Invisible germs experiment

Looking for a fun home science experiment that demonstrates why it’s important to wash your hands? This free science activity is brilliant! You just need three slices of bread, some grubby hands (soon to be washed!), a bar of soap, some sealable plastic bags and some spare time…

The most obvious germs you’ll grow are mould and bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not a bacterium, but this is a great demonstration of how a simple bar of soap can get rid of any nasties lurking on our skin. One to do with the kids while we’re all busy washing our hands as well as we can!

Find out how this simple step can fight the new coronavirus disease.

Are your children anxious about the spread of COVID-19? Here are some tips from childhood mental health expert, Dr Naira Wilson, on how to talk to your children about coronavirus.

You will need:
A bag of sliced bread
3 sealable plastic bags
A permanent marker pen
Soap and a nail brush
Clean tongs (optional)

What you do:
1. Label the three bags ‘control’, ‘clean hands’ and ‘dirty hands’.
2. Transfer a slice of bread into the ‘control’ bag without touching it with your hands and seal.
3. Take another slice out and rub your hands all over it, then put it in the ‘dirty hands’ bag and seal.
4. Wash your hands really well using warm water, soap and a nail brush.
5. Take out a third slice of bread and rub your hands on it, then seal it in the ‘clean hands’ bag.
6. Place the three bags somewhere warm and check them every day.

You should find:
After 5-7 days, colonies of bacteria and mould will be visible on the bread. This should happen sooner in the ‘dirty hands’ bag, as you transferred more mould spores and bacterial cells onto the bread. The control bag allows you to compare your experiment with bread that hasn’t been touched at all.

Throw away the bags without opening them, as some of this bacteria could be nasty.

What do your slices of bread look like after 5-7 days?

This is a fantastic science activity that demonstrates the power of a bar of soap. Hand-washing is so important in fighting the spread of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Find loads more activities all about bacteria in Bug-tastic Bacteria!

Did you know that your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells?!
There’s a whole world of microbial wonders to discover inside this bug-tastic edition of Whizz Pop Bang – Make crazy bacteria squishies, read about how antibiotics were discovered, pull out and play bacteria trump cards, cultivate edible bacteria by fermenting your own yoghurt and view the effects of hand-washing in an invisible germ experiment!

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