early childhood education Preschool
Large Group & Circle Activities

Preschool activities that develop into early childhood education lesson plans which offer young children active learning experiences. Activities that pre-k teachers can use to enhance the growth and development of preschool children. Health activities that focus on hand washing are on the second page of this theme.

preschool education

Preschool Activity Theme for Large Groups

Be a Meteorologist
Encourage preschool children to discuss the weather with this early childhood activity by Nancy E.

Materials: White, blue, black, gray, and yellow paper, and velcro.

Description: Draw a map of your town (simple square, circle, oval shape etc.). Place two strips of velcro across it. Out of the paper make, a black cloud, a white cloud, a blue sky, a sun, blue raindrops, and white snowflakes. Put a velcro piece on the back of each paper (opposite of the kind you put on the town picture).

Have one child each day use the clouds, sun, rain or snow and put them on the town to show the daily weather.

Comments: Makes the children aware of the weather and it can bring conversation as to what to wear that day and it makes them a part of that decision.

Weather Helper
This preschool activity by Melany S. increases language development and knowledge about the weather.

Materials: Pictures of the sun, clouds, rain, and snow.

Description: During circle have a weather helper go and look outside of the window to see the weather outside.  Then point to each picture and ask the children what is this a picture of.  Once they identify the picture (for example, sun), have the children ask the weather helper the question. "Is it sunny outside?" Continue for each picture. 
The kids love it and it involves them in question and answer routines.

Gayle's Hint:  Extend this activity by developing a Monthly Weather Chart. On this calendar like chart place a picture each day. At the end of the week or month count the number of sunny, rainy, cloudy etc. days.

The Windy & Rainy Weather Theme is in the Resource Rainbow Room

Pirate Day
Youngsters use their imagination and mapping skills while searching for buried treasure during this fun project by Peggy J.

Materials: Large black paper, stapler, pirate hat tracer, gold coins, a treasure chest and a treasure map for the children to follow

Description: The children will trace the hat pattern on a piece of large black paper. Place another piece on the bottom and cut 2 at a time. the teacher will help the youngsters staple it to fit their heads. They can use a white crayon to draw an X on the hat. Supply them with an eye patch if available. Show the children a treasure map to follow so that they cam find a treasure chest which you have hidden somewhere outside on the playground or in the school. The children will need  to cooperate with one another in order to find the chest filled with a bag of goodies for each one of them.

Comments: You can carry out the theme of the day with snack and story ideas.
If you think of the Ocean or the Sea when you think of pirates, take a look in  the Rainbow Resource Room.

The Man in the Moon
Youngsters have fun and learn about colors and the parts of the body as the participate in this early childhood education activity by Shanell.

Materials: A large sheet of paper or a white board or chalkboard, and different colored markers or chalk.

Description: Draw a large circle on a sheet of paper or on a white board or chalkboard. Tell the children they are going to help you make the man in the moon. Sing the following song:

There was a man in the moon, in the moon, in the moon.
There was a man in the moon, and his name was_____. 
You can have each child think of a name for the man in the moon as you call one child up at a time to draw a body part. Have the child pick a color and draw the body part you ask them to. Finish the song :
 His eyes were made of black olives,
 His nose was made of a green pickle
Have the kids use their imagination as they create the man in the moon. They can pretend to make the body parts out of almost anything! When you are done,  The Man in the Moon can be your special guest for story time!

Comments: The kids love this activity! There are many variations, and this can help your young students learn their colors.

If you're looking for activities about Outer Space, you'll find them in the Rainbow Resource Room.

Jolly Jump Up!
This fun preschool activity by Joy H. helps youngsters with numbers, shapes and alphabet letters..

Materials: Index cards, black marker and clear contact paper.

Description: In advance on each index card teachers write numbers, shapes or abc's, whichever concept you are trying to help the children learn. Cover with contact paper so that they will last longer. I use the cards during circle time. 

Show the cards to the children one at a time and they call out what is written on the card. Explain to them that whenever they here the words Jolly Jump, they are to get up and jump until you say sit to back down. Depending on the attention span of the children teachers can make it fast or slow the pace, . It is a good way to get youngsters moving about, if they seem restless, and it's also a good way to reinforce numbers, shapes and alphabet letters.

circle time activityNo Lose Musical Chairs
Preschool children use large motor skills and participate in a group game in which everyone wins during this large group activity from Lisa.

Materials: Chairs and music.

Description: Line chairs up like regular musical chairs.  Use the same amount of chairs as there are kids.  Play the same as Musical Chairs, only do not take hairs away at end, so no one loses.  Even toddlers love it! 

Obstacle Course
Amy C. suggests this early childhood activity saying, "This activity can be used to reinforce the concepts of over, under, in, through, around and beside while practicing gross motor skills and and following directions."

Materials: A large open room and I have used; a balance beam, hula hoops, carpet squares, tables, a limbo stick, tumbling mats and any number of items from the gym.

Description: I set up a simple obstacle course that would require the children to crawl or walk over, under and beside any of the above mentioned items. 
One example is a sequence involving stepping over the balance beam, skipping to the hula hoops laid out on the floor and jumping in, then out, of each one, then galloping to the table and crawling under, then walking around the tumbling mat to cross a finish line.

We sit down as a group and go over the sequence I have decided upon for that day.  Then I pick a volunteer or two to go through the course with directions from the class. We then take turns going through the course without directions. 

Once everyone has completed the course at least once we start from the last step and go through it backwards.  Again one or two volunteers go through with directions from the class and then everyone takes a turn and tries to do it from memory. I encourage the children to cheer one another and to help one another if anyone forgets the next step.

Comments: I use this activity once a month or so to reinforce the concepts and large muscle skills we have been working on most recently.  Because I can set it up for older or younger children or even physically challenged children everyone wins!

circle time songCircle Time Song
Teachers can use this song from Sharon at the beginning of circle time to get the children focused and excited about the circle.

Materials: Puppets or stuffed animals of any kind.

Description: We sing this song as one of the first songs once the children are sitting down for circle:

Everybody do this, do this, do this
Everybody do this, just like me.
"This" can be clapping your hands, stomping your feet, touching your toes, etc. Instead of the teacher doing "this" herself, the teacher can use a puppet that is related to the theme the children are studying. Manipulate the puppet to do "this". The children love the idea that they are taking their lead from a puppet!

Circle Time and Transition Song
Capture the children's attention and have fun singing this song contributed by Jenny.

Description: Sing this song at circle time, during an activity or on a rainy day (when the sun is just beginning to come out).

songMister Sun Song (Improvise your tune)
O mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, please shine down on me.
O mister sun, sun mister golden sun, hiding behind a tree. 
These little children are asking you to please come out so they can
   play with you.
O mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, please shine down on, 
  please shine down on, please shine down on me!

There's a Transition Theme in the Rainbow Resource Room.

circle time music activityOld MacDonald Had A Band
Encourage preschool and kindergarten children to learn about
instruments and the sounds that they make with this activity from Mae-Lena H.

Materials: Flannel board, pictures of instruments used, instruments (any instruments can be used; drums, triangles, cymbals, tambourines, etc.

Description: Talk with children about instruments and then show them pictures of each instrument to be used. Let children get an instrument and go through how instruments are to be played. Then you can begin singing the song. The tune is Old MacDonald Had A Farm, instead of animal sounds, replace them with the instruments being played.

The Farm Theme is in the Rainbow Resource Room.

Days of the Week songsPre-school Days of the Week
Pre-k children begin to learn the days of the week through these 2 songs by Jami.

Description: These days of the week songs are sung to old tv show favorites. The children don't know the show, but when they share it with their parents the familiar song creates a fun connection for both.

Tune: "The Addams Family theme"
There's Sunday and there's Monday,
There's Tuesday and there's Wednesday,
There's Thursday and there's Friday,
And Saturday ends the week.

Days of the Week (Clap, Clap)
Days of the Week (Clap, Clap)

The next song is to tune of the show "Happy Days"

Sunday, Monday, Happy days
Tuesday, Wednesday Happy days
Thursday, Friday Happy Days 
And Saturday ends the week
Leaving 7 days for you.
There's 7 da-ays in a week, 
Yours and mine
Happy Days!

Comments: the kids come back to school and tell us that their parents know that tune!  It makes them excited.

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More Circle Activities

Alphabet Theme

Back to School

Black History

Book Themes

Brain Growth

Counting and
Number Theme

Dinosaur Theme

Fall Theme

Spring Theme

Summer Theme

Winter Theme

The Five Senses

Holiday Craft

Home Activities

Me, My Family 
and Friends

Multicultural Theme

Outdoor Play

Resource Room

Rhyme, Songs 

Small Group

Toddler Theme

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