Easy Hand Washing Activity for Kids with Cinnamon

I have the BEST hand washing activities for kids. And it all started with the BEST hand washing story…

For my birthday Little M gave me the sweetest gift… “Since it’s your birthday I will actually wash my hands. Actually wash your hands eh? As opposed to all the other times you go into the bathroom and don’t ACTUALLY wash your hands. Hmmm…. interesting.

I posted this funny little comment on Facebook and was given the greatest idea from one of my readers. A visual, fun and hands on way to teach kids about the importance of washing their hands.

Now that we are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season I think it’s time to revisit this one! The cleaner they are getting their hands the better for everyone!

Hand Washing Activity for Kids

What you’ll need: cinnamon, oil, paper towel, soap and water.

what a simple (and awesome!) hand washing activity for kidsI poured about a tablespoon of oil onto Little M’s hands and shook cinnamon all over them. She loves a mess… so of course she played with it for a bit.

To get her thinking I asked her to wash her hands. I turned on the cold water and waited. Since I wanted her to make the connection on her own about what was happening I asked questions instead of telling her what I saw.

“What do you see happening?””Interesting. Is that what you expected? What did you expect?”

Hand washing experiment -- great for back to school and cold season

I asked Little M to press her hands onto the paper towel.

“What do you notice?” “What would happen if you went to play right now?””Now what?”

Little M suggested we try using soap in our hand washing. If you little one offers a different solution let them try it. Learning is far more effective when kids see for themselves rather than being told something won’t work.

This hand washing activity worked like a charm… but I wasn’t quite done. I had Little M inspect her hands for cinnamon.

“What about in between your fingers? What about the back of your hands?” “How can you wash differently to make sure you get all of those places?”

Once Little M was satisfied that her hands were clean it was time for me to add in a little something extra. I pretended to sneeze on my hand. Then explained how germs stick just like cinnamon. (They are invisible but they are there.) I started to wash with water and was quickly corrected. Yep, she got the message… now it was her turn to teach me.

How do you get your kids to wash up FOR REAL?


  1. At my preschool, we singto the tune of Frere Jacques:
    Tops and bottoms, (rub top of one hand)
    Tops and bottoms (switch and rub top of other hand)
    In between, in between (fingers rubbing interlaced)
    Round and round
    Round and round (rubbing hands all around)
    Now they’re clean, now they’re clean. (rinse with water)

    1. This is a cute song to help remember to actually wash the different areas of the hands.

      Cinnamon smells so good too so after then can enjoy the scent. A
      great visual reminder that they are not done yet. Love this idea!! Thanks!

      My cute story: I always reminded my 5 year old grandson to wash after using the potty. I listened and didn’t hear the water running in the sink after he flushed so I said to him, “You didn’t wash your hands after you pottied,” His reply, “Yes, I did Grandma. I washed them before I went potty!” Then we had our talk about that the order you do things in matters! Not sure how long he had be doing that. Big yuck!!

  2. We sing these words to “Row Your Boat” with my toddler to make sure we scrub long enough:
    Wash, wash, wash your hands.
    Make them nice and clean.
    Do the rub, do the scrub.
    Germs are very mean.

    Wash, wash, wash your hands.
    We should sing this twice.
    Do the rub, do the scrub.
    Being clean is nice.

    He loves it! Thanks for the great idea to teach him even better.

  3. Pingback: The Best Apps for Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands | Kinsa Health Bytes
  4. I love this idea. My class loves to do activities like this. We have a lesson where they wash there hands with a pitcher and bowl, old school style. They love to do this because it is different than washing in a sink, and more fun 🙂

  5. I am looking for ADULT HAND WASHING POSTERS !!! I have posters galore for young kids K–10 grades.
    Now I want to reach adults—– the diner before eating, the pet lover, Public rest room users etc. etc.

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