Keep it Clean

Children will learn how keeping their body clean is one way of staying healthy.

Birds Nest

Lesson Objective

The children will be able to explain why, when, and how we wash our hands and bodies; and make bubble bath soap.


What You'll Need

  • Proximity to a sink and soap
  • Wash cloth – one per child
  • Red paint – 1 bottle
  • Bowl
  • Paintbrush – 1 per adult
  • White paper – 1 per child
  • Water

To make the bubble bath soap:

  • Water – 1 quart
  • Castile soap – 4 ounces (found in bar or liquid form at discount stores and pharmacies)
  • Glycerin – 2 ounces (found at craft stores, some grocery stores, and some drugstores)
  • Large microwave safe bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small containers with lids to store the bubble bath – 1 per child
  • Access to a microwave

What To Do

  1. Pour some of the red paint into the bowl and add a little water to thin out the consistency of the paint.
  2. Tell the children that the red paint represents germs we may come in contact with in our daily lives.
  3. Have each child hold out a hand, palm up, and paint a thin layer of the red paint onto their hand.
  4. Have the children clap their hands and discuss what happened when they clapped their hands.
  5. Explain that this is like the way germs can spread (see Did You Know).
  6. Have the children touch the piece of paper and discuss what happened when they touched the paper.
  7. Discuss information about germs and how keeping clean is a great way to stay healthy (see Did You Know).
  8. As the children wash the paint off of their hands, ask them to watch closely as the soap loosens the paint and the water rinses the paint away.
  9. Explain that the same thing happens to dirt and germs each time they wash their hands. Each time they wash their hands, they are removing dirt and germs and helping them to stay healthy and germ free.

Making the Bubble Bath Soap:

   1 quart of warm water
   1 bar (4 ounces) of castile soap, grated, or 4 ounces of liquid castile soap
   2 ounces of glycerin

  1. Grate the bar of castile soap and pour it into the quart of warm water.
  2. Stir until the soap dissolves. If you are using liquid castile soap, you can skip Steps 1 and #3 and just mix the liquid soap into the quart of water.
  3. If the castile soap does not dissolve completely, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Check and stir.
  4. Add the glycerin and mix well. When cool (if microwaved), pour some of the liquid into each of the individual containers and put on the lids. Shake gently so the children will be able to see the bubbles form.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Why do we wash our hands?
  • When is a good time to wash your hands?
  • Show me how you wash your hands (allow the children to pretend to wash their hands).
  • Explain why it is important to wash your body.
  • When do you wash your body?
  • Describe what you use to wash your body.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Let the children make individual labels for their bubble bath.
  • Add a dry bar of soap, a baby wash cloth, an empty powder container, and a small towel to your dramatic play area so that the children can “wash” the baby dolls.
  • Create a hand washing chart with pictures of each step and hang it above the sink where the children wash their hands.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Was each child able to participate in the paint activity and observe how easily the paint stuck to the different surfaces?
  • Could children demonstrate an emerging understanding of why it is important to wash our hands and bodies?


Did You Know?

Germs are very small and we cannot see them. Throughout each day, children touch and encounter many, many things - toys, playground equipment, dirt, grocery carts, door handles, diapers, toilets, other children. Young children experience the world with their whole body, not just their hands. Children expose their hands, arms, legs, feet, face, hair, and clothing to dirt and germs throughout the day. Washing our bodies is the best way to keep germs from spreading. Many people focus on washing their hands, but, for young children, washing their bodies is equally important.

We should wash our hands frequently throughout the day to remove germs so that we do not get sick or make others sick. We should also wash our bodies daily to remove germs and dirt from our body. When we remove germs and dirt from our bodies with soap and water, the germs cannot make us sick.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • dirt — loose earth or soil.
  • germs — a very, very small living thing that causes illness.
  • soap — a substance used to wash your body or things such as dishes or clothes.
  • wash — to make something clean by using water or soap.
  • clean — not dirty.
  • bubble — a small amount of gas surrounded by another substance.

Lesson Tips

  • Have the children wear smocks to protect their clothing from the paint.
  • As with any soap product, the bubble bath can sting if it gets in the eyes. Caution the children to be careful during the activity, especially when stirring and pouring the mixture.
  • Some children may not want to have their hand painted. You can use glitter or chalk with those children.


  • Keeping Clean by Sharon Gordon
  • Go Wash Up: Keeping Clean by Amanda Doering Tourville
  • Keeping Clean (Take Care of Yourself!) by Sian Smith
  • Keeping Clean (Looking After Me) by Liz Gogerly
  • Wash Your Hands! by Tony Ross
  • Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS