, after working, after touching animals, after urination or excrement, after getting a wound, etc.)
  • What are ways to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough so that we do not spread germs on our hands? (cough/sneeze in arm, use a tissue/cloth, etc.)
  • God gave the rules about washing before people even knew about germs. How does this rule about washing show God’s love for us?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Explain the science behind how soap works. The oils in fats attract and pull away the dirt and dried skin cells from hands. This dirt is what harbors the germs and so getting rid of it, gets rid of the germs. Have students research their own soap recipes to try.
  • Have students think of a song or verse that is about 20 seconds long for them to sing while washing their hands. They can even make up their own song. This will help them make sure that they wash their hands for a long enough period of time.

Written by: Savannah Negas