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Super Fun Circle Time!

Circle time or no circle? Say yes to circle time! It can be so fun or it can be a dread, it’s all what you make it! If your circle time is no longer fun or you’re all frustrated (we’ve all been there!) try some of these tips to make circle time a super fun circle time for everyone!

Ideas for Super Fun Circle Time in preschool #MGTblogger with Mother Goose Time

Ideas for Super Fun Circle Time!

October preschool calendar super fun circle time

Get their attention.

Experience Curriculum (formerly Mother Goose Time) makes this easy with the circle time song. You can play that to signal that it’s circle time. Children respond very well to using music for transitions. It’s a movement song so everyone gets the wiggles out before sitting down. I set up my circle time area like this and then turn on the circle time song.

circle time preschool in home child care environment  super fun circle time

A spot for everyone.

Little kids do not really understand the concept of personal space. Unless someone is in theirs and they don’t like it! Wouldn’t you know it, when you need everyone to sit and keep in their space, that’s when they don’t.

colorful vinyl spots for sitting at circle time  super fun circle time

Having a little spot for each child helps set the expectation to sit. They learn it’s where they stay for circle time. I don’t have a fancy rug with spots for everyone to sit on so  I use these little-colored vinyl “spots”. They can be used for many other kinds of activities and free play as well.

Be prepared.

Being prepared is an obvious one but it’s a lesson I seem to need to learn on a weekly basis. I’m always forgetting something and needing to get up and find it. That’s a sure fire way to lose everyone’s attention!

lesson book teacher guide Mother Goose Time Roots lesson  super fun circle time

I keep a handy little basket nearby my circle time area. 

basket with items for preschool  super fun circle time

I keep it on the shelf where we do circle time so it’s handy. Everyone knows this is my circle time basket and it stays there. (Most of the time this works.)

basket with items for  super fun circle time

These little plastic zipper bags hold our weather pieces and alphabet cards for circle time. I found them at the Dollar Tree. 

plastic blue polka dot zipper bag for weather pieces at  super fun circle time

Supplies I use at circle time:

  • name sticks
  • glue stick/calendar numbers
  • weather pieces
  • marker
  • pen
  • Teacher Guide
  • Pocket Cube
  • Pointers

Don’t forget whatever else you need for activities during or after circle time. Maybe bring something extra in case you need to switch things up.

bowl with red yarn basket with Scholastic My Big World Clifford Magazines for  super fun circle time

Lower your expectations.

I don’t like to say that because I believe children will rise to your expectations (generally). We do have to consider however, what is developmentally appropriate.

boy reading book  super fun circle time

You will see many arguments for or against circle time for young children, but I’m a fan. Some days go better than others of course, my group does well with circle time because it’s something we’ve practiced.

kids playing feeling shapes game  super fun circle time

Children do need to learn to sit and control their bodies for short periods of time. It’s is a reality that they will need to eventually learn to sit for group activities in school. Children who start in an early childhood earlier may have more time to practice this than a 4-year-old who is soon starting school so exposing children to the need to sit (relatively) still and quiet is not an unrealistic expectation. It must be learned like anything else and used with balance.

kids coloring  super fun circle time

Some of my younger ones will wander off and that’s okay. You will know if some in your group are not ready for circle time. If I see I’m “losing” them, I wrap things up. Again, keep it short and go from there.

Use a puppet.

snowy owl puppet  super fun circle time

Kids looooove puppets! Sometimes I feel like, “what do I do with this thing??” but don’t overthink it. It doesn’t need a crazy voice. It’s doesn’t need to be a huge story. Just hold the puppet and see the response. Children quiet down and wait. They are excited to hear what it’s going to say. Then use it consistently to give directions, build a story or for a certain purpose at circle time. It takes practice.

Read a book.

A to Z Animals book circle time  super fun circle time

I usually put a book out at circle time and everyone waits in anticipation for the story. Starting or ending circle time with a short, developmentally appropriate book relating to the theme can extend the lesson. Don’t limit it to just books, try Scholastic Magazines, poems, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, 

Play a game.

kids playing a puzzle game  super fun circle time

Kids love games and that’s how kids learn is through play, so let’s do that! Experience Curriculum has wonderful ideas for playing little games and learning basics like colors and shapes. When everyone is participating they learn from one another while they practice waiting for their turn and respecting their friends. So maybe circle time turns into a small group activity.

Move!

Keep kids moving to keep the learning going. Dance, do yoga, play a listening game or song, exercise, make animal movements, or play follow the leader. The Experience Curriculum Teacher Guides provide plenty of ideas for music and movement.

kids doing yoga  super fun circle time

Transition to or from circle time with music and movement. Or move and then return to a sitting activity so everyone isn’t sitting too long.

We like these music and movement songs:

Use a pointer.

teachers pointing pointer and star wand  super fun circle time

Ah, the magic of a pointer/wand! Kids love them. It gives them an element of control. If they have the pointer, all attention is on them. Ha, you can just see it on their face. It makes them excited to learn and participate. What a great tool! Sometimes Target has them in their dollar section or you can find them on Amazon.

child pointing to the calendar with pointer  super fun circle time

Give everyone a turn.

Everyone gets a little job. The calendar number, the counting leader, the alphabet pointer, the shape finder, the weather updater. Make it up as you go! I say, “Can you find a letter E?” Another child might need more of a challenge so I’ll ask him to find a word. Hand over the pointer and the child has control while you guide their learning. So fun!

children using mother goose time theme poster during  super fun circle time

Another amazing thing happens at circle time – children start to help one another and therefore learn from one another.

Name sticks.

How do you make sure everyone gets a turn? Name sticks are my little trick for making sure everyone gets a turn and it’s fair. It’s not my choice who gets to go first, it’s whoever’s name is drawn. It creates an excitement all of its own. One of the best things I’ve ever done for circle time!

tin can with craft sticks with names on them for taking turns  super fun circle time

Just use colored craft sticks and add each child’s name on them with markers or a label maker. Use all the same colored sticks so there’s no favorites or the kids don’t memorize whose stick is whose.

Keep it short.

girl at  super fun circle time

Goodness, don’t try to do everything at circle time! I usually hit calendar, weather, some basics, a song or small group activity. The more use to circle time your group is, the longer you may be able to keep their attention but the goal isn’t how long you can make it last. Move to a table for a small group activity or bring out new pencils for a writing activity. Incorporate music and movement. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

Change things up.

Don’t do the same thing every day. Don’t even do it in the same order every day. That’s boring. Yes, there’s a certain amount of things that we do daily but change the order or the method.  Children thrive on novelty and new experiences.

children writing in journals  super fun circle time

Consistency is definitely key but sometimes I get burned out on circle time, work, life…so I just have someone put up the calendar number and move on. 

Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!

If it’s not fun, it’s not working! We want the things we spend our precious time with the children doing to be of value. If it doesn’t have value anymore, stop and/or fix it.

girl writing #4 My Little Journals  super fun circle time

Please share what works for you at circle time in the comments below!

Apple Studies with Mother Goose Time – Mommy & Me Inc

Tuesday 16th of October 2018

[…] move on to our calendar. Using Circle Time tips from Stacy at Things to Share and Remember I bring out the pointer. We sing along with our days of […]

Kimberli Lowe

Thursday 4th of October 2018

I love the puppet suggestion. I struggle with circle time since it's just us. I'm definitely going to try that.

Stacy

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Great! I need to get one out again myself!