Manners are a learned practice and this page will help you do both: Help your children learn manners and practice manners!
This Theme page is just a beginning of ideas. I would love to add to this page so please use the "Contact Me" link to the left to send your ideas!
Let the Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Manners Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Use A Tissue!
Materials needed: Paper plates, markers, yarn (for hair), googly eyes, glue, tissues
Encourage the children to make a face on their plate, adding yarn for hair and eyes, a mouth and nose. The children glue a tissue on their nose as a reminder of good nose manners!
Tissue Paper Collage
No, this is not theme related! I'm just on a tissue roll!
Provide lots of pre-cut tissue paper in a variety of colors for the children to make collages!
Materials needed: magazines, scissors, glue sticks, large poster board
Have the children find pictures of people using manners such as wiping their mouths after eating, washing hands, opening a door, helping to clean up, etc.
They cut out the pictures and glue to the poster board. Have this out at a center during your entire theme so children can add to it!
Please and Thank You Art
Encourage children to paint pictures of activities where they should say please and thank you. This would be a great follow up to the Please and Thank You Circle Time Chart activity.
Manners are many times lacking in the block area when four or five children want to use the same truck, car, farm animal, etc. If you have introduced new items to this area, sit with the children who come to the block area today and demonstrate how to use manners and wait their turn without grabbing a toy!
"Joey, may I have a turn when you're done?"
(You may need to watch the clock after this agreement is made. I typically will say something like "That is great sharing, Joey! Okay, Sue, in 5 minutes, Joey's turn will be over and it will be your turn. Then Joey can have another turn!)
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
In advance, trace and cut out some hand shapes from paper. Give one to each child.
Remind them that at circle time, we all want to share ideas but need to take turns. If we all talk at the same time, we won't be able to hear what each person is saying. So, when you want to say something at circle time, please raise your hand and wait for me to call your name.
Let's practice. I'm going to ask a question. When you have an answer, raise your paper hand and wait for me to call your name.
Then ask questions like "What color is this paper?" How old are you?
Have the children act out different scenarios such as:
Two children pretend to bump into each other. Ask the children "What should you say?" (Excuse me, I'm sorry)
One child pretends to sneeze. "What should we do when we sneeze?" (Sneeze into your elbow!) and "What do we say when someone sneezes?" (God bless you).
Use a puppet to act out some situations!
Perhaps your puppet will keep interrupting you when you are trying to talk to the children. Have the children help the puppet learn how to wait his/her turn!
Perhaps your puppet is eating a cracker with its mouth open and it is falling over the floor (teaching chewing with our mouths closed).
Perhaps your puppet sneezes all over you!
Have fun with this! You could do this each day to teach the new "polite" idea of the day!
Please and Thank You Chart
Bring a large piece of chart paper to circle and markers.
Make two columns. Label one "Please" and the other "Thank You".
Ask the children to name times it would be appropriate to say "please" and "thank you" and print their responses on the chart. Reinforce the ideas they come up with throughout the year!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Please and Thank You
This is not a cooking idea but a snack time politeness idea! During snack time, remind the children to use what they have learned. Remind them, "When we ask if you would like some (juice, water, etc.) we don't just say "Yeah" or nod our heads. We say "Yes Please" or "No, thank you". And when you are given your snack, you say "Thank You" and I say "You're Welcome!".
Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area
Materials: Set up a table with plates, cups, etc. The children can cook for each other using "Please" "Thank You" etc.
Have your dramatic play area/corner set up as a restaurant or cafe. The children take orders, place orders and pretend to be diners as well as serving and ordering food and drinks. (Thank you to Pamela for adding these ideas!)
Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Turn Taking Spray Bottles!
Fill one spray bottle with water.
Hang one large coffee filter on the easel.
The children share the markers to try and cover the entire filter.
They then take turns spraying the coffee filter!
Themed Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together.
Mother May I?
Use your parachute to teach saying hello to a friend when they say hello to you!
Everyone holds the parachute. You say "Hello XXX (child's name)". When you say hello, they need to say hello back to you. When they do, everyone shakes the parachute up and down and says HELLO!
Theme Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom
Book Suggestions for the Library
Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell
It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel by Caralyn Buehner
Manners by Aliki
Mind Your Manners, Ben Bunny by Mavis Smith
Pass the Peas, Please! by Dina Anastasio
Perfect Pigs by Marc Brown
Say Please by Virginia Austin
Say the Magic Word by Marc Brown
Themed activities to help your preschoolers develop those small muscles and motor skills!
Any age appropriate board game will help encourage turn taking and manners here!
Provide a spinner or dice, bowls, and sorters (pom poms, teddy bear counters, etc.).
Each child has an empty bowl.
Place the sorters/counters in a bowl between them.
One child spins the spinner or rolls a die and asks the other child for that many items:
"May I have 3 pom poms please?"
The other child counts out three and places them into their partners bowl. The child receiving says "Thank you" the giver says "You're welcome"
They take turns with the spinner and counting out items for their partner, trying to remember to use their manners!
Themed Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!
We Say Thank You
We say thank you. We say please.
We say excuse me when we sneeze.
That's the way we do what's right.
We have manners and we're polite!
Themed Activities for the Senses!
You've probably made these for other themes, but they work great for a manners/sharing theme as well!
Make jars (that you cannot see through) with different smells. Do this by placing a cotton ball in each one with a scent (vanilla, vinegar, etc.).
The children should offer the one they smell to their friend, "Would you like to smell this one?" "Yes, Please!" "Here you go!" "Thank you!"
As children play at the sensory table, encourage them to use their manners rather than reaching over each other for shoves, cars, etc.
Themed Science Activities for Preschool Scientists in Training!
Materials Needed: clear paint cups or plastic cups (1 empty one for each pair of children and many filled with different colors of water), a pitcher of water, an empty bucket or bin, pipettes
The children work in pairs for this activity. Each pair has one cup to share and each child has a pipette.
The children take turns pouring water into their cup.
The pairs take turns using pipettes to drop a few drops of colored water into their shared cup, creating their own colors!
Other Partner Science Activities
Provide other science activities where children must share and/or work together such as planting and caring for the plant as well as journaling about it together as it grows.
Writing Activity Ideas for Your Theme!
(Thank you to Pamela for the following ideas!)
Materials needed: cards, paper, markers, stickers, etc.
The children write invitation cards for a pretend party.
Thank You Cards
The children write thank you cards for coming to the pretend party or for a gift received!