Are you looking for a fun and interactive way to teach your children manners and etiquette? Use this fun role-playing lesson to practice manners at meals, on the phone, as a host or hostess, and more! I created this "lesson" to do as a 2 1/2 hour co-op lesson for elementary-aged children. Use this fun lesson with your class, family, homeschool group, or after-school program!
Introduction to Manners
1. Pray. Read and discuss Matthew 5:3-16.
2. Read Richard Scarry's Please and Thank you Book by Richard Scarry.
3. Ask children what they think manners are and why we have them.
Book to read for activity 2
4. Ask children if they have ever been somewhere where they were the new person in the group. How did they feel? What made them uncomfortable? What made them comfortable?
5. Talk about the ways that they can be a friend to someone new in a group: smile, eye contact, introductions, etc. (Use Manners Made Easy: A Workbook for Student, Parent, and Teacher by June Hines Moore if you need ideas on what to say.) Have children practice shaking hands with one another. Demonstrate what to not do when handshaking. Make sure everyone can give a nice, firm handshake while looking the other child in the eyes and saying something such as, "Nice to meet you."
6. Role play introductions by having children take turns being the new person and being the host/hostess. Praise children when they demonstrate good manners.
7. Discuss telephone manners. (Use Manners Made Easy: A Workbook for Student, Parent, and Teacher by June Hines Moore if you need ideas on what to say.) Demonstrate how important a cheerful voice is when speaking on the phone. Have children practice calling each other using cell phones. If children are able to write, have them also practice taking down a phone message.
YOU WILL NEED: phones for children
8. Ask the children to name a mealtime manner and then say why it is important to do that.
9. Read Manners at the Table by Carrie Finn.
10. Discuss mealtime manners. (Use Manners Made Easy: A Workbook for Student, Parent, and Teacher by June Hines Moore if you need ideas on what to say.)
11. Take children over to the table and show them a proper place setting. We used a simple setting (with a plate, fork, knife, spoon, napkin, & cup). Have each child set a place at the table.
YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: a plate, fork, knife, spoon, napkin, & cup
12. Show children a more elaborate setting. For the elaborate setting, discuss what each item is used for and other basics (moving outward in, following the lead of the hostess/host/adult if you don't know what to use, etc.). Remove an item from the place setting and have children take turns naming the item that is missing.
YOU WILL NEED: place settings (additional forks, knives, spoons, plates, etc.)
13. Allow children to sit down to a 3 course meal. Make sure boys help the girls into their seats before sitting down. Praise children for remembering good manners when they demonstrate them. As children dine, continue to remind them of etiquette rules and discuss how to have polite conversations.
14. Have children review what we learned today.
Looking for more great picture books that teach manners?
There are so many great books that teach manners to children! It was difficult to pare down the list to our absolute favorites!
- My Mouth Is a Volcano! by Julia Cook is a simple picture book that tells the story of a boy who feels like he has to always speak and then provides ways for him to control his speech. It is a great picture book that teaches children how to control what they say (interrupting, mean words, etc.)
- Manners Can Be Fun by Munro Leaf is wonderful! We really enjoyed the books by Munro Leaf because he includes the "why" of the manners. These are circa 1950s books that have been reprinted, so they do not have flashy illustrations. My children still really enjoyed reading them and learned from them. Also look for his other two books: How to Speak Politely & Why and How to Behave and Why.
- What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin is a really cute book that takes humorous situations (such as what to say to a dragon if he wants to eat you) and includes polite responses to the various situations. After reading many dry books that list one rule after the other, this humorous approach to manners was quite welcome. Also look for What Do You Do, Dear? by the same author.
- The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain teaches children how to act through the fun stories about the bear family. Also look for some of the other books by by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain, particularly The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts, The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect, The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule, and The Berenstain Bears Go Out to Eat.
- Manners at the Table (Way To Be!: Manners) by Carrie Finn is a simple picture book with illustrations that appeal to young children. It includes the basics about table manners. This book is part of a series that covers manners in various situations (at a friend's house, at a museum, on the telephone, in public, etc. We read many of them and thoroughly enjoyed them.
- A few more ones we enjoyed are: Madeline Says Merci by Marciano, Polite as a Princess by Melissa Arps, Lady Lupin's Book of Etiquette by Babette Cole, Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller, Emily Post Emily's Everyday Manners by Peggy Post, & Emily's Sharing and Caring Book by Cindy Senning.
Our Favorite YouTube Videos on Manners
Good YouTube Clips on Teaching Manners to Children
Looking for all my units & lessons?
Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2014 Shannon