Circle Time Activities and Ideas for Preschoolers

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Almost all early childhood child care and preschool programs have at least one circle time in their daily schedule. Your circle time should reflect the needs and interests of the children in your care. Take a look at the circle time ideas presented below for inspiration.

Most circle times have some common activities:

  • Songs
  • Calendar
  • Weather
  • Stories
  • Other Language or Literacy Activities

Make sure you have a defined space that you use each day for circle time. Give each preschooler a specific spot to sit with enough space that they do not have to touch one another. Carpet squares work well for this.


Follow the same basic schedule each day for circle time. That way the children know what to expect as well as what is expected of them. This does not mean that you cannot vary activities; it just means that you are creating a routine for the preschoolers will follow. Choose activities that work for your class. Each group will be different, so you may have to adapt. Some children love singing songs while others would much rather listen to a story.

Preschool Circle Time Sample Schedule

  1. Hello Song
  2. Calendar
  3. Weather
  4. Story
  5. Game or Activity
  6. Song

Songs for Preschoolers During Circle Time

1,2 You know what to do.
3,4 Sit on the floor.
5,6 Your feet you fix.
7,8 Sit up straight.
9,10 Let's listen again.

Hands upon my head I place
Upon my shoulders and on my face
At my waist and by my side
And then behind me they will hide
And then I'll raise them way up high
And let my fingers fly, fly, fly
With a clap, clap, clap
And a one, two, three
Lets see how quiet we can be!

Circle Time Ideas Using Calendars and Weathers

Days of the Week (tune of the Adam's Family):
Days of the week(clap clap)
Days of the week
Days of the week
Days of the week (Clap Clap)
There's Sunday and there's Monday
there's Tuesday and there's Wednesday
There's Thursday and there's Friday
And then comes Saturday!

Movement Ideas for Preschoolers During Circle Time

If your class is having difficulty sitting still, try adding activities that include movement. Place these activities before something that you want them to be able to sit still and focus on. For example, have the children stretch or do morning exercises before story time.

Here are some other circle time ideas for including movement:

  • Sing songs or use rhymes that have hand motions or movements.
  • Have children clap their hands or jump out a specified number rather than having them simply respond to a flashcard.
  • Instead of having children shout out a color they see on a flashcard, have the children take turns finding something that is the correct color around your classroom to show their friends.

Circle Time Activities - Stories

13 Tips for Reading to a Group

  1. Be sure all children can see and hear the story.
  2. Choose a story that will appeal to your audience and suit the children' s attention span.
  3. Choose a book with bright and large illustrations
  4. Provide an alternate activity for those who lose interest.
  5. Choose books that invite participation though repeated verses or rhymes.
  6. Start by grabbing their attention with "magic story dust" or a calming fingerplay.
  7. Ask questions to set the stage for listening. For example," What do you think will happen to Miffy mouse?"
  8. Substitute the children's names for character names to add interest.
  9. Be flexible. Skip or alter parts of a book as the needs of your young listeners' dictate.
  10. Use props to bring a story alive.
  11. Try a new introduction or attention grabber before starting a story.
  12. Pick a book the children are familiar with. Add their names or make silly mistakes to get their attention
  13. Try asking the children to predict what will happen next.

Literacy Activities for Circle Time

Puppets are a fun way to engage young children in a group discussion or activitity.

Another popular Circle time activity is felt and flannel boards!

Enroll in our Using Books and Stories Class