Circle Time Activities

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 I love circle time. At one time I didn’t. Just being honest! It overwhelmed me. I felt like I had to cram a bunch of stuff into a small amount of time. It’s taken me many years of teaching to figure out what circle time activities work best.

 

Fast forward 16 or so years (I’ve lost count) ….I love circle time because it brings all of the children together. The louder ones (hopefully) learn to wait their turn, and the quieter ones are given the chance to participate (building their self-confidence).

 

We plan books, songs, and activities that will encourage the children to interact, building those very important communication skills.We are always mindful of how long these young preschoolers can sit, as their attention spans are short. For that reason, we split our circle times into 3 different time periods during our 3 hours, making sure to have some active time in between.

 

Circle Time Activities for Preschoolers

 

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Circle Time Activities

 

Morning Meeting

 

We have our first circle time after all the children arrive.

 

What we do:

 

  • Sing our good morning song.
  • Announce the class helper for the day.
  • Share what activities we will be doing.

 

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Circle Time

 

Our more “formal” circle time  is held around the middle of our morning, before snack. After we clean up from centers time, we begin the transition to the circle. As the children are selecting a book from the book corner, a teacher is setting out the circle time stools. I vary where the children sit so that they are not next to the same child each day. Because there is a bit of social time during circle, this encourages them to feel comfortable sitting by and talking with all their friends.

 

After the stools have been placed in the circle area, the children choose a book from our book shelf and sit down. They look at their books while the teachers gather the circle time materials. As they finish looking at their books, they put them either under or behind their stools.

 

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During our circle time, we have the weather report and sharing.

 

Each day we have one class helper. That special person gets to sit at the head of the circle and report the weather. He/she looks out the window to see if it’s sunny, rainy or cloudy. The appropriate weather bottle is chosen, the weather card is placed on the chart,  and we sing a weather song that includes the class helper’s name. This is an extremely special moment for each child when it’s his turn!

 

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A book is then read.

Circle time is a perfect time to add literacy into the day. We like to choose a book that relates to that week’s theme.

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Group Activity

 

Circle time is a great way to teach new concepts. We will often do a group activity that builds color, shape, number, and letter skills. Participating in group activities builds confidence, cognitive skills, and strengthens language development.

 

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Sharing

 

Circle time might also consist of sharing. We have one sharing person every Wednesday. The sharing person walks around the circle and the children give one touch.

 

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Closing Circle Time

 

Towards the end of our day, we have one more circle time. This is when we will sing songs, perform finger plays, or play games using props. We might also read another story.

 

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Our goal is to make circle time enjoyable. There are moments when we share, moments when we listen, moments when we work together during an activity. If a child isn’t ready to be at circle, that is okay. He can go to the book area to look at books. When he feels he is ready to return, he quietly comes back to the circle. For some, sitting and listening is easier than for others. It’s a work in progress, something we work on all year.
What are your favorite circle time tips? Please share in the comments!


Here’s more to read:

reading and writing center in preschool      Preschool Classroom Schedule    Learning activities using music for toddlers and preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.

 

Circle Time for Preschoolers - Weather, Sharing, Music, Books - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

The Preschool Journey

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 15 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.

Comments

  1. I love those placemats for circle time. What are they made out of and how did you put the names on them?

  2. I am pleased to read this and see what age group is considered for circle time. I wonder about having circle time for 2 year old and what expectations should anyone have for that age group? I ask to discover what if any type of quiet circle time could be expected from children younger than 3 years of age. Please advise. Thank you.

  3. Sheryl Cooper says:

    The mats are actually vinyl placemats. I reuse them year after year unless they start tearing. I tape their names on them and at the end of the year we pull them off. Easy!

    For my 2s class, we start the year by inviting the children to come over and sit on a mat to sing a good morning song and listen to a story. They are not forced to join us, but by mid-year they are usually all wanting to participate.

  4. I love the placemat idea! I’ve read a few circle time posts (here and other blogs) is calendar (counting, days of the week, months of the year etc) not done anymore? Is it “out’?

    • Our older class (4 and 5 year olds) do calendar time, but we don’t do it in our 2s and 3s classes.

  5. Gian Turman says:

    What is the “Come to Circle” song?

    • It’s one that I made up. It’s to the tune of “London Bridge”:
      It’s time to co-ome to the cir-cle, to the cir-cle, to the cir-cle,
      It’s time to co-ome to the cir-cle,
      Find your mats!

  6. Hi Yvette – It is from Lakeshore Learning.