Teaching manners to littles is important and is a skill that needs to be modeled, practiced, and reinforced on the regular. Sure, we’d love for kiddos to just pick it ALL up naturally, but the truth is, they may need a little extra practice, so why not make it a theme and have fun learning through activities! Let’s check out our FAVORITE monster manners themed ideas from the week!
The first thing I always look for when getting ready to start a new theme is books! I love setting themed books out for browsing at the start of the week. It’s fun to see what my girls will pick up on, what they know, and a great way to start conversations about our topic. Here are a few favorites from the week!
Excuse Me: A Little Book of Manners by Karen Katz: https://amzn.to/32353UP
Little Elephant Listens by Michael Dahl: https://amzn.to/2HqYlQL
Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book: https://amzn.to/2ZjKmXC
Monster Knows Table Manners by Connie Miller: https://amzn.to/2HriiH2
Monster Manners (Kindle Edition) by Sharon McCullough: https://amzn.to/2ZkDOIi
My Manners Matter by Pat Thomas: https://amzn.to/2KYggjO
READ & RETELL (LITERACY)
I absolutely LOVED starting the week with Monster Manners by Pat Thomas! It is a fun, silly read and I enjoyed how it asked specific questions, prompting my girls to learn and respond with examples of good manners. After reading, we used these little stick puppets I made to share examples and responses through pretend play as a way to retell the story. The clipart is actually a FREEBIE by Krista Wallden from Creative Clips and can be found by clicking here.
MONSTER PLAY DOUGH INVITATION (FINE MOTOR)
I’m all for play dough, so pulling out a few supplies to encourage a little CREATIVE monster building just sounded like fun! Our tray included play dough, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and cut cardstock triangles. I set it out and let the girls imagine and create! I had so much fun watching them play and when they were done we practiced sharing our monsters! We talked about the manners we should have when listening to others speak: eyes forward, body still, waiting our turn patiently, etc.
SHAPE MONSTERS (MATH)
For this activity, I pre-cut the shapes for my girls and made it a listening and following directions lesson. I said things like “find two green triangle ears. Add them to the top of your rectangle.” The lesson went really well and in the end, both girls made the cutest shape monsters! After they were done, we chanted some whole body listening examples: “Monster eyes looking. Monster ears listening. Monster mouth quiet.” They had a blast! Grab this shape monster FREEBIE HERE in my shop.
MONSTER TABLE MANNERS (DRAMATIC PLAY)
Practicing table manners with littles doesn’t have to be stressful and can be really fun if you set up a pretend table scene. Kids learn by doing and setting up a simple table scene gave my girls the opportunity to practice all the manners we had been talking about. Earlier in the day, we read aloud Monster Knows Table Manners and I asked questions to help them make connections to how we see and use table manners in real life. Then in the afternoon, they saw this set-up and right away wanted to play. I sat back, watched, and listened, and you know what they were totally practicing and modeling EVERYTHING we talked about. It was the CUTEST! And want to tie in math? Talk about colors, talk about shapes, order 3 pieces of cake to get in counting, etc.
We pulled out our letter mats and a cup of googly monster eyes to outline and practice forming each letter. I started with letter M, for M is for Monster, and then pulled out a variety of letters. Zoey (2) is working on the letters in her name so we reviewed and chanted those, while Riley (4) is working of a few tricky lowercase letters so I specifically pulled out the ones she needed to work on. We LOVE these letter mats because they are easy to pull out for any theme, just pair with a fun manipulative to match. You can find them here or by clicking on the picture above.
FEED THE MONSTER (CRAFT & LITERACY/MATH ACTIVITY)
You GUYS! Look at these adorable monsters! We had so much fun making monsters out of tissue boxes and I think it is a craft all littles would enjoy. For this craft I had the girls free paint their boxes one day, then set out a tray of materials for them to decorate the next. Yes, those are pouch lids as ears! I did have to help secure on some of the items with hot glue, but other than that I let the girls at it.
After we crafted I pulled out magnetic letters, shapes, and numbers and we got to FEEDING our monsters. This is such a great activity because you can really tailor what they are practicing to their needs and practice using manners at the same time!
Riley: “Would you like to eat the letter m? Say /m/”
Monster: “Yes, please. /m/ Thank you!”
FIVE LITTLE MONSTERS FINGER PLAY (LITERACY/POEM/MATH)
I came across this poem years ago on Deanna Jumps blog and knew it would fit perfectly with our monster manners theme! For our set-up, I typed up and printed out the poem, added a few magnetic numbers, and placed our monster sticks out so we could add in and count our monsters as we went. The girls had so much fun chanting the poem and adding in the monsters. I left it up, just like this, and found them playing several times over the next few days. #SCORE
Looking for a sweet themed treat? Get your kids in the kitchen and have fun whipping up these Pretzel Monsters. This recipe from Staying Close to Home is kid-friendly and only takes THREE ingredients to make (pretzels, candy eyes, and chocolate melts). Getting kids in the kitchen is awesome because it’s fun AND there is so much learning that can happen! Think manners, math, science, language development, etc.We had so much fun chatting monster manners this past week and I hope you found an idea or two that you will try with your littles. Do you have any fun manner themed activities to share? If you want to SAVE this post be sure to PIN it and share it. Thanks for the LOVE!