Preschool is a great time to start introducing basic health topics. You can cover a variety of health issues at a preschool level. The kids learn how to better take care of themselves.
Washing hands is something that preschoolers need to do regularly to reduce the spread of germs. But they might not always do a good job. Use your health lesson to teach the proper way to wash hands. Let all of the kids practice scrubbing very well on all sides and scrubbing long enough.
You can also show kids how germs spread with glitter. Put a squirt of lotion on each child’s hand and have him rub it in slightly. Now sprinkle a different color of glitter on three or four kids’ hands. Let the kids shake hands with everyone in the room. Eventually the glitter passes around to different hands. The glitter represents the germs that kids might spread to one another. Now have the kids wash their hands really well to see how more “germs” wash away the more you scrub.
You can’t plan a preschool health unit without discussing nutrition. This gives the young kids a chance to practice making healthy food choices. You can cover a variety of topics, including the MyPyramid food categories. Show the kids what a normal balanced day would look like in food. You can also cook with the kids to introduce them to healthy foods.
Another key health component to teach preschoolers is exercise. You likely incorporate active play into the preschool day already, but the health lessons on physical activity give you a chance to emphasize how important movement is. You can talk about different types of exercise and ways kids can work in physical activity that are fun.
Dental care is another area that is important for preschoolers to learn. Hopefully all of your preschool students have been to the dentist, but some may not have a regular dental care routine yet. Teach kids how to properly brush. You might even get a local dentist to come speak to the kids or let you take a field trip to his office. Ask for toothbrush donations so the kids can practice brushing at preschool.
Another idea is to encourage more brushing at home with a chart. Send home a brushing chart with each child. They mark off each time they brush their teeth. Encourage them to bring the chart back to school.
Don’t forget about helping your preschoolers relieve stress. They might not have bills to pay or work responsibilities, but even kids feel stressed. The health unit is a great time to talk about emotions, especially anger or sadness. Teach the preschoolers ways to relieve their stress with relaxation techniques, deep breathing or yoga.