Skip to content
Go to the Minister's Home Page Go to the Department for Education and Child Development Home Page
Menu

Activity List

Getting ready - Health and Hygiene
Washing your hands  Like this activity  
5 - 15 mins activity Suitable for Birth - 5 years

Location Bathroom , Laundry

Together you can look closely at hands and fingers, turning them backwards and forwards, talking about the back of your hand and the top of your hand. Talk with your child as you wash your hands together.

Let’s turn on the tap slowly to fill the sink. How many hands do you have? How many fingers do you have? Let’s put our hands in the water and wash right up to our wrists.
 Now we can dry our hands and let the water drain away. Sing a song while you wash your hands, such as ‘this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, to wash away the dirt’.

Materials you will need

  • Handwashing basin
  • Soap
  • Towel

Alternative tools

  • Containers
  • Water

Why does this matter?

Washing hands is an opportunity to talk with your child as they get to know and explore their body. As your child explores their hands they are able to count and compare their little fingers and hands. This activity is about number and quantity, as well as a way of helping children get to know their body.

What does this lead to?

As your child counts and compares their fingers they are learning to match number to object and they are learning that the last number they say represents the total number of fingers they have.

Language and Questions to use

  • Bigger, smaller
  • Longer, shorter
  • Under, over
  • Hot, cold 
  • Fast, slow
  • Left, right
  • Dirty, clean, dry, wash, wet, rinse
  • Soapy, bubbles, liquid wash
  • Tap, sink, towel, stool
  • On, off
  • Hand, finger, thumb, wrist, palm
  • How many hands do you have?
  • How many fingers do you have?
  • Let’s put our hands under the water and wash right up to our wrists.
  • How big are your hands? Are they the same size?
  • Which finger is longest?
  • Which finger is shortest?
  • Talk about hot, warm, and cold water while getting ready to wash hands.

Useful Tips

  1. Take the time to count fingers and touch each one as you say the number.
  2. Encourage your child to enjoy the experience of water on their hands.
  3. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. Sing and make up songs together while you wash hands and fingers.
  2. Talk with children about why we wash our hands.

Variation by age

Birth to two year olds

  • Name the different parts of the hands as you wash them.
  • Touch the fingers as you count them together.
  • Put your hands together and compare size.

Language to use

  • Talk about size and shape.
  • Ask if it is the same or different.
  • Left hand, right hand.
  • Use words that describe position and direction.

Three to five year olds

  • Name the different parts of the hands as you wash them.
  • Touch the fingers as you count them together.
  • Put your hands together and compare size.

Language to use

  • Talk about directions and placement such as under the water or turn the tap to the left.
  • Ask if it is the same or different.
  • Left hand, right hand.
  • Use words that describe position and direction.

Washing your hands

Skills this activity improves

Share

Leave a comment