Activity: 2009 World Thinking Day Activity - Washing Hands

World Thinking Day 2009

February 22, World Thinking Day, is when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world celebrate the joint birthdays of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. It reminds us that we are members of a global organization for girls and women and to think about our sisters in other parts of the world. More importantly, it encourages us to use our creativity and leadership to make a difference in our local and global communities and to raise the funds our Movement needs to continue its important work.

The World Thinking Day theme for 2009 is girls worldwide say “stop the spread of AIDS, malaria and other diseases”. WAGGGS believes that education is one of the most powerful strategies for reducing vulnerability to HIV and AIDS and other diseases. Through the non-formal education Guiding provides, girls gain the self-esteem, confidence and life-skills necessary to combat diseases.

This activity sheet offers an activity that you can do with Sparks in order to start them on that journey. More information can be found on the WAGGGS World Thinking Day website at

Washing Hands

What You Need:

  • Cooking oil
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Cinnamon Sinks

What You Do:

  1. Divide the girls into three small groups. Each group needs access to sinks or tubs of water.
  2. All the Sparks need to roll up their sleeves so their hands and wrists are exposed.
  3. Put around 1 tbsp. of cooking oil in the hands of each Spark.
  4. Ask the Sparks to rub this oil thoroughly on her hands, like lotion.
  5. Then go around and sprinkle about ½ tsp. ground cinnamon on each pair of hands.
  6. The Sparks need to rub the cinnamon with the oil all over their hands.
  7. Each group will use a different hand washing technique.
    • Cold water only
    • Warm water only
    • Warm water with soap
  8. Have the students compare their hands. Note who still has oil and cinnamon left on their hands.
  9. Demonstrate and explain the importance of the temperature of the water with the application of soap and friction to clean hands thoroughly. It takes a minimum of 20 seconds to clean hands or about as long as it takes to sing the ABCs.
  10. Again, have all of the girls thoroughly wash their hands singing the ABC song together.
  11. Follow this activity with a discussion about the importance of hand washing in staying healthy.
  12. Talk about things like why we wash our hands and when we should wash our hands.

Thanks to Juanita Mason for this activity.