Learning in the Early Years Series

Circle Time at Home

Did you ever attend a library program when you were a child?  Do you ever take your children? Some of my first memories when I was little was going to the Hortonville Public Library (Wisconsin) with my friend. I have memories of the books, music, and crafts we did.  When our first child was little I had a small home daycare and Circle Time was part of our daily routine. I hope this post will give you some ideas to incorporate this into your routine, daily or even a few times a week!

I like to start out my circle time playing the fish game. Make some fish out of some cardstock or cardboard and let the kids decorate them. Add some magnets to them, make a magnetic fishing pole, and the kids take turns catching them. On the back there will be things they need to do. Here are some suggestions:  

  1. What is your name?  

(A great way to practice saying their name. We also work on introducing ourselves and asking the other person what their name is. Practice shaking hands as well.  Sometimes I’ll ask them to say their age as well.

  1. Say something you are thankful for.
  2. Jump on one foot.
  3. Sing a song.
  4. Make up your own dance.
  5. Pretend to be an animal.
  6. What is the weather like today?
  7. What is your favorite thing to eat?
  8. Give someone a hug.    
  9. Stand up, turn around, sit down!

Here is a finger play to that practices counting: 

“1,2,3…Once I Caught a Fish Alive”

One, two, three, four, five

Once I caught a fish alive.

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten

Then I let him go again.

Why did you let him go?

Because he bit my finger so.

Which finger did he bite?

This little finger on the right.

Sing With Your Child

Did you know research has proven that singing to your baby and children? Here are just a few reasons: attachment, communication, literacy, math and spatial skills, rhythm and rhyme, and fun.  Here are some of my go to songs with finger movements added in:

  1. You are My Sunshine
  2. The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  3. I’m a Little Tea Pot
  4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  5. Jesus Loves Me 
  6. The Wheels on the Bus
  7. ABC’s  (have a chart that you can point to the letters each time, will help with letter recognition.)

Singable Books

Books are always a part of our circle time.  I have a basket that we rotate through. Here are some of my favorites.

Iza Trapani has taken a nursery song and added to the story.  These are great because most of us know the song and can sing through it ( this is called a piggy back song where you take the song melody and change the lyrics. A great skill to know!)

Barefoot Books’ singable story books are another great option.  These include a cd with the music that you can follow along with. Remember to SING along though!

I hope this will inspire you to learn more! I have a great handout that includes the printable fish pictures to decorate and a bit more info. Keep singing and moving!

CHIME IN: Is circle time a part of your homeschooling routine? If so, what are some things that you and your children do during this time? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way. 

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