Activity | Play the handy hygiene game

Glitter Blog

748 million people across the world don’t have access to safe water, and 2.5 billion don’t have access to adequate sanitation.

The aim of this activity is to demonstrate how easily germs are transmitted, and as a result the importance of washing hands regularly and thoroughly.

Before playing the handy hygiene game, you can talk to your young people about the work of Scouts in Madagascar, where hygiene education is a huge initiative.

The local Scouts work hard to promote the importance of hygiene in their communities.  Puppet shows are also held in local areas aimed to educate people, especially children about hygiene practices.

The response is overwhelmingly positive and life changing. 

You will need: 

  • Hand lotion/moisturiser.
  • Glitter.
  • Washing up bowl.
  • Soap.
  • Towel. 

What to do:

1. Discuss some of the following questions with your young people:

  • What do we need to do before eating and after going to the toilet? (Wash our hands).
  • What's the problem with germs? (They can make you ill).
  • What do germs look like? Can you show each other the germs on your hands? (Germs are invisible, but they still exist and can still make people unwell).
  • How are germs passed on? (Anything out hands touch will get germs transferred onto it, so if we wash our hands regularly it helps to stop germs spreading).

2. Ask all the young people to rub a small amount of lotion/moisturiser onto their hands so that they are moist to touch. Please ensure that any skin allergies have been checked with parents before doing this activity

3. Place an amount of glitter (enough to cover hands) in each of the young people’s hands in the smaller team.

4. Ask them to go around to the larger team who do not have any glitter, and shake their hands. Everyone in the group should aim to shake everyone else’s hand including the adult volunteer.

5. Ask the young people to look at their hands to see if they have glitter on them.

6. Ask them to imagine that the glitter represents germs. Explain to them that the aim of the activity is to show how easily germs are transmitted from one person to another, as well as across surfaces.

7. Ask the young people if they would be willing to eat some crisps or sweets now (remember the glitter is germs).

8. Ask them how they are going to get rid of the germs on their hands – wash them!

9. Using the washing up bowl and water, you should now, in front of all the young people, attempt to get the glitter off your own hands using just water.

10. Whilst your hands are still wet show them to the young people (they should still have glitter on them) and explain that without using soap to wash your hands, germs remain on your skin and can make you sick.

11. Now use some soap and wash your hands again. All the glitter should come off.

12. After drying your hands show them to the group and reiterate the importance of hand washing with soap as well as clean water.

13. The young people should repeat this hand washing experiment themselves so that the importance of hand washing with soap is reiterated to them. 

This activity comes from WaterAid's #amillionhands activity pack. There are hundreds more available from all of our charity partners. Visit the website to download the packs and get involved.

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