As children grow, they go through many developmental changes. During the time period between early childhood and adolescence, it is important that kids learn about personal hygiene. It is also important for them to understand that it is their responsibility to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Simple activities can gently remind kids to develop good daily grooming and hygiene habits.
To assess the learning level of your class or group, ask the children to tell you what personal hygiene means. This will give you a good idea of where to start when it comes to discussing the finer points of grooming and hygiene. Once the children understand that personal hygiene means keeping your body clean and healthy, ask them for examples of personal hygiene. As they give you ideas, write them down on a large piece of paper or whiteboard. Once you have a good sized list, go through each example one by one and let students discuss how each should be done. Since this could be an embarrassing subject for some adolescents, be sure you make yourself available to answer questions after class. You can also create an anonymous mailbox. Allow children to drop questions into the box that you will answer the next day.
Hand Washing Comic Strip
Lead a discussion with kids, asking them about the times during the day when it is most important to wash hands. Some good examples may be after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, before eating, after using the bathroom, after playing outside and after handling pets. Ask students to work collaboratively in groups of two or three to create a comic strip illustrating one of these examples. Make sure each group illustrates a different time. Children can be as creative as they would like in creating an entire storyline to go along with their hand washing scenario. They can include germs or make the star of their comic a superhero, monster or animal.
Discuss the many different ways children can keep their bodies clean and well groomed. Inform children that while parents may remind them of these personal hygiene practices, it is ultimately their responsibility to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Give each child a piece of paper, markers and pencils and a ruler. Have children create a personalised chart that will help remind them of all the personal hygiene habits they should practice each day. Allow children to decorate the chart in any way they choose.
Mr. Clean Game
This is an excellent activity to use when completing a unit on personal hygiene in order to assess the group's understanding. Split the children into two equal teams. Give each team a set of paper cut-out body parts that, when assembled, create "Mr. Clean." Ask questions about personal hygiene in a game show style. Each time a team answers a question correctly, they may place a body part on Mr. Clean. The first team to fully assemble its Mr. Clean wins the game. For example, students may be asked to list five instances when it is important to wash their hands, or how many times each day they should wash their hands.
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