The Handprint of Good Manners

Help your child and a friend make a personalized hand-print napkin to use while they practice good manners and courteousness at the table.

  • Target Age: 3-7
  • Skills:
    • Language and Literacy Skills
    • Social and Emotional Skills


  • pre-made cloth napkin (one per child) or a square piece of fabric
  • liquid acrylic or fabric paint
  • tin pie plate (for dipping hand)
  • fabric paint pens
  • apron or old shirt to protect clothes

Directions: Make a personalized napkin to practice good manners and courteousness with at the table. Begin by lightly pressing palm of hand into a pie plate with a shallow amount of paint. Then gently press handprint on fabric napkin. Allow napkin to dry. Finish by writing name and date with fabric pens. To put this personalized napkin to good use, cook up a favorite meal or snack for your child and friend to sit down and enjoy together. Then share these simple ideas for practicing good manners and showing courteousness at the table:

  • Don't forget to unfold napkin and place in lap.
  • Wait to eat until everyone has been served or has food on their plate.
  • Ask others to pass food instead of reaching over the table.
  • After each bite, give the mouth a gentle wipe.
  • Say, "Thank you," to the cook, server, or anyone that helps you at the table.
  • When you are ready to leave the table, fold napkin and place beside plate. Push chair in and ask to be excused.

Talk about It: Ask your child to share ideas about why table manners are important and how using manners and courteousness at the table can make a meal more pleasant for everyone.

Take it Further: Help your child make a list of "good manners" that can be practiced at home and at school like opening doors, speaking with courteousness, and extending a good hand-shake. Then take turns role-playing (acting out) each manner on the list.

With a Group: Reinforce good manners and being courteous to others by keeping a chart for children to place stickers on whenever they are "caught" being kind in this way. When the entire group has received a set goal of stickers, reward the group as a whole, set new goals and start over.

Related Books

  • Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell (Scholastic)
  • Manners Can Be Fun by Munro Leaf (Universe Publishing)


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!