early childhood education More Preschool
Large Group and Circle Activities
Preschool education activities, lesson plans, ideas and games for circle and large group times. This early childhood theme enhances curriculum and provides young children with active learning experiences. Encourage youngsters to identify their different moods and feelings with a few of the activities in this theme.

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preschool education

Preschool Activities for Circle Time 

insects and bugsBug In The Rug Game
During this circle time "who's missing" game by Tammy youngsters use observation and memory skills.

Materials: A Large sheet or blanket.

Description: Teachers lay a large sheet on the floor.  The group of children set around it.  One child steps away from the group and closes his / her eyes.  The teacher taps a child and he / she gets under the "rug".  The child that was away from the group with their eyes closed comes back.  Now the rest of the children chant: 

Bug in the rug, 
Bug in the rug. 
Who's that bug in the rug?
The child has to guess who is under the rug by looking around to see who is missing.  The child under the rug is then revealed.

Comments: I use this game during my "Bugs and Creepy Crawler" unit.  The children really enjoy it.  They will even start playing it on their own during free time. 

If you're looking for rhymes and fingerplays about insects and bugs you'll find them at Preschool Nursery Rhymes about Insects and Bugs

An entire theme about Creepy Crawlers is in the Rainbow Resource Room
 

mixing colors Rainbow Squish Bags
Jennifer teaches mixing two colors to create a new color with this easy preschool activity. 

Materials: Zipper zip lock bag, shaving cream and food coloring.

Description: Each child has his / her own bag almost full of plain white shaving cream, they then choose two colors they like and add three drops of each of the two colors.  For example, 3 drops yellow and 3 drops blue the bag is then zipped shut (and should be taped also).  Then the child squishes the bag, mixing the yellow and blue to create: green!  This is almost magic to them!
You could ask the children before they begin squishing, "What new color do you think will appear?" 
Children love this activity for the sensory experiences and fun.
Comments: Be prepared for each child to want to make more than one!

More Colorful Rainbow activities are in the Resource Room.
 

Bluebird Game
A circle game that encourages preschool children to follow directions. Teachers teach the song first then introduce the game. 
Tons of other nursery rhymes, fingerplays and songs to use during large group and circle times are in the Preschool Rhyme Theme.

song Bluebird, Bluebird Song
Bluebird, bluebird,  through my window.
Bluebird, bluebird, through my window.
Bluebird, bluebird, through my window .
Oh, Johnny I'm so tired.

Take a little girl (boy) and pat her (him) on the shoulder
Take a little girl (boy) and pat her (him) on the shoulder
Take a little girl (boy) and pat her (him) on the shoulder
Oh, Johnny I'm so tired.

Playing the Game:
Teachers introduce this song and ask children to join hands and form a circle.  Youngsters hold their hands up high to represent "windows" and the preschool "bluebird" weaves in and out of the windows during the first verse. During the second verse the "bluebird" chooses a child and gently pats him/her on the shoulder several times. Repeat the first verse as both children weave in and out of the windows, with the first child holding on to the second child's shoulders.
Continue until there are no more windows and all the children are holding onto each others shoulders.

Finger Play: "Two Little Blackbirds"
Years ago Melissa's grandmother taught her this version.

Two little Blackbirds
 sitting on a wall,
 (hold up one finger from each hand that has a string tied to it)
 One named Peter,
 The other named Paul.
 Fly away Peter!
 (put one hand behind your back)
 Fly away Paul!
 (put the other hand behind your back)
 Come back Peter! 
 (switch fingers behind your back so that when you "come back" the strings  magically disappear)
 Come back Paul!
 (same action as above)

In this version the child is amazed because it looks as if there was a magic trick that happened. 

There's an entire theme about Birds in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

Washing Hands
Molly suggests teaching children the importance of washing hands with this activity.

Materials: Bowl, water, soap and towel.

Description: Teachers get a bowl of warm water.  Show kids how to wash their hands making sure they cover the whole hand, in between fingers, etc.  Let the children practice washing their hands with soap and water.  Stress the importance of thorough  washing to get rid of all the germs.

Hand Washing Finger Play
Five little fingers playing all day
Getting really dirty
Wash the germs away

Four little fingers catching a sneeze
Needing some gel soap
Just a squeeze please!

Three little fingers staying pretty clean
Sneeze into your shoulder
See what I mean!

Five little fingers happy to say
We're clean and healthy
Hip!  Hop! Hooray!

Lots of  Health Activities  are in the Rainbow Resource Room.
 

large group song Positive Guidance Song
Remind young children, in a positive way, to use their words with this preschool song by Ima D.

Description: To remind a child to use his or her words, we sing a song together:

Tune: Are You Sleeping?
Use your words, use your words.
All day long, all day long.
Keep your hands and your feet,
Keep your hands and your feet
To yourself, to yourself.
Comments: I often hear the children singing it amongst themselves.  It really works!

Storytime: Pajama Party
Preschool children have fun learning about bed and night time during this activity by Holly M. A creative way to begin rest time or nap time.

Materials: Stories about bedtime, The Napping House or Goodnight Moon etc. Paper finger puppets of monkeys to use with the rhyme
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Children can bring blankets and pillows or wear pajamas for the program. 
You can find this rhyme in the Preschool Rhyme Collection

Description: Children are invited to a pajama party story time. They are invited to wear pajamas, bring favorite stuffed animals, pillows or blankets. Five little monkeys finger puppets and rhyme is done, plus stories read while children sit on their blankets and listen. 

Circle Time Feelings
Criss helps young children develop listening skills and identify and express feelings with this early childhood activity.

Materials:
Pictures of children or adults with facial expressions.
(I used little stuffed M & M's )

Description:
Sitting at circle time, I spread the materials on the floor.  Each child was given a turn (one at a time) to pick up an MM and tell us what the facial expression meant to them, and if that is how they felt that day. The other children sat and listened until it was their turn.

Comments: The kids loved the M & Ms because they could identify with the characters.  Some of the faces aren't so obvious, but the children were able to name a feeling for each one. Such as beautiful, pretty, happy, sad, grumpy, etc.

Take a look at Preschool Books for picture books about feelings.

Do you have a Circle Time idea that you'd like to share...
E-mail GayleE-mail Gayle

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