Lesson 4​

Health and Body Safety


Lesson Goal:

To promote body safety and hygiene among participants.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Describe three reasons it is important to keep our bodies safe and healthy.
  • Demonstrate the correct hand washing technique.
  • Demonstrate proper dental care.
  • Describe a good touch, bad touch and secret touch.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

National Standards


Good body hygiene helps prevent the spread of disease and infection. Children are especially susceptible to common illnesses. One of the most important ways of preventing the spread of germs is hand washing. Studies have shown that improper hand washing can cause people to be very sick.

Oral hygiene will also be explored in this section. Proper brushing and flossing will be discussed due to the importance of its role in the prevention of plaque and other problems related to improper upkeep.

Personal body safety is another important aspect of safety children need to learn. All children need to know how to tell when someone is crossing the line to an unsafe touch, so they can get help.

Asking the participants ways that they keep their body safe and healthy may be a way to begin the lesson:

Some of their answers may include:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Wear a seat belt.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Wash their hair.
  • Take vitamins.
  • Take baths or showers.
  • Brush teeth.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise.
  • Wash hands.


Hand Washing:

A first step in teaching hygiene safety is demonstrating proper hand washing. A discussion about the reasons hand washing is so important, such as preventing the spread of germs and helping to keep our environment clean, may be needed. A discussion about the importance of washing hands after bathroom use, before and after eating, and after playing outdoors is also needed. The prevention of all germs is unlikely, but washing hands will prevent the spread of many germs.


The correct hand washing technique:

1. Prepare the paper towel so that all you have to do is pull it out of the holder without touching the holder.

2. Turn on the water and apply soap.

3. Wash hands for at least 15 seconds or count 15 Mississippi (one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc.). Another way to make sure you wash long enough is to sing the "Happy Birthday" song.

4. Get the paper towel you prepared in the beginning and dry your hands.

5. Turn off the water with your paper towel, and use the same paper towel to open the door.

6. Find the wastebasket and throw the paper towel away.

7. Hand washing is complete.



Story Circle

This activity can be used to determine what the children already know or to review what they've learned.

1. Have the participants sit in a circle. The leader holds a stuffed bird and introduces the story:

Every member of the animal kingdom practices healthy behaviors. For example, birds cannot fly or keep warm with damaged or dirty feathers, so they preen and bathe often to keep their feathers straightened and clean.

There once was a little bird named Bobby who never took time to preen or bathe. He knew they were important, but he just wanted to play with his friends. One day, Bobby heard some children nearby discussing what they'd learned in school about good health habits ...

2. The leader passes the bird to a child, who adds to the story by including a fact already known or one learned recently in class. After sharing, the child passes the bird to the next child. Continue until all children have had an opportunity to share.

3. Conclude the activity by saying:

The children taught Bobby it's fun to be healthy and safe. So now he takes a bath and preens his feathers first, then goes to play with his friends. And everyone always tells him he's a great flyer!


Bless YOU!

This activity will show students how easily and far germs spread when someone sneezes. The teacher should emphasize the importance of covering their mouths while sneezing. A balloon and glitter will be needed.

1. Fill the balloon with the glitter or other material.

2. Blow up the balloon.

3. Tie the balloon.

4. Pop the balloon and watch the glitter spread.


Germ Spreader
This activity demonstrates how germs spread.
1. Take a substance that is fairly hard to get off your hands such as mud, glitter, colored glue, coffee grounds and margarine, etc.
2. Rub the substance on your hands and explain to the participants that the substance is representative of germs on their hands.
3. Start touching things that the participants will use such as a pencil, the doorknob, a book, etc. Demonstrate how easily germs are spread.
4. Explain that germs are everywhere and sometimes hard to get rid of, but hand washing is one way to help stop the spread of germs that make people sick. Tell students that when germs are on people's hands they are spread to everything people touch.
5. You may want to demonstrate after the activity the proper way to wash hands in front of the participants. Then clean the areas you touched, and stress the importance of keeping the environment clean.
6. Have the children demonstrate the proper hand washing technique to get the substance off their hands.
Body Care:
Other ways to keep bodies safe and healthy include taking baths and showers to clean away germs. Changing clothes, especially undergarments, is also important because they can carry germs. Children play hard throughout the day and perspire, which can cause odor. Keeping our environment (bedrooms, classrooms, etc.) clean is another way to keep our bodies clean.


Clean vs. Dirty

1. Prepare by drawing two body outlines on the chalkboard or a large piece of paper.

2. Allow the participants to describe a dirty, dressed body. As they describe, illustrate their descriptions on the body outlines.

3. Now allow participants to describe a clean, clothed body. Again, illustrate their descriptions.

4. Discuss the importance of staying clean.


Germ Busters

1. Ask children to draw a picture of a germ. Let them use their imagination and creativity to decide what a germ looks like.

2. Have children decide how to get rid of the germ: shampoo, toothbrush, soap, etc.


Journal Entry

Ask students to draw a picture or write a sentence or two about the lesson. For more information, see Lesson 2


Additional Resources:

I Know How We Fight Germs. Kate Rowan. Walker Books Ltd., 1999.

Those Mean, Nasty, Dirty, Downright Disgusting but ... Invisible Germs. Judith Rice. Gryphon House, 1990.

Wash Your Hands! Tony Ross. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2000.


Healthy Teeth:

Dental hygiene is important in the prevention of tooth decay and plaque. Plaque may be described as a hard substance that sticks to teeth after food is eaten, especially sugary foods. Plaque is what the dentist or dental hygienist scrapes off your teeth when you visit the dentist. Another way to get rid of plaque is to floss. If plaque is left on teeth, it can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Start this lesson with a discussion about teeth and why they are important. You may include the questions below:

Q. What do we use teeth for?

A. To chew, tear or grind our food.

Q. What makes teeth strong?

A. Eating healthy foods and getting enough calcium in our diet, as well as brushing and flossing.

Q. When are the best times to brush teeth?

A. After every meal.

Q. When are the best times to floss teeth?

A. After every meal.

Q. How often should someone see the dentist?

A. Every six months unless directed otherwise.

Proper Teeth Brushing 
The proper steps to follow while brushing teeth according to the American Dental Association:
1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
2. Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes. 
3. Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces and the top of your teeth. 
4. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke. 
5. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. 


Proper Flossing

According to the American Dental Association, the following steps should be followed for proper flossing:

1. Break off a long piece of floss (one that could stretch from your shoulder to your wrist). Wind most of the floss around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the other hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

2. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

3. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth, Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

4. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.

5. Repeat this method with the rest of your teeth.

6. Don't forget the backside of your last tooth.



Let's Brush!

This activity demonstrates how to properly brush teeth using a model of a mouth made from an egg carton. Supplies needed are an egg carton, glue, white paint, a tongue depressor, toothbrush and dental floss. To make a model mouth that all participants can see:

1. Take can egg carton and cut out the spaces for the eggs into individual pieces. Imagine these are the teeth.

2. Arrange them into the shape of a mouth by gluing the pieces together.

3. Demonstrate the proper brushing and flossing techniques, showing participants that they need to get the teeth in the back. 

4. Demonstrate the up-down motion of brushing that is best.

5. Demonstrate how to floss using string and flossing between the egg cups. Use a c-shape to really get around each tooth.


Guest Speaker

Have a local dentist or school nurse come in and talk with the kids about dental hygiene.


Let's Disclose

To demonstrate how important it is to brush properly you may want to ask a local dentist to donate disclosing tablets. Disclosing tablets can be used to show kids areas missed while brushing. After they chew the disclosing tablets, spots missed while brushing will turn the color of the tablet.

Contact a local dentist or health department to see if they will donate toothbrushes to your group.


Homemade Toothpaste

Make brushing fun by making your own toothpaste:

You'll need:

  • A small paper cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Toothbrush
  • 3 drops of water
  • Plastic spoon
  • 2 drops peppermint extract

1. Have children mix ingredients together in paper cup.

2. Wet each toothbrush with water and water and then dip it into toothpaste.

3. Have children brush their teeth.

Source: "Out of Toothpaste? Make Your Own." Michelle O'Brien-Palmer. Healthy Me: Fun Ways to Develop Good Health and Safety Habits. Copyrighted 1999. Use with permission of Chicago Review Press, Inc.


The Brushing Continues
Have children bring toothbrushes to school to brush after lunch or snack time. Make this a part of your ongoing classroom schedule.
Leader's Fast Facts:
1. The first toothbrush with bristles was developed in China in 1498. The bristles were taken from hogs, and later horses and badgers. DuPont introduced nylon bristles in 1938.
2. The tooth is the only part of the human body that can't repair itself. 
3. Certain cheeses including cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack have been found to protect teeth from decay.
Additional Resources:
Open Wide Tooth School Inside. By Laurie Kelly. Henry Holt and Company, 2000.
Brushing Well. By Helen Frost and Gail Saunders Smith. Pebble Books, 1999. 
Look! My Tooth is Loose. By Patricia Brennan Demuth. Grosset and Dunlap, 2002. 
Brush Your Teeth Please. By Leslie McGuire. Intervisual Books, 1993.
Clarabella's Teeth. By An Vrombaut. Clarion Books, 2003.
TeacherVision contains lesson plans, printables and more for teachers. Search by topic.

Good, Bad and Secret Touches:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 67 percent of all victims of sexual assault reported to law enforcement agencies were juveniles (under the age of 18). Prevention is key to help save child victims from this crime.

This can be a controversial topic to teach, so we try to present it in a noncontroversial, age-appropriate manner. If this section is uncomfortable for you to teach for any reason, you may want to ask the school counselor to teach this section of the lesson or skip the section altogether. If you do decide to teach this section, we suggest sending home a permission slip beforehand for parents to sign. This section will teach children the difference between good touches, bad touches and secret touches, and how to disclose abuse.

Special note: If a child discloses abuse while you are teaching this section of the lesson, the most important things you can do as a leader are:

  • Stay calm.
  • Tell the child you are sorry this has happened to him/her.
  • Assure the child you believe him/her.
  • Tell the child it was not his/her fault.
  • Tell the child he/she was very brave to tell you such a scary thing.
  • Contact the counselor and local authorities.

Start the lesson by asking students to give examples of good touches. Answers may include: hugs, holding hands, high-fives, a pat on the shoulder, a handshake, gentle tickling, and a shoulder rub.

Next, ask students to give examples of bad touches. Answers may include: kicking, pinching, hitting, tripping, pushing and unwanted/excessive tickling.

You may now want to talk about secret touching. Begin by asking the participants what a secret is. One possible answer: A secret is something someone does or says that he/she doesn't want you to tell others about.

Ask the participants for an example of a good secret. One possible answer: A good secret is not telling about a birthday present.

Ask for an example of a bad secret. One possible answer: Someone might steal something or hurt someone and warn you not to tell anyone about it.

Explain that a secret touch is when someone touches you in a way that you do not like and tells you not to tell anyone else about it. The touch may hurt or make you feel uncomfortable. A secret touch may also involve someone asking you to touch them in a way that you do not like or makes you feel uncomfortable.

Include these important points about secret touches in your discussion: 

1. Your body belongs to you.

2. Each person has the right to say no to unwanted touch. It is OK to say no, even to adults you know and care about.

3. If someone does try to touch you in a way you don't like, or wants you to touch him/her in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable:

  • Say NO!
  • Run away.
  • Tell someone.
  • Keep telling until someone believes you. (Note: It's important for children to understand that if someone doesn't believe them, they need to keep telling until someone does believe them.)



Reproducible: Our Private Bodies Coloring Sheet 

Make copies of the reproducible and distribute to the children. The worksheet emphasizes the private parts of our bodies that no one should touch without our permission.


Journal Entry

The children may make a journal entry by drawing a picture or writing sentences. For more information about the journal, see Lesson 2


Additional Resources:

My Body is Private. By Linda Walvoord Girard. Albert Whitman & Co., 1992.

Your Body Belongs to You. By Cornelia Spelman. Albert Whitman & Co., 1997.

My Body is Mine, My Feelings are Mine. By Bruce Van Patter, Susan L. Hoke, and Lawrence E. Shapiro. Childswork/Childsplay, 1995.