Powerful Circle Time Ideas for Fun and Interactive Sessions (2023)

Powerful Circle Time Ideas for Fun and Interactive Sessions (1)

Building strong bonds with preschool children is gradual, especially during their first days at school. They’re not fully adjusted to the new school environment, and their social and communication skills are beginning to develop

You can help bridge the gap with interactive, engaging activities like circle time. Circle time encourages cooperative learning in a group setting and could inspire the children to build deeper relationships with each other.

But before we dig deeper into this subject, let’s first understand what circle time is.

What is circle time?

Circle time is a short activity that helps you develop positive relationships with preschoolers. Start circle time by instructing your class to assemble in a circle in a designated area in the classroom. This area can be near the whiteboard, in the class library, on a special rug, or anywhere that makes the most sense to you.

As the teacher, sit in a circle with the children. The children will feel comfortable sharing with you and each other if you’re present with them.

Encourage the class to sing a welcome song in the morning to make them comfortable and ready to start a new day. You may also sing a goodbye song or read an exciting story before they leave for home.

Powerful Circle Time Ideas for Fun and Interactive Sessions (2)Source

What is the key purpose of preschool circle time?

The circle is meant to encourage collaboration, unity, and respect while allowing the children to work towards a common goal or vision. For example, you may use circle time to review the day's schedule or reflect on their activities at the end of the day.

You can use circle time to tackle common classroom issues like too much noise, teasing, or not following instructions. Allow the children to share their opinions, suggestions, or feedback on these issues to help them feel more involved in their classroom.

(Video) 5 Fun Circle Time Activity Ideas | Early Years Inspiration #4

Engaging in circle time helps preschoolers develop their social and communication skills, build stronger relationships with their peers, and encourages them to explore problem-solving.

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Benefits of circle time

Circle time offers plenty of benefits to the children, including:

  • Improved listening and speaking skills
  • Developed social skills
  • Understanding behavior and attitudes that affect others
  • Improved self-esteem and emotional intelligence
  • A sense of community and responsibility
  • Positive relationships with their classmates and the teacher\

Overall, circle time allows children to confidently express themselves, discuss social and moral issues, and reflect on the different aspects of their school lives. They’ll learn to understand right from wrong, boost their tolerance and respect different viewpoints.

As a teacher, circle time:

  • Helps you better understand each child’s capabilities
  • Pinpoint skills or learning objectives that may need improvement
  • Socialize with your class, and help them socialize with each other
  • Helps you share important classroom information

Engaging preschool circle time ideas

If you hold circle time regularly, you’ll likely notice children losing interest or not paying attention. They may begin to play with toys, fidget, or hold conversations during circle time.

This is pretty normal. Preschool children can only stay focused for about 10 – 12 minutes.

To keep your children engaged, rethink your current circle time structure. The intention for circle time is for children to learn while focusing on an activity. If you’re losing their interest, the session is not interactive enough.

Assess your circle time’s structure to better appeal to each child’s attention span. Switch out the activities you use or the length of the session to ensure children remain engaged. Activities like reading books, singing musical games, and having short discussions can help instill social and self-regulation skills.

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The variation should come naturally without affecting your daily routine. Remember that circle time is supposed to be short and fun.

Here are some other circle time ideas you can use to make each session engaging:

(Video) Preschool Circle Time | Songs and Tips To Get Preschoolers Attention For Circle Time

1. Set circle time rules

You can introduce circle time to the children with this activity. Explain what circle time is, then ask them for any rules they believe should apply to the activity. They’ll be more likely to remember the rules if they’re able to participate in making them.

Here are some circle time rules to consider:

  • To value everyone’s contribution without putting any member down
  • To raise up their hands when they want to speak
  • Not interrupt anyone when they are talking
  • To take turns at all times.
  • To be allowed to pass if they don’t feel like speaking

2. Introduce a musical game

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Try a song that incorporates gameplay and actions, like the “head and shoulders” song. Instruct the children to sing “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” as they gather into a circle to keep them focused.

A musical game gets the children to coordinate with a particular rhythm or beat as they enjoy the fun. It’ll also excite them for the following circle time activity.

A circle time song should incorporate actions like sitting down, making animal noises, bending, standing up, clapping, stomping feet, and other movements.

3. Review the day’s activities

You can use circle time to review upcoming activities or to reflect on the activities completed that day. Have the children answer a few questions about what they learned that day or what they learned the day before to help them retain information from previous lessons.

Let the children take turns reciting the daily schedule or recording the day’s activities. For example, if you're teaching about the weather, draw the weather chart and then use it to teach the topic. For the trivia question, ask them to explain the weather outside.

4. Engage in storybook reading

Read a storybook with pictures to the children. Ensure that you pause between narrations to show them the pictures in the story. Explain what is happening in the story, and highlight any words the children recognize from the story.

During the story, children may fidget, move around, or start talking when their attention wanes. You can try grabbing their attention again with a short song or cut storytime short. The next day, let them choose which story they want to hear to ensure they stay engaged.

5. Introduce a short thematic lesson with props

To grab the children’s attention, hold an object or give them something tangible to use. For example, provide a magnifying glass and a live insect like a grasshopper if you're teaching about insects. They’ll actively take turns looking at the grasshopper to view and identify the different parts.

Powerful Circle Time Ideas for Fun and Interactive Sessions (6)Source

(Video) A Preschool Circle Time Routine that Really Works (Part 1)

If you are teaching an alphabet theme, prepare a box with objects and ask the children to identify the letter associated with each object (for example, “s” for “spoon”). They can also select objects from the box and show them to the class as they identify them.

An alternative activity is to practice taking turns and sharing. For this session, instruct the children to pass toys around the circle. Whoever has the toy will share something like a story or a thought. This activity can foster communication and social-emotional skills.

6. Use imagination games

Imagination games empower children with creative thinking skills. Ask them to replicate animal noises, play certain animal roles, or compose stories. Instruct them to “freeze,” then slowly melt to the ground.

This session will help them explore verbal communication and transition them into the learning headspace.

7. Increase interaction with hands-on activities

For preschoolers, learning is kinetic. The more they discover, move, run around, or experiment during structured activities, the more engaged they become. Find ways to make circle time activities a whole-body experience for the children.

If you plan a week’s session, you may use objects and images to illustrate concepts. By the next morning, they’ll be able to remember everything they’ve learned through their recap sessions.

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Powerful Circle Time Ideas for Fun and Interactive Sessions (8)

Circle time best practices

Pick a “go-to” movement, activity, or song

Select a “go-to” circle time activity, song, or movement that quickly grabs and keeps children’s attention. This should be an activity or song they’re already familiar with and have shown some preference for.

Use this activity to reorient your class when they start losing focus. Sing the first verse of the song, or encourage the children to participate in the activity for a few seconds.

Always have a learning goal in mind

As a teacher, you have an important role in shaping your children's shared learning experiences. Therefore, you must set a goal for circle time before engaging them in any conversation or activity.

Having a goal will help you anticipate problems as they occur and redirect the children’s focus with meaningful responses or questions. Before starting a circle time session, consider what you want the children to learn from the session and how you want them to feel afterward.

(Video) Circle Time Ideas | My Preschool Classroom | Teaching Kids

Stick to the time

Remember that children’s attention spans are limited; they can only handle so much activity before they lose focus. For instance, if you have circle time in the morning before the children have their morning snack, consider moving it to after snack time. Always adjust the schedule to when the children seem ready and willing.

Do not allow the circle time session to extend longer than usual. Plan your circle time activities based on the attention span of your class.

Build a routine

Children learn better when they know what to expect. Organize your circle time around a consistent structure they can adjust to and keep a consistent flow.

Use transition techniques

Circle time isn’t always smooth sailing. Some days will seem easier than others, especially if children become distracted or cranky.

Transition activities can make it easy to switch from a previous activity to circle time. Create a balance between the active and passive circle time activities. Try a hopping and counting game, singing a song, playing “Simon Says”, or starting a conversation.

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Things to avoid during circle time

  • Avoid rigid lesson plans. Observe the children’s attention spans and tailor circle time to this. If you notice their focus waning, introduce a transition technique that will help bring them back to circle time. Make the most of circle time by carrying it out according to their capacity levels.
  • Designating seats or sitting spots for the children. Allow children to decide where to sit and maybe make suggestions according to their choices.
  • Leaving circle time to talk to a colleague or parent. This practice not only disrupts your session with the children, it can be distracting. In the end, it will be more challenging to have them re-focus on the activity and could affect consequent circle time sessions.
  • Using threats or rewards to get the children’s attention. These are inappropriate and ineffective behavior management tools. The children might believe that circle time is not necessarily an enjoyable activity but something they must do.

Frequently asked questions

How long is preschool circle time supposed to take?

Preschool children can’t stay focused for long. To get them to participate in circle time, limit the sessions to no more than 10 minutes. You’ll see that your time spent with the children will be interactive and valuable if done correctly.

How do I carry out my circle time sessions?

The best way to carry out circle time is to involve the children equally in the activities. Respect everyone’s ideas, thoughts, and conversations. This is your time to help the children develop and grow their skills by making them part of their growth and development.

What goes on during circle time preschool activities?

Circle time is when children sit in a circle with the teacher. The teacher directs the session’s activities while allowing them to take turns to speak up. They can pass around an object like a ball or teddy bear, so whoever is holding it is the one who will speak.

Teachers choose group activities, including games, songs, listening, and talking exercises. Sometimes they discuss issues affecting the class or individuals or hold general discussions.

Final thoughts

Circle time is meant to develop children’s communication and social-emotional skills. While you want to make it interactive and fun, remember to keep the session short.

To achieve better results, incorporate activities related to the day's subject. Add novelty and variety to your activities to capture children's interests. Make your circle time routine predictable and flexible to help them feel comfortable.

(Video) 306 - Top 11 ESL Circle Games for Kids

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How do you make a circle time interactive? ›

Tips for creating meaningful circle time experiences
  1. Have a learning goal. ...
  2. Make activities interactive and hands-on. ...
  3. Have a go-to song or movement activity. ...
  4. Read a book. ...
  5. Build a rhythm. ...
  6. Keep transition techniques in your back pocket.
29 Jan 2020

Which activities can be done in circle time? ›

4 Essential circle time ideas for preschools and daycares
  • 1) Sing a song with actions and gameplay. ...
  • 2) Review the calendar, weather and week's agenda, using interactive props. ...
  • 3) Give a short, thematic lesson, using props during circle time. ...
  • 4) Read stories for a quiet, carpet time activity.

How does circle time encourage children's confidence? ›

'The weekly circle time for each class enables pupils of all ages, at their own level, to reflect on aspects of their lives, to discuss moral and social issues and to express with confidence their understanding of right and wrong and their sense of justice.

How does circle time help a child's development? ›

It's a carefully planned time in which children can develop a wide range of skills and attitudes such as confidence, self-esteem, talking and listening. Circle time can help children to enjoy learning. It also helps children with their friendships and strengthens the relationship between the teacher and the class.

What are five characteristics of successful circle times? ›

Successful circle times
  • Make circle time short and extend the time over the course of the year. ...
  • Find a creative way to invite children to circle time. ...
  • Learn transitions to move the event along. ...
  • Find activities that allow children to participate. ...
  • Children need to move their large and small muscles.

What do teachers do at Circle Time? ›

Childcare centers often have one, two, or three group gatherings a day that are referred to as "Circle Time." During this time, the children sit in a circle (usually on a rug) and the teacher may read a book aloud, lead a sing-along, or engage the children in a discussion.

What are focus activities? ›

Focusing activities may include collaborative activities to connect students, generate discussion, and compare ideas; individual activities where students work on their own by reading, reflecting, or writing; or a brief quiz or some other type of assessment.

What do you talk about in circle time? ›

There are so many reasons to gather for circle time:
  • To present and introduce a new theme.
  • To sing songs children already know or to teach them a new song.
  • To tell a story and discuss it.
  • To talk about a particular situation at daycare or at a child's home.
  • To talk about weekend activities or a vacation.

Which activities are done in days? ›

You can go for a walk. You can make some crafts. Going in a shopping.

What activities build children's confidence? ›

Love and acceptance are key components of confidence and self-worth, so parents should spend quality time with their children to demonstrate that they are valuable. Take him on outings, eat dinner together, play games, go outside, or do any other activity that allows you and your child to enjoy time together.

How do you keep children engaged in activity? ›

Try these four tips to keep your child engaged in learning:
  1. Set a goal and plan for obstacles. Goal-setting is an essential skill—in school, at home, at work, and in life. ...
  2. Cultivate the power behaviors of a self-directed learner. ...
  3. Pursue real-world projects. ...
  4. Find opportunities to celebrate progress, not perfection.
5 Dec 2020

What skills does circle time promote? ›

There are five key skills that emerge during circle time: thinking, listening, looking, speaking, and concentrating. In turn, children learn to show respect, take turns, and work together toward a solved problem or shared vision.

What is learning objectives of circle time? ›

Learning to listen and confidence speaking. Understanding how their behaviour can affect others. Better problem-solving skills. Building better relationships between student and teacher.

How do you stimulate a child's development? ›

Parents and other caregivers can support healthy brain growth by speaking to, playing with, and caring for their child. Children learn best when parents take turns when talking and playing, and build on their child's skills and interests.

How can a teacher ensure a successful group time? ›

Use these suggestions to help implement group work successfully in your classroom.
Designing the group activity
  • Identify the instructional objectives. ...
  • Make the task challenging. ...
  • Assign group tasks that encourage involvement, interdependence, and a fair division of labour. ...
  • Decide on group size.

What are the characteristics of effective engage activities? ›

This was a class of clearly engaged students.
The 8 indicators of student engagement
  • Participation. ...
  • Pride. ...
  • Proactivity. ...
  • Passion. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Peace. ...
  • Playfulness. ...
  • Perseverance.
6 Mar 2019

What are circle practices? ›

They also determine best ways of working together (circle practices). These include honoring the talking piece, which goes around the circle as an invitation to share while everyone else listens (participants may pass if they don't wish to talk). People are encouraged to speak and listen from the heart.

Is Circle Time a teaching strategy? ›

Circle Time is a teaching strategy which allows the teacher to explore issues of concern. Also, it allows children to explore and address issues which concern them. It provides a structured mechanism for solving problems, in which all participants have an equal footing.

How do you make a focus group fun? ›

Ideas for Interactive Focus Groups
  1. Build a Collage. Read more and watch video examples here.
  2. Hold Small Group Discussions. ...
  3. Vote with Stickers. ...
  4. Begin with a Survey. ...
  5. Begin with a Free-Writing Exercise. ...
  6. Write on Index Cards. ...
  7. Use Roundtable Ranking. ...
  8. Use an Interview Design Process.

What are minds on activities? ›

During the minds-on activity, I assign the class a simple task; something that may take 5 minutes, 10 minutes maximum. This is something related to the learning goals, but something easy enough that just activates their mind, gets them thinking about the concepts, and gets them problem-solving a little.

What are the learning activities? ›

15 active learning activities to energize your next college class
  • Think-pair-repair. In this twist on think-pair-share, pose an open-ended question to your class and ask students to come up with their best answer. ...
  • Improv games. ...
  • Brainwriting. ...
  • Jigsaw. ...
  • Concept mapping. ...
  • The one-minute paper. ...
  • Real-time reactions. ...
  • Chain notes.
2 Apr 2020

What are some good circle Questions? ›

Getting Acquainted
  • Share a happy childhood memory.
  • Share a funny story from your life.
  • If you could be a superhero, what superpowers would you choose and why?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What would you not want to change about your life?

What to say in a talking circle? ›

Some topics that talking circles can be used to explore include specific content-related topics, asking participants what they have learned regarding the topic, what they would like to learn and why, what they struggle with learning, what some of the barriers are to their learning, what their reactions are to a ...

How do you make lessons fun and engaging? ›

How to Have More Fun Teaching
  1. Discover new things together. ...
  2. Incorporate mystery into your lessons. ...
  3. Be goofy; show you care. ...
  4. Participate in projects. ...
  5. Avoid “going through the motions.” ...
  6. Flip your lessons. ...
  7. Review–but don't repeat–material. ...
  8. Share your passions.
10 Oct 2015

What are the 5 learning activities? ›

  • Content Focus (and Interaction) Whether the learning outcomes for a session or module include declarative or functioning knowledge, almost all of them will be supported in some way by the presentation of information to students. ...
  • Interactivity (with Others) Focus. ...
  • Critical Thinking. ...
  • Production. ...
  • Problem Solving. ...
  • Reflection.

How do you raise confident and happy children? ›

12 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
  1. Model confidence yourself.
  2. Don't get upset about mistakes.
  3. Encourage them to try new things.
  4. Allow kids to fail.
  5. Praise perseverance.
  6. Help kids find their passion.
  7. Set goals.
  8. Celebrate effort.
15 Apr 2022

How can I boost my youth confidence? ›

Tips for building self-confidence
  1. Look at what you've already achieved. It's easy to lose confidence if you believe you haven't achieved anything. ...
  2. Think of things you're good at. Everyone has strengths and talents. ...
  3. Set some goals. ...
  4. Talk yourself up. ...
  5. Get a hobby.

How teachers can improve childrens confidence? ›

5 Strategies to Help Boost Your Students' Self-Esteem and Confidence in the Classroom
  • Praise and acknowledge accomplishments. ...
  • Create realistic expectations. ...
  • Embrace a growth mindset. ...
  • Increase sense of ownership. ...
  • Don't compare one student to another.
3 Aug 2021

How do you engage and interact with children? ›

Strategies for practitioners to consider when engaging children
  1. A strengths-based approach.
  2. Child-friendly scheduling.
  3. Time and patience.
  4. Physical environment.
  5. Spoken and written communication.
  6. Developmentally-appropriate explanations.
  7. Non-verbal communication.
  8. Play, creativity and imagination.

How do you entertain a group of children? ›

If you're entertaining a group of kids, you can suggest a game of tag or hide-and-go-seek.
Play video games with your kids but enforce limits.
  1. Join in on multiplayer games.
  2. Keep the kids active on rainy days with video games that have a physical component.
  3. Make sure to pay attention to game ratings and content warnings.

What skills we can develop in free time? ›

Choose any of the following activities and make the most out of your free time!
  • Read a good novel, or a self-development book. ...
  • Write/Blog/Live Tweet. ...
  • Learn a new language. ...
  • Take a course. ...
  • Sharpen your brain and memory. ...
  • Cooking. ...
  • Star-gazing and astronomy. ...
  • Volunteer.
24 Nov 2014

What goals do you have for children attending circle time? ›

Below are some of the most important benefits your little one can get from circle time.
  • Socialization. One of the greatest benefits your child can get from circle time is the opportunity to socialize. ...
  • Good practice of routine. ...
  • Improved listening skills. ...
  • Improved fine and gross motor skills. ...
  • Increased motivation for school.
23 Oct 2018

What activities help emotional development? ›

Play is important for all areas of children's development, including emotional development. Through play, school-age children can explore new and intense emotions and practise managing them. Play ideas to help with children's emotions include drawing, reading, pretend play and messy play.

What activities will help with development and growth? ›

Examples of these activities include running, climbing, lifting, throwing, pushing, pulling, balancing, and practicing fine motor skills. Physical growth activities also include the development of self-care skills, such as eating, toileting, dressing and undressing. Engage in activities that foster independence.

What are early stimulation activities? ›

Many of these skills are needed to be able to learn to read.
2. Music Activities
  • Learning simple nursery rhymes and poems.
  • Singing songs.
  • Playing with musical instruments (especially home-made ones)
  • Discovering sound through body percussion.
  • Dancing and rhythmic moving – also develop gross motor skills.
  • Playing music games.

What materials are required for circle time? ›

The best circle time games are those that require no materials, such as a fingerplay. Or when using materials, it's best to have something that you can reuse many times throughout the year, such as a simple set of alphabet or number cards.

How do you do Waldorf circle time? ›

In a Waldorf kindergarten (and in the early grades as well), music and movement happen throughout the day but there is also a special gathering each morning called circle time. A circle time is just a time of the day when you sing songs together, recite verses, use movement, and do fingerplays.

What should Circle Time look like? ›

Traditional Circle Time

Circle Time in most preschool programs is thought of as a time to “do” the calendar and weather; introduce a letter, shape, color, number or theme; and have Show & Tell. Many preschool teachers see this time as “real instructional school time” and the rest of the day as “play” time.

What is the value of Circle Time? ›

The circle encourages unity, respect, turn-taking and working together towards a shared vision. It also helps children work on five key skills, without which Circle Time doesn't work: thinking, listening, looking, speaking and concentrating.

What skills are needed to tell the time? ›

Before you begin to teach telling time, you need to ensure that your students have a few prerequisite skills: counting from 1 to 12, recognizing the numerals 1 to 12, and understanding basic sequencing. Sequencing is identifying what comes first, next and last in a series of letters, numbers or events.

How can I make my calendar time more fun? ›

Here are 5 ideas that I often use to make calendar time more engaging!
  1. Patterning with Calendar Pieces. Patterning with Calendar Pieces. ...
  2. Determine Place Value with the Date. Determine Place Value with the Date. ...
  3. Graphing With Weather. Graphing With Weather. ...
  4. Using Phonics to Graph. Using Phonics to Graph. ...
  5. Make it Engaging.
8 Feb 2018

How do you close a Circle Time? ›

Six Tips for Great Closing Circles
  1. Set aside ten minutes. ...
  2. Everyone takes part. ...
  3. Come with empty hands. ...
  4. Teach closing circle routines. ...
  5. Choose activities that foster reflection and celebration. ...
  6. Focus on positives.
1 Feb 2011

How do you teach calendar skills? ›

Teaching the Concept of One Day

Get a calendar with one sheet per day. Make it the child's job to tear off a page each morning. Use a monthly calendar and have the child be responsible for crossing off the day as it passes. Talk about how the sun comes up in the morning and goes down at night.


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