More than half of all illnesses and death among young children is caused by germs that get into the body through the food they eat and the water they drink.
Older children can be involved in promoting and practising healthy habits that work in their own family and community. The correct use of toilets, safe drinking water and safe refuse disposal help prevent the spread of germs.
Use the tabs 1-10 above to read our Top Ten Messages on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for children to learn and share. Scroll down to see ideas on what children can do to understand, find out more, take action and reflect on this topic.
You can also download our 100 Messages PDF to have a copy of all our messages for printing and sharing, view our Water, Sanitation & Hygiene messages in Many Other Languages and download some FREE Resources associated with this topic.
learn, collect & share these messages!
CHILDREN SAY THAT WE CAN…
MAKE our own Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Messages using our own words in our own language!
LEARN these messages so we never forget them!
ADD these messages to our collection!
SHARE these messages with other children and our families!
WHAT CAN CHILDREN DO?
LEARN a song to help us learn how to wash our hands.
ACT out a play to show what happens to the ‘germ family’ when the ‘clean family’ move into their village.
HELP our younger brothers and sisters and make sure they know how to wash their hands.
SPEND an hour observing a group of people, watch and record how often they touch their faces, their clothes or other people.
THINK of all the ways that germs can spread from hands.
WORK together to make the school toilets clean.
LEARN how to clean water using a filter.
CLEAR the yard of poo and rubbish, then wash our hands.
START a hygiene club at school and improve our hygiene.
MAKE sure there is always plenty of firewood or fuel at home to boil water for drinking.
CLEAN up our school yard and keep it free from rubbish and dirt.
SHARE what we know about flies, dirt and germs with our families.
KEEP our water container clean and covered and always use a scoop, never our cup or hands. Show our younger brothers and sisters how to take water from the pot.
WHAT CAN CHILDREN MAKE?
WORK together to make a Tippy Tap!
HOW to make a wash mitt to hold soap for washing our bodies.
MAKE the toilet a good place to have a pee and a poo.
MAKE a fly trap out of a plastic bottle and some sugar water or poo!
CREATE a song about sunshine making water safer.
HELP make clean water to drink at home using sunlight.
MAKE a sand filter to clean dirty water.
MAKE a map of water supplies in our community and whether it is safe to drink or not.
BUILD a drying rack for cooking pots and our plates so they can dry in the sun.
MAKE a play about where germs like to hide.
WHAT CAN CHILDREN ASK?
HOW do we keep our hands clean and free from germs?
DO we have soap to use for washing hands at home?
HOW much does soap cost at the local shop?
HOW to keep our bodies clean?
HOW should we brush our teeth?
WHERE do germs come from, where they live and how do they spread?
HOW do flies live, eat and breed?
HOW do flies carry dirt on their legs?
WHAT our water sources?
HOW can we make dirty water safe to drink?
WHERE can we get plastic bottles?
WHAT cloths can we use as water filter?
WHAT hygiene practises do family members use when they prepare food?
WHERE are the places in the house that might have the most germs?
When teaching children these messages, it can be be hard to hold their interest in the topic and keep energy up. For ideas on keeping children engaged and excited, look at Closing Games & Activities.
ALL 10 MESSAGES…
WATER, SANITATION & HYGIENE
- To wash hands properly: use water, a little soap. Rub for 10 seconds, rinse & air-dry or dry with a clean cloth/paper, not on dirty clothes.
- Wash your hands properly before touching the T-zone on your face (eyes, nose and mouth) as this is where germs enter the body. Avoid touching the T-zone when you can.
- Wash your hands BEFORE preparing food, eating or giving food to babies, AFTER pee or poo or cleaning baby or helping someone who is ill.
- Keep your body and clothes fresh and clean. Keep your nails & toes, teeth & ears, face & hair CLEAN. Shoes/flip-flops protect against worms.
- Keep human & animal poo & pee away from flies that spread germs. Use latrines and afterwards, wash your hands & body well.
- Keep your face fresh and clean. Wash well with a little clean water and soap in the morning and in the evening, plus if flies buzz near sticky eyes.
- Don’t touch clean, safe water with dirty hands or cups. Keep it safe and free from germs.
- Sunlight makes water safer. Filter it into a plastic bottles and leave for 6 hours in the sun until it’s safer to drink.
- When you can, use the sun to dry and destroy germs on plates and utensils after washing.
- Kill or reduce flies by keeping the home and community free from rubbish and dirt. Store rubbish safely until it’s collected, burned or buried.