Fun Activities that Teach Good Manners to Children

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Teaching children good manners and etiquette gives them a strong foundation for navigating their life successfully. The best way to teach your child manners is to through shared activities. Here are 7 fun activities that teach good manners to children and grandchildren.

Playful ways to teach kids manners are super effective because it’s not like teaching at all! You are using play and activities to create situations where a child has to naturally use manners. I’ve created activities that are not only fun but will give you lots of opportunities to naturally demonstrate etiquette and manners.

Teaching Children Good Manners and Etiquette

Of course, you could tell your child or grandchild about manners or read a book to them about it. But like most things, we learn best by actually doing something. There are so many ways to teach your child manners through shared activities.

To help with this, I’ve put together this list of 7 fun activities that teach good manners to children. The best part? These will be pleasurable for you too! As a grandparent, I love finding ways of sharing time with my grandchildren and creating memories with them.

These “teaching manners activities” while being fun and entertaining, also give your child or grandchild important life skills!

Easily teach your child manners and etiquette is through example and practice. Here are 7 fun activities that teach good manners to children.

Why Manners are Important?

A well-behaved child is never out of style. I’m not talking about raising little robots who can’t think or act for themselves. Good manners and etiquette knowledge give your child or grandchild CONFIDENCE. When they know how to act in any situation, they will feel more comfortable throughout life.

We often think that our children need more academics to make them successful. Yet, what most children need more of, are social skills that will help them be comfortable and connect with others. Good manners are part of forming healthy social connections that will benefit your child or grandchild for life.

Whether your child is introverted, or extraverted, good manners can help them shine in social situations. They don’t have to figure out what to do—there are rules! Kids love structure and knowing what they are “supposed” to do. They really do. With enough practice, manners become second nature.

Fun Activities that Teach Good Manners to Children

When teaching children good manners and etiquette take the, any opportunity is a good opportunity approach. As a benefit, you’ll spiff up your own manners and etiquette.

Meals at Home

Teaching Manners Activities

  • Setting the table correctly
  • Using please and thank you
  • All the basic table manners below.

Every meal doesn’t have to be formal of course, but it’s good to always practice good table manners at home. Do you remember them all?

  • Wait until everyone is served to begin eating
  • Put your napkin in your lap
  • Please pass the…
  • Thank others for passing you food
  • Don’t talk with food in your mouth/Keep your mouth closed while chewing
  • Don’t put your elbows on the table
  • Don’t reach across someone or across the table
  • No singing at the table (it was a rule at our house for some reason)
  • Don’t interrupt someone who is talking
  • No cell phones at the table (that includes adults too)
  • Stay at the table until you are excused

To help children remember to mind their manners

Set the table with silverware and napkins and try to have meals together as often as possible. Set the standard for your table. Children are not born knowing table manners.

Left to their own, they eat like little animals. Sometimes it’s fun to not worry about manners but be sure and have a few dinners each month or even each week, where you focus on basic table manners. You’ll be glad you did.

Dinner or Lunch at a Restaurant

Teaching Manners Activities

  • How to order food and treat servers
  • How to use the silverware provided,
  • what to do with the napkin,
  • How to pay the bill, how to tip,
  • How to have conversation,
  • What to do instead of being on the phone

In a restaurant, it’s always a good idea to practice the basic table manners from above.

Eating out manners are important too. I’ll never forget a meal with new acquaintances. Their child was on a tablet the entire time and the parents took turns hand-feeding him while he watched videos! I can’t even imagine what that is teaching a child.

Eating out is a great opportunity for children to learn and practice all kinds of manners. I love that my grandchildren (ages 5 to 10) know how to sit at the table, eat what they ordered, and participate in the family conversation. No phones or tablets allowed for anyone!

In addition, by including children in meals out, they can observe how you talk to and treat your server and other wait staff. They can learn to navigate the menu and order their own food.

If you aren’t Teaching children good manners and etiquette, someone else is going to have to!

Several years ago, I took a group of teens out to a nice lunch, so we could practice eating out manners. For some of those teens, they had never been out to a real restaurant and we had fun practicing restaurant etiquette.

When my son-in-law was in college, his business school taught him how to eat out and I remember him sharing what he had learned when we would eat out. We all improved!

How many times have you had to double-check, which water or bread plate was yours? Or which fork should you be using? Or wondered what to do with your napkin if you had to get up?

If you are sure of some of these things, a quick Google search or some of the books listed below can get you up and running.

See a Live Show

Teaching Manners Activities

  • Dressing appropriately
  • Being quiet during a show
  • Being thoughtful about the people in front of you and behind you

Don’t you wish everyone had these kinds of skills? How many times have you been at a movie or live show and the people behind you or in front of you have ruined it for you with talking, moving around a lot, or getting up and down excessively.

Teaching children good manners and etiquette through going to a live event or show is a wonderful way to show them how to behave in a way that lets them have a good time but also lets the people around them have a show. Plus it helps make you an unforgettable grandparent!

Teaching children good manners and etiquette through going to a live event or show is a wonderful way to show them how to behave in a way that lets them have a good time but also lets the people around them have a show.

You can use these opportunities to talk about the appropriate kind of clothes to wear. For the most part, neat and clean works well for most events. If you’re doing a theater type show, dresses and dressier pants and shirts can be nice too.

This isn’t about just dressing up; it’s about getting the mindset that this activity is different than just hanging out at home and watching TV.

Talk about show manners ahead of time. Plan activities based on your child’s age. My 10-year old granddaughter can do a live show like a pro. My 4-year old, struggled with a live show, not because she didn’t enjoy it but because it was just too long for her to sit still. That was on me! The next time, I took her to a more age-appropriate show and she did great.

The basic things a child should know for live shows and theater movies is to be quiet and be respectful of the people sitting around them. I’m a grown up and sometimes I get caught up in a show and want to talk to the person next to me. I’ve been shushed before!

So, it’s important to understand that children aren’t going to be perfect all the time. Being perfect isn’t the point—learning about how to behave is. This is all practice!

Go to a Playground

Teaching Manners Activities:

  • Taking your turn
  • Introducing yourself to people
  • Being friendly by smiling
  • Saying hello.
  • Making eye-contact with others

Yes, you can use the playground for playful ways to teach kids manners. Back in the day, playground was where we all learned many social skills. It’s still a great place to help your child learn etiquette and manners.

Since you’ll be there to monitor, you can keep an eye on things. Before you go, you can talk to your child about some things that will make the playground experience more fun.

Yes, you can use the playground for playful ways to teach kids manners. Back in the day, playground was where we all learned many social skills. It’s still a great place to help your child learn etiquette and manners.

My daughter has taught her daughter to say hi and introduce herself to other children. Most children long to play with other children. It just takes one to get the play started. If your child masters this skill, they will have a leg up for the rest of their life!

Playgrounds are also a great place for learning to wait and to take your turn. Not only does your child at times need to wait and take a turn but at times they will have to assert themselves to get a turn.

If saying hi and introducing themselves is too much for your child, encourage them to make eye-contact and smile at others. Teach your kids to make friends easily.

Have Friends over for an Activity

Teaching Manners Activities

  • Extending an invitation
  • Greeting guests
  • Making sure everyone feels welcome,
  • Making sure everyone is included

Give playdates or having friends over more meaning. The way to get the most out of this activity is to go over a few things with your child first. While you might normally do all these things, if you verbalize them, then your child or grandchild can internalize the importance.

No matter what fun activity you have planned, plan on having a few goals. Talk to your child about how they want to extend the invitation. Are you going to call and talk to the parents? Will you send text or email? What do you want to say in the invitation?

Plan on how you will greet your guests. What do you say when you open the door? How will you make them feel welcome? What kinds of things will you say?

“It’s so nice to see you.”

“Thank you for coming, we really appreciate that you are here!”

“Please come in, let me show you where we will be playing.”

Thank You Card Writing

Teaching Manners Activities

  • How to thank people and express gratitude for what others do
  • How to write a thank you note
  • How to create a personalized thank you

It’s never too early to learn to say thanks to someone for a gift they gave you or something nice they did. When the next birthday or holiday comes around that your child receives gifts for, have a Thank You Card Writing Party.

If there are multiple cards to write, pick out a set of thank you cards to make it a little easier. Even if your child can’t write yet, they can dictate their own words to you and sign the card with their name, initial, or a scribble.

If your child can write, help them word their thanks. Remember, thank-you notes don’t have to be long, but they should be sincere.

If you are thanking someone for something nice they did, and your child only needs to do one card, nothing beats a homemade card from a child. Depending on the age, it may be a drawn picture, picture and some words, or an actual thank you note.

This is one of those activities that teach good manners and family and friends LOVE getting these things!

Act of Caring for Another

Teaching Manners Activities

  • How to show caring and respect in appropriate ways
  • The different types of life events for which you can show caring
  • Why it’s important to show you care

Sometimes it is difficult to know the right things to say and do even for adults. Modeling this as an adult to a child will teach them ways to show they care to other people.

When someone is going through a tough time or a big event, it’s important to show some sign that you care. This can be done through many ways: visiting, writing a sympathy or congratulations note, preparing a treat or meal to deliver, praying for someone, or making a phone call.

Include your child or grandchild in these types of things if you can. This teaches them actual things they can do for others when they are suffering or celebrating.

For Mother’s Day, I had my two older granddaughters come over and we made picture frames for their mom as a craft. Earlier in the day we had taken pictures with all three granddaughters to go in them. The girls love making a special gift for their mom.

For Mother’s Day, I had my two older granddaughters come over and we made picture frames for their mom as a craft.

How to Teach Kids About Manners in a Playful Way

Have fun with teaching your child how to have manners and behave in all kinds of social situations. I believe that a basic understanding of etiquette and manners is essential to a child’s life and that they will appreciate you when they are older.

This isn’t school! Make it fun and learn together. I’m including some shoppable links if you need (affiliate disclosure here) to brush up on you manners or etiquette as well.

Check out these books about teaching children good manners and etiquette

This is a story about kindness and caring actions.

Emily Post has been famous for teaching manners forever!

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