Coronavirus: top 5 handwashing songs for children

Which viral video will prompt better hand hygiene from students? Grainne Hallahan gives the lowdown on the virus showdown

Grainne Hallahan

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With the threat of Coronavirus, or Covid-19, looming over us, we should all be making a concerted effort to try to get nose-picking, table-licking, spoon-sharing primary-age children to wash their hands.

Thankfully, there are plenty of catchy songs on YouTube to help you – but there are some…questionable choices being made in some of them. 

We review five videos trending at the moment in an effort to find you the best one to show your children. 

1.  The official one 

First up, there is this NHS-sanctioned treat featuring a talking hand, complete with googly eyes and woolly hair.

Presumably, the makers of this video opted for this artistic choice because they think children like that sort of thing. 

Scanning issues aside, this is reasonably inoffensive and tolerable on the ear. The reminder about washing nails helps and it is a good visual aid for what thorough handwashing looks like. 

2. The repetitive one

What this song lacks in visual examples it makes up for with buckets of repetition. You could just chant "wash your hands" again and again while someone plinks out a tune on their tin pencil case and it would have largely the same effect. 

The artistic choice is a brave one. Rather than showing you how to wash your hands, for some inexplicable reason, they have chosen to show us a band of instrument-playing animals, and then lots of flying yellow penguins.

Perhaps it’s offering some suggestion as to the origins of the virus?

Either way, it's not that useful and you should probably avoid it. 

3. The earworm 

This is helpfully set to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, which helps with trying to encourage students to remember each instruction – and therefore upping the chances of your class actually remembering to wash thoroughly next time they’re doing so unsupervised.

Helpfully, it also uses lots of pictures and cute cartoons to show your pupils exactly what to wash – including parts they might miss, like their wrists.

The slightly screechy, breathless delivery should be tolerated because of the numerous other plus points. 

4. The Wiggles' handwashing song

Remember the Wiggles? No, me neither.

However, this helpful washing hands video has everything you could want: cool snare drum beat, counting to 15, and lots of directions for children to follow. 

The video doesn’t just remind children how to wash their hands but also tells them when to do it.

There is also a super helpful verse all about how to turn the tap off with your elbow – even though I’m not entirely convinced of the ability of early years children to do this without soaking their only jumper, you’ve got to give them marks for ingenuity.

5. The teacher-created one 

Apparently created by a Chinese teacher, this has a lot of viral potential and is great for getting the actions right.

It's also useful if your children are learning Chinese – there is no English translation out there as yet. 

For the latest news on the impact of Coronavirus on education, see the Tes live blog. We also have extensive advice for teachers in our Coronavirus guide

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Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan is Tes recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes

Find me on Twitter @heymrshallahan

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