Teacher’s Viral ‘Bread Experiment’ Teaches Kids a Valuable Lesson About Washing Hands


We all know in theory that it’s important to wash our hands to prevent the spread of germs, especially during cold and flu season. We tell our kids to wash their hands before they eat, after they use the bathroom, and after they’ve touched the bottoms of their shoes. Yet, kids don’t seem to quite get the full importance of hand-washing.

Recently, one teacher shared a very creative, very visual and somewhat gross way to demonstrate how important it really is to wash your hands. We say “gross,” but it’s gross in a way that really gets your attention and makes you realize cause and effect.

Courtney Lee Simpson, a teacher, shared in a now viral Facebook post how she got the kids in her class to understand just how important it is to wash their hands. She wasn’t necessarily doing the experiment to encourage hand washing. It was part of a lesson about how germs spread, but it definitely shows what happens when you don’t wash your hands.

Simpson conducted a simple experiment with her class. As she explains in the post, “You use three pieces of bread. You let all the kids see you put a piece of bread in a baggy with a glove on hence ‘controlled’ then you wash your hands and put a piece of bread in a baggy for ‘clean’ last but definitely not least you pass a piece of bread around and let every kid in class touch it then you put it in a baggy and label it ‘dirty.’”

That’s it. Then you wait and “Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs.”

The results of the experiment very clearly demonstrate just what germs can do. As Simpson says about the “dirty” bread, “It has some pretty funky looking things growing on it.”

Simpson definitely thinks the lesson was effective. She says her students “definitely wash their hands now because of that experiment! They are afraid that if they don’t their hands will look like that bread!!”

One commenter wrote, “I did this a couple years ago and kid you not it terrified me!”

Yes, it certainly does look terrifying to us too. If our kids had to look at this every day, we’re pretty sure they’d never forget to wash their hands again. For that matter, if we had to look at this every day, we would never forget to wash our hands.

Would you try this experiment with your kids? Do you think it would be effective?