Structured games and activities can be a successful way to promote the importance of good hygiene, whether for children or adults. These activities span multiple types of hygiene and appeal to a variety of individuals. The online games in particular are an effective way to keep young participants engaged while learning important lessons.
The Scrub Club website, created by the non-profit public health company NSF International, is geared toward a younger audience and contains many interactive and informative activities about hygiene. After meeting the Scrub Club characters and villains--and learning about various hygiene skills and germs--players can head to the "Games" section for some fun. In Big E's Grossest Hits, players listen to a suspiciously Elvis-like germ sing and talk as they play a picture matching game. As each match is made, an important fact about hygiene is displayed and read on the screen. Stop Fluin' Around is another game that draws players in with an exciting mini story about the villain The Flu, then quizzes players on what they learnt. Several other games exist, as well as items like an interactive storybook, short "webisodes"--online videos featuring the Scrub Club characters--and various free, downloadable materials such as colouring books, posters and stickers.
Health and Hygiene Matching Game
This activity, developed by Advocates for Youth, is geared toward adolescents and focuses on the specific hygiene issues they encounter. It lists specific steps that a group leader can take to inform and assess adolescents' knowledge of personal hygiene, as well as free, helpful handouts the group leader can use during discussions. The site also includes a handout for the adolescent group to use when participating in a matching activity where they must match hygiene behaviours with specific explanations.
Colgate Kids devotes a section of their website to over a dozen free dental hygiene games and activities for kids, divided into appropriate age groups. There's Toothbrush Patch, for kids aged two to four to practice counting each tooth they brush, as well as Smart Snack Orchard, a matching game that helps kids identify healthy snacks. Kids aged four to six might enjoy Lost Tooth Corner, where they must uncover baby teeth in order to build a tooth castle, or Dental Office Tree House, where players dress Dr. Rabbit appropriately according to the weather, then pack his dental bag with all the essentials. There are games like Attack of the Plaque Monsters for children aged seven to nine, in which players use the "Space bar" on their computer keyboard to fire away at plaque monsters on teeth; this game even has a two-player mode. The site also boasts a variety of dental hygiene activities such as a video that shows kids how to brush properly and a printable chart that lets them track their brushing habits.
Looking Your Best
Looking Your Best is a curriculum offered as a PDF and modified for 4-H members, but you can use it with any type of group. It provides specific instructions and information teachers or group leaders can use to engage children in multiple activities that promote good hygiene, including a Good Habits/Bad Habits activity where kids must identify good and bad hygiene habits, and a hygiene collage activity where children must identify good hygiene images in magazines. The PDF is free to use and you can download or print it from Penn State University's website.
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