Not to freak y'all out, but did you know that germs are on everything you touch? Using a special powder called Glo Germ (get it here) you can actually see how germs spread from one thing to another. It will make you want to wash your hands more often. (And the CDC recommends washing your hands frequently. In fact, why don't you go wash up right now?)

Scrub 'em: Use soap and water, and wash for 20 seconds. That's about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Scrub 'em: Use soap and water, and wash for 20 seconds. That's about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.Courtesy mitikusa

Goal: to observe how germs are spread
Age level:: 3 and above
Activity time: 2 - 5 minutes
Prep time: 5 minutes

Materials needed:

  • Glo Germ powder
  • Toys or common household/school/office objects to "spike" with germs
  • UV lamp or detector box


  1. Sprinkle Glo Germ powder on your objects.
  2. Arrange them somewhere where others can handle them.
  3. Plug in UV lamp, but don't turn it on.

Encourage others to pick up and play with the objects. Ask them what they know about germs.

  • Do you know where microbes are found?
  • Do you know what a microbe/germ is?
  • Do you know what illnesses are caused by germs?
  • Do you know the best way to avoid getting sick because of germs?

After the discussion, tell them that, as part of an experiment, you've put "pretend" germs on one or some of the objects they may have touched today. Switch on the UV lamp: what glows?

Reinforce the fat that the Glo Germ powder is just to simulate germs. It won't make you sick. You can get rid of the germs by washing your hands. In fact, encourage your audience to wash their hands and then hold them under the UV light again.

(On the other hand, remember that not all germs are bad. Exposure to some germs is thought to protect people against asthma and allergies or colitis, and overuse of antibacterial products leads to antibiotic resistance and superbugs as well as potential damage to the environment.)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

always wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating

posted on Thu, 05/07/2009 - 12:56pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Oh, no! I've been washing my hands before going to the bathroom and after eating!

Well, some things are starting to make sense now.

posted on Thu, 05/07/2009 - 3:38pm
sunny's picture
sunny says:

you need to wash your hands before you eat anything

posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 9:01am
peaceout's picture
peaceout says:

you should wash your hands whhen you eat beacuse think what have you been touching senice you ate like if you pet your cat or if you fell on the floor your you touched someone thats sick get think about it next time you eat without washing your hands!!!!

posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 9:23am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

If you truly think about all of thegerms and sicknesses going around, like the swine flu, it can be pretty disturbing.

posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 11:08am
maleman001's picture
maleman001 says:

My name is Micaela Aleman.I'm from the Mentor Buzz Team From The KAYSC. I was Reading this And it Interest me So I did a scratch animation of the blog. So I hope you like it.

posted on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 2:04pm
maleman001's picture
maleman001 says:

Sorry this is the URL So I hope you like it

posted on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 3:18pm
Gakki's picture
Gakki says:

i wash my hands anyway...and i think the way to stop swine flu from spreading is..

posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 6:02am
poptartlover's picture
poptartlover says:

We did this at my old school! I remember one kid tried to suck on his hands until they were clean...

posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 11:22am
doglove's picture
doglove says:

I think people are making to big of a deal with Swine Flu

posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 12:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Wow that is very weird! :)

posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 12:46pm

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