Activities to Teach Children Manners

Children often forget their manners when they are at school, interacting with others or playing with friends. A refresher course in manners can help remind them of the proper way to speak, act and talk to others. Creating activities to teach children manners can help them enjoy the process, and more readily remember the principles that you've taught them. Make learning about manners fun and enjoyable, and you may notice a marked difference in your child's ability to act responsibly and politely.

Fancy Dinner

At home, set up a formal, fancy dinner to talk to your kids about the right manners at the dinner table, recommends Make a special meal, light candles and use a table cloth and formal place settings. Use the opportunity to point out ways to be polite and have good manners while eating; waiting until everyone has their food to eat, using napkins properly and the right way to sit at the table.

Simon Says

Use a reformed version of the old game "Simon Says" to talk to children about how to say "please" and "thank you." Instead of using the words "Simon says" as the qualifying words, use the word "please" as the qualifying word; meaning, children should only follow you if you first say "please." Those who follow your action without your saying "please" are out of the game. Remember to thank the children after each action.

Snakes and Ladders

Create a stack of cards that have things that might be considered bad manners and actions that would be considered good manners. Dust off your classic games of "Snakes and Ladders," and when a child lands on a snake space, he must take a bad manners card and read aloud about the bad manners. A ladder merits a good manners card. If the children you are playing with can't read, use pictures instead.


Create a fun activity by using old cell phones or toy phones. Make up a short skit and "call" the child. Talk about telephone safety and the right way to address a phone call. You can make the situations for the phone calls funny and silly to bring laughter to the activity, but use the opportunity to teach children the right telephone etiquette.

Manners Detective

The Good Apple Guide to Manners for Kids uses a "Manners Detective" activity to teach children about the difference between good and bad manners. Give all of the children a badge to be a detective, and then run through different scenarios. The children listen to the scenario, and then decide if the person in the scenario exhibits good manners or bad manners. They can help identify and then internalize what constitutes as good manners.