Cover Your Mouth – Germ Science

Use glowing germs to teach health!

Whether we like to believe it or not, we live in a world filled with germs, bacteria, viruses, and other creepy crawly things. It is hard to teach kids about germs when you can’t see them, but what if kids could see simulated germs on their hands and anything they touch?

Experiment Videos



Pump one to two pumps of germ lotion onto the children’s hands.


Have the children rub their hands together, making sure to get the backs, palms, and fingernails.


Turn on the black light and have the children put their hands under the light to see the simulated germs.


Have the children wash their hands as they would normally.


Put the children’s hands back under the black light. Did they wash off all the germs? Could they have been a little more thorough with their washing?

How Does It Work

The Glitter Bug Lotion is an amazing way for children to simulate the importance of proper hand-washing techniques and to see how easily germs can spread around the room. After just one day, you’ll have Glitter Bug Lotion residue all over your classroom or house… now imagine how many germs are living in there!

Take It Further

To demonstrate how germs spread from one person to another, start the day with one or two pumps of Glitter Bug Lotion on your own hands.  Continue through the day as you normally would… touching students, books, materials, even washing your hands. Near the end of the day, flip the lights off and turn your black light on. No one will believe their eyes as they see all of the places the lotion residue has landed during the day!

Science Fair Connection

While demonstrating the spread of germs is fascinating, it is not a science fair project. You can create a science fair project by identifying a variable, or something that you can change, in this experiment. Let’s take a look at some of the variable options that might work:

  • Try washing your hands in different temperature of water or use different brands of hand soap .  Does one get rid of the lotion or “germs” better than others? Remember, you need to wash your hands the same way for each trial.
  • Test different lengths of hand washing or hand washing techniques. Are some more effective than others?

These are just a couple of ideas, but you aren’t limited to them! Come up with different ideas of variables to test and give them a try. Remember, you can only change one variable at a time for each test. For example, if you are testing different water temperatures, make sure that all other factors in the test remain the same!

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