Preschoolers can't see germs, so most young children won't understand why keeping clean and healthy is important. Telling children that they should stay healthy won't motivate them to do so. Before any project about health and hygiene, explain to preschoolers that taking care of their bodies means they will feel good and won't have to miss any enjoyable activities due to sickness.
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Combining lessons about health and hygiene with arts and crafts makes these lessons enjoyable for preschoolers. To teach children about healthy eating, give each child a paper plate and an old cooking magazine so he can cut out healthy foods and glue the pictures onto his plate. For a hygiene project, show children that soap is a healthy and positive thing they should embrace. Draw a large bar of soap along with arms and legs onto paper and ask each child to cut out one soap character and decorate it with a face.
Children may get tired of reading the same old books over and over again, so creating their own books gives preschoolers something new to look at. Ask each child to decorate pages with illustrations of herself being healthy and hygienic. For instance, ask each child to create one page showing the healthy foods she eats, and another showing how she keeps her body clean. When children are done, laminate and staple the pages of each child's book together and place them on the bookshelf.
Make-believe and acting activities help children learn how to stay healthy and clean. Make paper bag puppets or use stuffed animals to put on a class skit about how to stay healthy. Give children prompts such as, "How can you stay healthy when you're playing outdoors?" or "How do we get germs?" Ask pairs or groups of children to act out some ideas for each prompt. Pick your own puppet or stuffed animals so you can participate in the skit and suggest ideas that the children haven't thought of.
When you set a lesson to music, children may pay more attention to it and retain the information longer. Change the lyrics to a song that preschoolers love to be about why it's important to stay healthy. Create motions that go along with each lyric and act them out each day with preschoolers. Songs can also help children keep the steps to hygiene activities straight. Make up a song about hand washing or teeth brushing, using lyrics such as "First we turn the water on, then we squeeze the soap out..." Whenever it's time to wash their hands, children can sing the song to ensure they don't forget anything.
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