This activity is part of my Activity of the Day series. This series features easy, fun activities to do with your little ones (and big kids) at home. Visit the Activity of the Day page to find out more information on how to sign up for reminders and follow along on social media. Activities are posted on the blog every weekday.

Germ Attack Experiment

This activity is a simple activity that can be used to teach kids about germs and why they should wash their hands with soap.


  • pepper (glitter works too)
  • soap (we used dish soap)
  • bowl or plate
  • water

Set Up

  1. Fill a bowl or plate with water.
  2. Sprinkle pepper across the top of the water.
  3. Touch the pepper with one finger. Observe that it doesn’t move.
  4. Dip your finger in soap and touch the water again.
  5. Observe and discuss what happens when soap touches the water.

Babies (under 1)

This activity could be done with older babies. The adult should be the one doing all of the steps and demonstrating how it works. Watch for the reaction of your baby. (Don’t be disappointed if they don’t react. This is not the best activity for a baby.)

Toddlers (1-3)

Start by talking to your child about sickness and germs. There are several kids episodes and videos on the topic that you could use as well. Do the experiment together, involving your toddler in as many steps as possible. Have extra supplies ready as you may need to do it more than once. Afterwards, talk about washing hands and take time to practice washing your hands in the sink.

Preschoolers (3-5)

For preschoolers, you can follow the directions and tips for toddlers. Preschoolers will probably be ready for more in-depth discussions.

Big Kids (6+)

For big kids, you can extend this activity and include measurement skills. Have your big kid measure out the water and pepper. Before starting the experiment and throughout the experiment, ask your child to make predictions about what will happen. Once again, finish this activity with some hand washing practice. You can also extend the learning by trying different spices and soaps to see if any other combinations work.


This activity can be used for a variety of ages. The pepper separates because the soap breaks the surface tension of the water. It’s a great visual for teaching about germs. You can supplement the learning with videos about germs and how they affect our lives.

This activity is a part of our Activity of the Day series. This series was created to help parents with activities to do during school closures due to the coronavirus. Check back every weekday for new activity that you can do with kids of all ages!

Help your little one understand germs with this simple science experiment.