Turtles, Hand Washing, Craft & Song

July 31, 2013 in Children's Health Education, Creative Adventures

Turtle Hatchlings, Hand Washing, Craft & Song

Did you know turtles give us another reason for hand washing?  Reptiles can carry the bacteria Salmonella which is the reason for practicing good hand hygiene after handling turtles. What a surprise to my husband and I when we walked up on some hungry crows digging up a turtle’s nest. We shooed the crows away and discovered a couple of turtles with a little life left in them.

There were some children playing nearby, so we invited them to discover the brand new premature hatchlings. Being respectful of the little creatures, in light of the hungry lurking crows, everyone decided they must go in the ocean. This young boy gently places two of them in the waves.

 The next day while visiting the Ocean Center, we found a nice big cooler outside for hatchlings found and in danger. The Ocean Center takes them in, nurtures them and then releases them when they became strong.

 The Ocean Center helps to protect the hatchlings from humans too by taping off the egg nest with a stiff $1000 fine for disturbing them.

 Turtles are interesting creatures. We know they mate because they lay eggs. But did you know that the mother will lay her eggs and then leave them to fend for themselves. It is curious to me that the mother just leaves, in most of the animal kingdom mothers nurture and protect their young. I like to think that they all meet up again in the great big ocean to have their family reunion, mate with neighbor turtles and then make their own trek to the shore to lay their eggs.

None the less I wanted to share with you some safety measures about turtles. Turtles and other reptiles can carry the Salmonella Bacteria which can cause diarrhea, stomach problems, fever and fatal illness in some cases. Because of the risk to especially young children there has been a ban on the sale of turtles less than 4 inches.

The CDC has some great info on preventing Salmonella. The CDC’s main points are.

Don’t own a turtle.  

Don’t touch a turtle or its habitat.

Do wash your hands if you have touched either. 

CDC Salmonella Info. Link

Below are some fun activities to do with your children to reinforce learning about turtle safety and good hand washing.

I came across a couple of fun books about turtles while on vacation in Florida. I found them at the Ocean Center where they have loads of ocean creature books. The books are also available on Amazon.  

The one below is about two sister hatchlings that make it to the ocean and then return years later to lay their eggs.

This one is about a mother sharing the turtle experience with her daughter and creating a journal. Watching, waiting and learning about the sea turtles. It has lots of great pictures.

I took a short video of the hatchlings we found but it paled against this video I found on YouTube. It shows the nest of turtles ready to make their run for the ocean with human on lookers cheering them on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8eGw1oyYoQ Link for mobile devices 🙂

I read the two books with my young patient and then we created a turtle together out of an oatmeal box and cardboard.  Very easy to create.

Items you will need:

Oatmeal box, cardboard, razor/scissors, paints, brushes, googly eyes, suction cup hook.

Remove the paper from your oatmeal box. Cut off the bottom of the oatmeal box making it about 3-4 inches high.

Cut some legs, a tail and a head. Make sure to make the insertion part a little longer so you can push it into the turtle body later.

Paint all the parts, let dry.  Add a few turtle shell designs on the body of the turtle in a lighter color. Let all parts dry completely.

Cut slits around the turtle body for the legs, head and tail. Insert parts and glue eyes to head.

Optional: make a hole in the side for a short string, place suction cup hanger on the window and hang your turtle.

Option for older children: it would be fun to cut a design in the turtle shell and use different colored tissue paper to cover the openings so when you hang it in the window the light will illuminate it making it look like stained glass.

Hand washing activity: Explain the importance of hand washing after handling animals especially turtles because of the bacteria they may carry called Salmonella. You can give everyone a tub to wash in while singing “Rubba Dub Dub” (kids love water play) or you can go two by two to the sink singing as you go. Individual hand washing lesson with song available here.

Check out another fun activity from our friends at Nanobugs. Salmonella coloring page  

Click on this link, open the link, find Salmonella on the page and click to read info. Nanobugs has lots of fun info on other virus’ and bacteria and good hand hygiene info as well. Great educational resource!

Below are part of the lyrics to one of my songs yet to be recorded, maybe you can attach the words to your child’s drawing of a turtle sitting on a rock or an old tire.

Little Turtle I can tell, you like sunshine on your shell

You sun all day and you sleep at night, little turtle you’re all right

Little animals we like you, little animals special too

Little animals live with man, little animals in God’s hand.

Dawn Ginese

Hope you enjoy this turtle hand washing theme with your young children today. Do you have any turtle songs or activities about hand washing you can share with us? Comment below!

Come Sing & Learn with us!

Ms. Dawn,

Other ocean theme activities you may enjoy: 

♥ Stingrays , ♥ Beach care♥ Beach Safety Hand Washing/Germs


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