Toddler Storytime: Manners

Continuing with our unit on daily life, today’s session was all about using our manners. This theme can encompass lots of different aspects, so I made sure to include books that highlight sharing, eating politely, listening to directions, and using the “magic” word.


Books Read:

Time to Say “Please!” by Mo Willems
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen
The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Sign of the Week: Each week, I plan to teach 1 or 2 signs that correlate with our theme. Today, we learned the signs for Please and Thank You. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Introductions: “Let’s All Clap”
We usually start this song while people are trickling in, to learn each others’ names. I demonstrate the song with my own name, then move around in a circle. It is sung to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.”

Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, ____ is here, _____ is here!
Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, _____ is here today.

Opening Song: “We Wave and Say Hello”

Book 1: Time To Say “Please!” You can’t go wrong with Mo Willems. We discussed how having good manners means using polite words, and then practiced our new signs. This book provides a simple, colorful introduction to basic manners.

Activity: “Please and Thank You.” I created this game last minute; it’s basically a version of Simon Says. I spouted off a list of actions for the kids to do, but if I failed to say “please” before hand, they were supposed to stay still. They were harder to trick than I imagined, although one poor girl fell for it every time. Some of the actions included clapping, stomping, roaring, spinning and jumping, so this got everyone up and moving.

Book 2: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?  A silly book about table manners, with the added bonus of full-page dinosaurs throughout. This got us talking about food.

Game: Wiggle Worm!
Adapted from thelibraryann. I printed out about 15 flash cards featuring different foods, including things like eggs, bread, ice cream, strawberries and peanuts. I panned the pictures around the room one at a time, and had the kids identify the featured food. Randomly, a picture of a wiggling worm would pop up instead, and this meant that everyone had to jump out of their seat and wiggle all over! This was a fun way to practice print awareness and get some energy out. The only object the kids weren’t able to guess was a pineapple.

Action Song: The Handwashing Song
A great, quick action song courtesy of JBrary, sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques.” This is a fun and effective way to encourage kids to wash up (which is polite to do, after all!)

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
Now that our hands were clean, we decided to use them. This is one item I repeat each week, to give our sessions some consistency. Today we added our extended verses, courtesy of JBrary, and ran through the whole thing twice. One little girl was so excited at the end, that she screeched “Do not let them in!” before the rest of us had finished. Cue laughter.

Book 3: The Bear Who Shared. A quick, sweet story about a bear who shares a “plorringe” with a mouse and a raccoon, and makes lasting friends in the process.

Song: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”
This group was rambunctious, so I pulled out this song courtesy of JBrary. It’s always a hit, and got everyone up and on their feet.

Wrapping Up: This was another large group, and families continued to trickle in after we’d started. I think this was a fun theme, although the kids didn’t seem to appreciate it as much as the parents. Still, most of the kids signed “thank you” to me as they were leaving, so I’ll count that as a victory. How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? was definitely the favorite of the bunch.


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