Games to Teach Kids Good Manners

By Susan Ward
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Teaching children good manners builds a foundation for social interactions throughout their lives—with siblings, friends, relatives, teachers and employers. With very little children, the first manners many are taught are the words "please" and "thank you." As children get older, they learn to share, wait their turn, raise their hand, eat politely, shake hands and make introductions. Games add an element of fun to teaching manners to children of any age.

Role Play

Teach children a new etiquette rule and then ask them to create a miniscene to act out that polite action. For example, ask them to create a correct version and an impolite version, too. Alternatively, have the teachers or adults role play manners, both correct and incorrect, and ask the children to pick the right one.

Continuing Story

Have the children tell a story about good manners. Create the scene for children, and then have each child add one piece of the story. Each person will be required to tell about someone with good manners, or have every other child tell a part of the story with someone using bad manners. Of course, the person using bad manners would have difficulties due to their bad manners.

Mind Your Manners and Blunders Game

The board game "Mind Your Manners" teaches young children proper and improper manners, using 100 different picture cards. Children move around the board as they learn manners. The game is appropriate for ages 4 and up and is for two to four players. Blunders teaches children table manners, introductions, guest and host skills, not to gossip, to show respect and telephone manners. The game may be an appropriate fit with some school curricula discussing character traits. Designed for ages 5 to 10, it can be played by two or more players.

Mr. Manners Says

A variation on Simon Says, Mr. Manners states polite or impolite statements, along with the accompanying action. Children do the activity if it is polite, but stand still if it's an impolite statement. For example, the statement, "Mr. Manners says shake hands when you meet a new person," would result in the children holding out their hand to shake because it is a polite action. The statement, "Mr. Manners says tell Dad you hate the dinner he fixed," would have the kids standing still because it is not a polite action. Children mistakenly participating in an impolite action might sit out for a short time, and then rejoin the game.

About the Author

Susan Ward, M.A., writes about family, parenting, and children's mental health issues for multiple publications. She has been published in various special interest publications, both in print and online, in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. since 1989. She's also authored two books and numerous booklets.