Cover Your Mouth: A Germ Science Experiment

Cover Your Mouth: A Germ Science Experiment

Our germ experiment will show just how important it is to cover your mouth and wash your hands! Cover Your Mouth: A Germ Science Experiment will use “glowing” germs to demonstrate the importance of good hygiene.
Like it or not, we live in a world filled with germs, bacteria, viruses — and other creepy, crawly and nasty things. Science experiments with germs are great because it is often hard to teach kids about germs when they can’t see them. However, what if kids could see simulated nasty germs that glow — both on their hands and on everything else they touch? This germ activity for preschoolers and elementary-school kids is a fantastic, hands-on way to show kids that good hygiene is important.
This hands-on germ experiment uses our Glitter Bug Lotion and a handheld black light to show the EXACT places where kids’ lackadaisical, half-hearted handwashing is lacking!

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 handwashing 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 your house. With a simple use of a black light, these germ experiments show exactly where those little fingers have been. Now, imagine how many germs are living in there! Yuck!

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 throughout the day as you normally would: touching students, books, materials — even washing your hands. Near the end of the day, flip the overhead lights off and turn a black light on. No one will believe their eyes as they see all of the places the lotion’s residue has landed throughout the day!

Science Fair Connection

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

• Try washing your hands under several different water temperatures or use several 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 handwashing or different kinds of handwashing 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 ‘em 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!

A Hands-On Germ Science Experiment

This germ activity for preschool kids or elementary-school kids is an eye-opening experience and can be used to demonstrate many different scientific scenarios. Take a deep dive into the kinds of germs, including the differences between viruses and bacteria. Pair this germ experiment with our Growing Bacteria Kit that shows how bacteria and viruses can grow and spread. Can bacteria actually be good? Discuss the “accidental” discovery of penicillin and how antibiotics changed modern history. With Steve Spangler Science and a little imagination, you can create a fun, hands-on learning experiment that will get kids asking questions, forming their own opinions and discovering how the principles of science affect their everyday lives.
Don’t miss our other great science experiments that are available online at Steve Spangler Science!

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