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5 Videos to Teach Your Toddler About Germs and Handwashing

An image from the animated video of children in a bathroom.
Saskatchewan Health Authority/YouTube

Between the flu and coronavirus, people are hyper-focused on preventing the spread of germs. However, what are we supposed to do about our clueless toddlers? Can they actually learn basic hygiene skills? Yes—it’s definitely possible with these fun and inspiring videos.

Let’s face it, little kids are vectors for any virus. They touch everything, suck their thumbs, and scream when it’s time to wash their hands. Then, they crawl into your lap for a cuddle and spread their germs to everyone. Yikes!

So, what can you do? Well, educating them about germs with these helpful videos is a good place to start. Once your toddler (or preschooler) grasps the concept that germs are nasty, he’ll hopefully be more compliant about washing his hands and not coughing all over the place. At least, we can hope, right?

Sid the Science Kid’s The Journey of a Germ

It’s hard to educate young children about how germs are spread. This upbeat Jim Henson video shows one germ’s incredible adventure throughout a community, as it jumps from hand to hand.

It has a catchy song and adorable characters who talk about sneezing into their elbows and washing their hands. Make sure you practice these new skills with your child, at least several times a day.

Little Baby Bum’s Wash Your Hands Song

This wash your hands video is short and simple, but super-effective. We suggest you play it every day to drive home the message.

Think about the routines you want to create around washing hands, such as before every meal (including snacks), and after using the bathroom, playing with friends, or if they’ve been out in public, like playing at the park.

You can also talk about how hand sanitizer can do the trick when soap and water isn’t available.

CoComelon’s Wash Your Hands Song

Here’s another sweet video that shows kids how washing their hands is the best way to get rid of annoying, yucky germs. Remember, repetition is key. You might get annoyed listening to these songs over and over again, but that’s the best way to convey the message to your youngster.

Make sure your child vigorously rubs her hands together when she washes. Explain that she should see bubbles on her hands because they help get rid of the germies. Little kids are visual learners, so if your soap at home isn’t super-sudsy, find some that is!

Germ Smart Kids’ How to Wash Your Hands


This video is another great introduction to the concept of germs and how they love to live on little hands. Go ahead and quiz your child afterward on where the germs might be hiding. On the doorknob? You bet. On the table? Sure. Under his fingernails? Of course!

We suggest you get a magnifying glass you can use to “examine” your child’s hands after he washes them. Pretend to spot a germ, and tell him he needs to wash again. Repeat the “search and wash” game as long as you can. Over time, he’ll understand how important it is to wash his hands.

Make Me Genius’ Germs Movie for Kids

Looking to dive a bit deeper into what germs are really made of? This five-minute video is an excellent tutorial about the basics of viruses and bacteria.

Some of the terminology (like capsid and nucleic acid) is complex for toddlers. However, the video shows how germs enter the body through the nose, mouth, and broken skin. Overall, the message is effective: Germs are bad, so wash your hands (and don’t pick your nose).

This video also shows the antibodies shooting nasty viruses with little guns. Use your discretion based on your child’s age, and what might upset her.

Teaching your young child about personal hygiene might seem impossible, but these fun videos can help. Make sure you get some fun, foamy soap, and don’t forget to lead by example!

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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