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Staying Healthy

To demonstrate the importance of cleanliness in preventing illness

by S. Morton

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To demonstrate the importance of cleanliness in preventing illness.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need:
    - A bowl of hot water, soap and a towel
    - A comb or brush
    - Paper hankies
    - 3 soap prizes (e.g. hotel soap, or unwanted Christmas soap, but not bubble bath, etc. for health and safety reasons)
    - A toilet roll
    - Big teeth and brush set (or ordinary size if necessary)
    - A pencil covered in glue and glitter
    - Chalk.
  • This assembly is particularly useful in winter, when flu, coughs and colds abound! The children love the activities involved and a little washing competition allows you to give prizes of attractive soap. Sensitivity is needed to ensure that nobody feels uncomfortable during this assembly.


  1. Introduce the theme of staying healthy. Tell the children of a trip to the chemist or the doctor, where you noticed people who were coughing or sneezing, etc. Ask if any of the children have been poorly recently.

  2. Introduce a song to the tune of 'Here we go round the mulberry bush'. Pick out a few volunteers to come to the front and ask them to mime the actions to the song.

    Sing the song with the following words:
    This is the way to get ready for school …
    each and every morning.

    Then include:

    …wash our face…
    …comb our hair…
    …clean our teeth…
    …put on clean clothes…
    each and every morning.

  3. The mimers can sit down, while you pick out a few more volunteers to come to the front (choose your children carefully; avoid those who may be teased for being involved). Show the children the pencil covered in glue and glitter. Pass the pencil around the volunteers and ask them to tell you what happens. The glitter sticks to everyone's fingers and is easily passed on - it might also fall on the floor.

    Talk about using soap and water to clean the glitter off, and ask the children to wash their hands carefully. If no glitter is found on their hands, they win a soap prize! These volunteers can then sit down.

  4. Explain that a famous scientist, Louis Pasteur, found out all about germs, and how they were passed on from one person to another and made people sick.

    Demonstrate by 'sneezing' into a paper hankie. Show with a few drips of water from a wet hand that water passes through the hankie - and so could your sneeze!

    Cover another volunteer's hand in chalk and demonstrate shaking hands with them. The chalk passes on - just like germs. Allow the volunteer to wash their hands. Explain that we can't see germs, but we need to know they are there.

    You could hold up the toilet roll at this point and say, I wonder if you can think of another time when we should wash our hands?

    You could show the big teeth and a brush and ask for a volunteer to show everyone how to clean their teeth - why do we do this twice a day?

  5. Ask the children how else we can keep clean. Look for ideas about bathing, showering, washing hair, etc. Finish by saying that we should all look after ourselves, and other people too, so don't pass on your germs! Look after your family, look after your friends, and look after yourself.

    You might, at some point, introduce the New Testament idea of feet-washing, or washing each other's feet: a good way of cleaning off the dust of a long journey and of showing how to care for each other.

Time for reflection

It only takes a moment to wash the germs away.
A little bit of soap and water, helps them on their way.
Each day it only takes a very little while,
to brush my teeth and help to keep my shiny, healthy smile.


'This is the way to get ready for school' (to the tune of 'Here we go round the mulberry bush', see 2. above)

Publication date: March 2004   (Vol.6 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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