Circle time activities are a big part of many preschool classrooms. Circle time is typically filled with reading stories, circle time songs, and other whole group activities such as calendar. Managing a large group of young children comes with many challenges. Once you get a good system in place, you will be amazed at how smoothly your circle time activities with preschoolers can go! I’ve assembled some of my best tips for a successful circle time in preschool!

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Preschool Circle Time Activities



Circle time, a cherished tradition in preschool classrooms worldwide, is more than just a routine; it’s a magical opportunity for learning, bonding, and fostering a sense of community among young learners. This special gathering at the beginning or end of each day holds immense value for both teachers and children.

By creating a positive circle time experience, preschool teachers can set the tone for the day, promote social and emotional development, and enhance cognitive skills.

Circle time acts as a springboard for the day’s adventures. It is a moment where teachers can establish a warm and welcoming environment that encourages engagement and participation. Begin by greeting each child individually, using their names to create a personal connection. Implementing consistent routines during circle time, such as singing a welcome song or sharing news, offers a sense of familiarity and security.

Circle time games and activities cultivate essential social and emotional skills in young minds. Encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings, fostering open communication within the group. Activities like storytelling, role-playing, and sharing personal experiences allow children to empathize with others, building their emotional intelligence.

  • Engaging Activities: Foster communication skills by planning interactive games, songs, and storytelling.
  • Clear Expectations: Encourage paying attention and active participation in circle time by setting simple rules and offering positive reinforcement.
  • Inclusive Environment: Create a safe space for all children to feel valued and comfortable sharing during circle time.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Adjust activities based on children’s interests and engagement levels, and encourage circle time questions to promote curiosity and critical thinking.
The Best Tips to a Successful Circle Time in Preschool

What Can Preschoolers Learn During Circle Time Activities?



Be flexible and adaptable during circle time to accommodate the needs of different learners. Some children may be more reserved and prefer to observe, while others may be more outgoing and eager to participate.

Circle time activities and ideas should always promote:

  • Socialization
  • Listening
  • Confidence
  • Cooperation
The Best Tips to a Successful Circle Time in Preschool

Why Is It Important For Kids To Experience Circle Time?

Circle time in preschool is essential as it fosters a sense of community, promotes social and emotional development, and lays the foundation for vital communication and cognitive skills.

Social Skills

Preschool circle time helps children develop social skills by encouraging interactions, sharing, turn-taking, and active listening within a group setting.

Brain Development

Through various activities during circle time, preschoolers enhance their cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, problem-solving, and critical thinking.


Circle time provides opportunities for children to express themselves, communicate ideas, and engage in conversations with peers and teachers.

Social Emotional

Circle time supports the development of emotional intelligence by allowing children to recognize and express their feelings, empathize with others, and build positive relationships.

Circle Time Tips & Tricks for Preschool

Picture Schedules and Circle Time:

One trick to get circle time started is to use a picture schedule. Having a picture schedule will give your kids a visual signal that circle time is about to begin. Point to the picture and sing a quick chant or song to let kids know it’s time to begin. If you can get them to look at the picture, sing the song, and clap their hands or move their bodies as you sing it will start your circle time off smoothly.

The Best Tips to a Successful Circle Time in Preschool

Attention Spans for Circle Time:

Now that you’ve got your kids gathered together for circle time, the tricky part is to hold their attention. You’ll have more success with circle time if you keep it short and sweet to match the children’s attention spans.

The average length of a child’s attention span is usually 3 minutes for every year of age. The more time you spend in circle time, the less likely you’ll be able to hold their attention.

Balanced Circle Time:

So now that you have them gathered together and you’re limiting the amount of you spend on it, what are some ideas for preschool circle time?

Successful circle times are balanced, they alternate between active and passive activities. A balanced circle time board might look like this:

· Sing a welcome song
· Talk about who is here and who is absent with an attendance graph
· Sing a weather song with movement
· Graph the weather
· Read a fun, engaging story
· Transition to center time

Step Four:

If you have more “stuff” to teach there’s nothing wrong with having more than one circle time. Having a closing circle time at the end of the day is highly effective and can help bring closure to your day. You can even add another circle time into the middle of your day to focus on academic skills. The key is to keep your schedule balanced with those active and passive times.


Calendar during circle time is a natural time to point out the day/date/month and give kids exposure to the set up of a calendar and tracking days, weeks, birthday, holidays, etc.

Just Dance

Keeping in mind the short attention spans of young kids, try to implement songs or dances throughout circle time where kids get to stand up and move/dance around.


Circle time is a perfect time to emphasize any content you are really working on, like counting, letters, number or letter identification, student names, etc. Take a short amount of time for review.

circle time tips and tricks for teachers

Vanessa Levin is a passionate advocate for high-quality early childhood education. She is the creator of Pre-K and founder of the Teaching Tribe, a membership site where she helps teachers of preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten, teach better, save time, and live more!

We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for toddlers (18-35 months) and preschoolers (3-5 years)! Get ready for fun and learning with unit lesson plans for the MOST POPULAR THEMES. Explore a variety of themed hands-on activities! Easy to follow lesson plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners. For more information, click on the graphics below:

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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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One Comment

  1. I really like how you talked about how circle time should be a blend of active and passive activities. The passive activities would help give the kids a break so that they don’t get too burned out from the ones where they have to think. I’ll have to remember your tips so that can make circle time really fun!

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