How does an infection spread between persons ? How can a sick person infect a healthy person? What are epidemics and how do they rise? Explore these questions with the children especially in kindergartens and schools where infections (e.g. cold viruses) can spread easily. In order to facilitate a conversation and simplify the explanation of somewhat complex subject, we suggest doing a small experiment.
- Glitter (white or yellow, glitter that is barely seen would be the best)
- A bowl
- Some water
- Washing-up liquid
Explain to the child that infections are transmitted via droplets. When a person who is ill coughs or sneezes a virus can reach another person`s respiratory system; from there it spreads, multiplies and an infections starts. We can also get ill via direct contact with an ill person. When a person first touches their mouth or nose with their hands (e.g. during cleansing a nose with a tissue, coughing or sneezing) the virus stays on their hands. This person can touch someone else transmitting and spreading the virus. The virus will also stay on every thing the ill person touched (toys, crayons, door handles).
Now begin an experiment. Pour some glitter on your hands without being noticed and pretend you`re sneezing by covering your nose with your hands. Now touch a child`s hand. Show the child your hands and ask them to show you their hands. The child should try to find an answer why there`s glitter on their hands which in our case plays the role of invisible viruses.
Now it`s time for the second experiment, which will tell the child what to do to avoid and not spread infection. Pour some water to the bowl and add some glitter (which still plays the role of viruses) to the water. Pour one drop of washing-up liquid or liquid soap on your finger and touch the surface of the water. Under the influence of degreasers, the glitter will “run away” from the edges of the bowl. Explain to the child that a soap has the same influence on all the germs we have on our hands. That`s why it`s so important to wash hands after sneezing and covering our mouths with our hands, but also before eating or after every outdoor walk.
This post is created within the framework of Global Education Programme funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.