Deciding what to do during circle time can be a challenge, especially when you are working with children who have a three - five-minute attention span on the best days. Whether you need to plan a five-minute circle time or you have a few spare minutes that you need to be filled, the activities below have you covered from motor skills development to movements to help stretch out the sillies.
5-Minute Circle Time Activities
1. Don't Wake the Monkey (Or Bear)
Using any handy puppet or stuffed animal, lay the animal in the middle of your circle. This is a great activity to get the wiggles out and make some noise. Students pass out instruments as quietly as they can around the circle without waking the monkey (or bear).
Learn more: Early Impact Learning
2. Classroom Helper
Assign classroom jobs to several students. Keep the jobs cycled so that no one student gets the same job each time. Set time aside to do a minute explanation covering each job to refresh your student's memories. As you make this a classroom routine, you will spend less time reminding.
Learn more: Pre-K Pages
3. We're Glad You're Here Today Song
Sing a welcome song to kick off your students' day. Several one-minute songs are available online to teach. You can use a welcome song every day and then add a quick song that ties into the lesson for the day whether you are working on colors, numbers, or shapes.
Learn more: Kid Sparkz
4. Alphabet Soup
Create your very own classroom stew. Dump a set or two of magnetic letters into a bowl or bin. Have each student pretend to help stir the soup. Then, have a few students pick a letter out of the pot. The student shows their letter to the rest of the class and says the letter name or sound.
Learn more: Activity- Mom
5. Pass the Beat
Help students work on rhythm with a round of pass the beat. Often used with school-aged children, you can easily adapt to a preschool-friendly song. Students pass the beat by touching hands along the circle until a certain point in the song or someone "loses" the beat.
Learn more: Mrs. Miracles Music Room
5-Minute Movement Activities
6. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
A classic children's game, you cannot go wrong with a few rounds of this fun song. Students learn the song tempo, and body parts and get to move and stretch. The activity keeps even the most active child busy and provides a quick movement-based brain break.
Learn more: Youtube
7. Shape Walk
Prep this lesson by creating large foam cut-out shapes. Modify this by taping paper to the floor. Students get to move around the room, but with a catch. They can only walk on the shape that you call out. Use multiple colored shapes to extend the lesson. Then, call out colors instead.
Learn more: Kids Creative Chaos
8. Follow the Leader
Need something to do with the last pesky minutes before dismissal? Play a round of following the leader. Start with students following you to get their jackets or book bags. Tag the next student to add a movement. Parade around the classroom doing new movements with each student's addition.
Learn more: Empowered Parents
9. Remote Control
Bring an old remote control into the classroom or present one onto your AV screen. Have students speed up, pause, slow down and rewind. Add certain movements to each button. If you press volume up, everyone jumps up and down. When you press volume down, everyone tiptoes forward.
Learn more: Appetite to Play
10. Choo Choo Game
Students get to move around the room pumping their arms and making train sounds. Speed up the tempo to get the "train" to move faster or slower. You can also make this a fun way to end the day and straighten up the classroom
Learn more: Appetite to Play
11. Flower Stamps
Use toilet paper rolls to create quick flower stamps. If you have these prepped, students can get right to dipping and stamping. Use these stamps to work on fine motor skills and color recognition.
Learn more: C Mom
12. Tissue Paper Streamer Rainbow
All you need for this quick craft is pre-cut tissue paper, paper plates (cut in half), and cotton balls. Depending on your student's skill levels, you can either prep most of these ahead of time and just have your students add the streamers or you can have them assemble the entire craft.
Learn more: Happines is Homemade
13. Pipe Cleaner Fishing
Five-minute crafts and a fun game all in one. What's not to love? Set out different colored pipe cleaners. Model how to create their fish. Once they have completed the fish, they can go fishing.
Learn more: Glued to my Crafts Blog
14. Pipe Cleaner Rainbow
This five-minute craft activity is a perfect addition to your preschool lesson plan on the weather. Students get to do some hands-on learning and let their creative juices flow as they build their own rainbow out of colorful pipe cleaners.
Learn more: Still Playing School
15. Emoji Paper Plate Craft
Tie this craft into your circle time talk on feelings and emotions. To speed up the activity, have all the materials prepped at a station. Then, students just need to create their emoji faces using the items at the station and their pre-painted yellow paper plates.
Learn more: Happiness is Homemade
5-Minute Motor Skills Activities
16. Patterned Snake Beads
Work your student's fingers with this 3-5 minute skill-building activity. Perfect for building fine motor skills. Use this as a center in a unit on animals or colors (alternating a certain pattern of beads.
Learn more: Mess for Less
17. Woven Placemats
Students can strengthen their hand-eye coordination by creating woven placemats. Use this as a five-minute project station. You can tie this into almost season by varying the colors used to weave the mat. Remember, the larger your starter paper, the longer the activity will take.
Learn more: Origami Resource Center
18. Pom Pom Activity
Looking for fun three to five-minute mini activities? Purchase some colorful pom poms and a few ice trays. In addition, you will need small plastic tongs or tweezers. Have students pick up the pom poms using the tool you provided and place them into one of the tray's partitions.
Learn more: Fun Learning For Kids
19. Hole Punch Activities
Students fine-tune their motor skills with hole punch activities. For a killer lesson on shapes, create hole punch strips with several different shapes repeated. Tell the students they have to punch out all the circles. Preschoolers love this tool and you turn to learn shapes into a fun game.
Learn more: Early Learning Ideas
20. Lacing Cards
Purchase premade lacing cards or make your own tied to your circle time lessons. Have students practice lacing yarn through the cards. Turn this into a review game by having them use only the color yarn you call.
Learn More: Happy Brown House