Preschool Circle Time Routines

Circle Time is a wonderful opportunity to share short and meaningful learning experiences with preschoolers. Preschoolers thrive with routines. When they know what to expect from the day they are more open to learning. Regular and routine preschool circle time is an essential part of any preschool program.

Since you are dealing with short preschool attention spans it is important to keep circle time to no longer than 10 minutes. It should be filled with interactive activities and songs that will hold preschoolers’ attention. Follow a standard pattern each day during circle time so that your preschoolers are not surprised by anything and as they learn what is included in circle time they are more likely to participate.

What is Circle Time?

Circle time is a daily routine in preschool classrooms that involves gathering the children in a circle to participate in various activities. This is an opportunity for children to learn and engage in social and emotional development, as well as build cognitive and language skills. Circle time is a fun and interactive way for children to learn together as a group.

During circle time, the teacher will typically lead the group in various activities such as singing songs, reading stories, playing games, and having discussions. The activities can be tailored to target specific skills such as counting, colors, shapes, and even social skills such as taking turns, sharing, and listening to others.

The length of circle time can vary depending on the age of the children and their attention span. For younger children, circle time may only last 10-15 minutes, while older children may be able to engage in circle time for up to 30 minutes.

Importance of Circle Time in Preschool Education

Preschool circle time is an essential part of early childhood education. It is a time when children gather together to engage in various activities that promote learning, socialization, and emotional development. Circle time is usually held at the beginning of the day and can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. During this time, children sit in a circle with their teacher and participate in a variety of activities that are designed to be both fun and educational.

One of the primary benefits of circle time is that it helps children develop important social skills. By sitting together in a circle, children learn to take turns, share, listen, and communicate with one another. This helps them develop the social and emotional skills that are essential for success in school and in life.

In addition to social and emotional development, circle time also helps children develop their cognitive and language skills. Activities such as singing, reciting nursery rhymes, and reading stories help children develop their language skills and improve their vocabulary. Educational games and activities help children develop their cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, reasoning, and critical thinking.

Tips for an Engaging Preschool Circle Time

Preschool Circle Time is an important part of the school day for young children. It’s a time when they come together as a group to learn, share, and engage in different activities. Here are some tips to make your circle time more engaging and effective:

  1. Make it interactive: Children learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process. Encourage them to participate in your circle time activities by asking questions, singing songs together, and playing games.
  2. Use visual aids: Visual aids such as pictures, posters, and charts can help children understand and remember important concepts. Use them to illustrate what you are teaching and to keep children engaged.
  3. Keep it short and sweet: Young children have short attention spans, so it’s important to keep your circle time activities short and focused. Plan your activities ahead of time and make sure they are age-appropriate and relevant to your curriculum.
  4. Use a variety of activities: Children learn in different ways, so it’s important to use a variety of activities during your circle time. Use songs, stories, games, and hands-on activities to keep children engaged and interested.
  5. Be enthusiastic: Children respond well to enthusiasm and positive energy. Keep your circle time fun and upbeat by using a cheerful voice, smiling, and encouraging children to participate.

Music and Movement Activities

Using music and movement activities during circle time is an excellent way to keep preschoolers engaged and focused. Music can help create a positive and exciting atmosphere, as well as reinforce concepts being taught in a fun and memorable way.

There are many different types of music and movement activities that can be incorporated into circle time, such as singing songs with actions, practicing yoga poses, or even playing musical instruments.


One popular option for music and movement is to use a parachute. Children love the bright colors and the thrill of holding onto the edges and making it move up and down. You can play music and have the children move the parachute in time with the beat, or use it for games such as “popcorn” or “cat and mouse.”

Alphabet Song

If you do not have anything related to the theme or have extra time, you can sing a simple song with the preschoolers or use another short activity. The Alphabet Song is a great extra activity or used as an end to circle time. Singing often helps preschoolers become familiar with their letters and is a valuable pre-reading skill.

Another way to incorporate music and movement is through dance. You can choose songs that correspond with the theme of the day and teach the children simple dance moves to go along with them. This will help develop gross motor skills, coordination, and memory skills.

Storytelling and Group Reading for Circle Time

Storytelling and group reading are great ways to engage children during circle time in preschool. Reading aloud to the children not only increases their vocabulary but also encourages them to use their imagination. Children love listening to stories, especially if they have colorful illustrations and funny characters.

Before starting to read, it’s important to engage the children by asking questions related to the story. For example, if the story is about animals, you can ask the children to name some animals they know, what sounds they make, or what they like to eat. This not only makes the session interactive but also helps to develop critical thinking skills among the children.
It’s also important to encourage children to participate in the reading process. You can ask them to help you turn the pages or ask them to predict what will happen next in the story. This not only helps to keep the children engaged but also improves their comprehension skills.

In addition to reading, storytelling is another great way to engage children during circle time. You can use puppets, and props, or even act out a story to make it more interesting and engaging. Children love to see their teachers act out stories, and this helps to create a fun and engaging learning environment.

Games and Hands-On Activities into Circle Time

Incorporating games and hands-on activities into circle time can be an effective way to keep preschoolers engaged and interested in the lesson. Not only does it break up the routine and add some fun, but it also helps children learn through play.

Simon Says

One great game to incorporate into circle time is “Simon Says.” This game not only promotes listening skills but also helps develop gross motor skills as children follow the instructions given. Another fun game is “Hot Potato,” which involves passing a ball or object around the circle while music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the object is out. This game helps develop hand-eye coordination and social skills as children learn to take turns and work together.

Art Project

Hands-on activities are also great to incorporate into circle time. For example, you can have children create their own art projects related to the lesson, such as painting or drawing a picture of a particular animal or object. You can also bring in sensory bins filled with different textures or materials related to the lesson, such as sand for a beach-themed lesson or cotton balls for a winter-themed lesson. These activities not only help children engage with the lesson but also promote creativity and exploration.


Go through the calendar, focusing on the month, day, year and day of the week. It is important to have a classroom calendar that is bright and has big numbers and letters that are easy for the preschoolers to see. Use some sort of marker to let the preschoolers know where you are in the month. Seeing a visual helps them to understand the passage of time and learn how we track time throughout the year. You can do this by either putting a sticker on each day or by putting the number of each day up as you go through the calendar. Have the preschoolers repeat as you tell them information about the date. You could say “Today is [day of the week], [month] [day of the month] [year]”. You can reinforce the concept of the days of the week by singing a simple song that will help preschoolers remember.

Days of the Week (sung to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”)

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Days of the Week (sung to the tune of the Adams Family Theme song)

There’s Sunday and there’s Monday. There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday. There’s Thursday and there’s Friday and then there’s Saturday. Days of the week (snap, snap). Days of the week (snap, snap). Days of the week. Days of the week. Days of the week.

Talk about the weather

It is helpful if you have some sort of weather wheel. These can be purchased by most teachers or easily made using a brad and some paper with pictures of the weather. It is best if this is located near a window so the preschoolers can look out the window and observe the weather. Have the preschoolers each tell you something about the weather that day. Is it raining? Is it snowing? What did it feel like while they were coming to school? What type of clothes did they have to wear?

Have a short discussion about the current theme

This should be very short, preferably less than 5 minutes. Circle time should be fun for preschoolers, not tedious. Pick on a piece of information that relates to the preschool theme and discusses it with the preschoolers. Ask them questions that relate to the information and get them involved in the conversation.

Benefits of an Effective Preschool Circle Time Routine

An effective preschool circle time routine has numerous benefits for both teachers and students. It sets the tone for the day, establishes a sense of community, and provides structure for learning. One of the biggest benefits of circle time is that it promotes social and emotional development. During circle time, children have the opportunity to learn how to share, take turns, and communicate with each other. This helps them develop important social skills that they will use throughout their lives.

Circle time is also a great way to introduce new concepts and ideas to children. It provides a platform for teachers to engage students in discussions about the world around them, and helps them develop critical thinking skills. Additionally, circle time can be used to teach important concepts like counting, the alphabet, and colors in a fun and interactive way.

Another benefit of an effective circle time routine is that it helps children develop a sense of routine and structure. In preschool, children are still learning how to navigate the world around them, and having a consistent routine can help them feel more secure and confident. Circle time also provides an opportunity for children to practice following directions and listening skills, which are important for success in school and beyond.