Primary Current Assemblies


Global handwashing day (15 October)

By Janice Ross

Suitable for Reception and Key Stage 1


To increase awareness of the importance of washing our hands with soap to prevent the spread of diseases.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a teacher or other volunteer to help you, an apron, a whiteboard, bowl of warm water, soap, white hand towel and some paper towels. Ensure that you have visibly ‘dirty’ hands at the very start of this assembly.
  • Visit for some useful suggestions for further activities.



  1. First, perform the following role-play.

    Come in wearing the apron and with very obviously ‘dirty’ hands. Wipe your hands on your apron, then go to write on the whiteboard, leaving a dirty splodge, then say, ‘Oh no!’ Put your hands on your cheeks and, again, leave dirty marks.

    Have the other teacher or volunteer bring in the bowl of water and the other materials listed above.

    Then you can say, ‘Excuse me, children, I must just wash my hands before I start.’

    Dip your hands quickly in and out of the bowl of water and dry them on the white towel, making it very dirty. Say, ‘Oh no!’

    The other teacher or volunteer says, ‘No, no, no! That’s not the way we wash our hands, is it children?’ then proceeds to show what a good way to wash your hands is, with soap and water. You look on, then say, ‘Now I remember!’

  2. Being yourself again, explain to the children that a quick dip in and out of water is not really the way you should wash your hands. That does no good at all. You need warm water and soap to do the job properly. Say, ‘I wonder how many hands here just get a quick dip and not a proper wash?’

    Ask the children to think about all the times when we need to wash our hands with warm water and soap.

  3. Read the following poem, inviting the children to join in with the chorus.

    Water and soap,
    Water and soap,
    I only hope
    There’s warm water and soap!

    For my hands are dirty,
    I’ve been painting you see,
    Fireworks and rockets
    Shooting over the trees.

    Water and soap  . . .

    For my hands are dirty,
    I’ve been playing you see,
    With tractors and fire engines
    As busy as a bee.

    Water and soap  . . .

    For my hands are dirty,
    I’ve been gardening you see,
    Digging and lifting
    Potatoes for tea.

    Water and soap  . . .

  4. Note how our hands do get very dirty, as it says in the poem, when we have been painting or playing on the floor with cars and tractors or working in the garden. It is important to wash our hands after all these activities.

  5. Explain that it is usually easy to see dirt, but we can’t see germs. Explain, too, that germs are the tiny bugs that hide in dirty things around us and often spread illnesses like tummy upsets and flu.

    Go on to explain that there is one time when we can pick up these germs very easily and can even pass them on to someone else – that is when we go to the toilet. Impress on the children that it is very, very important to wash our hands properly after going to the toilet.

    Now read the last verse of the poem.

    For my hands are dirty,
    From the toilet you see,
    They might look quite clean

    Water and soap  . . .



Time for reflection


Ask a child to come up and demonstrate how to wash your hands correctly while the rest of the children reflect on how important this simple activity is that they have been reminded of today. 


Dear God,
Thank you for clean water and soap to wash our hands with.
Please help us to remember how we can stay safe from germs.



‘Water of life’ (Come and Praise, 2)











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