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Circle Time Ideas: Create a Circle Time Cart

Got a Circle Time Cart?  This is one idea for circle time that you are going to want to see!

When you take a minute to stop and think of all the things that you use or could use during circle time, a long list might start forming. Calendar pieces, pointers, markers, well-wishing wands, music, a pocket chart…. 

But, do you make sure that all these items are readily available at your fingertips?  I have found that when I need to take a moment to find a particular material during the flow of circle time – things get a little hairy.  Telling preschoolers to hang on a minute while I jump up and grab what I am missing disrupts our morning flow and also allows for some shenanigans!  Then, we have to stop & get back on track.

Instead of this letting this happen, I try to have most everything we will need for circle time, right next to the rug. 

Really, it’s more about organization and ease of use than anything! And I’m loving the organization of my Circle Time Cart.  So much so that I wanted to share it with you!

Above is a picture of my cart. It’s a pretty nice cart – it rolls, has 10 slots and is quite sturdy.  But, if you don’t have anything quite like this in your classroom – just know that I have used a much smaller rolling cart and even a big basket with success! So, don’t get hung up on the size – just make sure you have everything you need!

Ideas for Your Circle Time Cart:

> C.D.s:  Yes, I know… they are becoming obsolete. But, I’ve got some C.D.s I just love.  So, for now we do a mix of C.D.s and streaming music.  The CD player sits on top of the circle time cart.

>Bean Bags: We love using bean bags for games.  You can see some of these games here. We also use bean bags for the Bean Bag Boogie Songs by Greg and Steve! 

>Scarves: Great for dancing around to release some wiggles and also great for a simple following directions game (like Simon Says, but with a scarf).

> Calendar Pieces: I like to have my pieces for the Calendar in reach. These pieces include Month headers, patterning day cards for each month and special event cards. This is the calendar set I use.

>Instruments: Sometimes we like to practice keeping a beat with instruments. We will sing a simple song like Row Your Boat and try to keep the beat. We also use instruments to make sound patterns.  With the rhythm sticks we also like to do the ‘Tap Your Sticks’ song by Hap Palmer. We love this song for rhythm and following directions.

>Chip Clip Poems: These poems are from Play to Learn Preschool.  You get the chip clips and then print the rhyme to go with them.  These chip clips are very well loved by students and I love that they are rhyming, counting and using language skills!

>Puppets: Who doesn’t love a puppet?  We use puppets during transitions.  We also use puppets during games. If I’m ever losing student attention- a puppet is the answer!  The owl puppet is from Ikea and she is the current fav!

>Large Dice: I love these large dice for playing games. Simple counting games are great for whole group with these large dice.  They are made of foam and you can also get numeral dice

>Pocket Chart: Having a pocket chart (or charts of different sizes) is great for group games like Circle Time Games!

>Wands, Pointers and Fly-Swatters: I love having pointers on hand.  Not only does the Calendar Helper use the pointer when counting on the calendar, we also use them in all kinds of games and activities.  I also have wands available. These wands were homemade, but really any type of wand will do. Our well-wisher (a classroom job), wishes each student a good day by waving the wand over their head and saying “Have a good day {child’s name}. Love this at the beginning of the year for learning names and creating a class community!  We also use fly-swatters (I have word swatters from Learning Resources – which are out of stock. But good news: Dollar Tree may have them at back to school time). We use these swatter for fun games!

>Buckets: Hanging in the circle time area I also have small buckets (from the Dollar Spot a long time ago) filled with different cards we use to play games with. One bucket has letter cards, one bucket has numerals, another shapes and yet another with colors. I can easily pull down a bucket and use the cards inside for an activity.

>Songs: Got an extra minute or two? We love to sing monthly songs, color songs, shapes songs or do some quick circle time activities!

>Markers Box: Found this awesome magnetic tub that was perfect for markers at Target last year. Our calendar helper colors in one spot on the Weather Chart for the type of weather. So, we use these markers daily.  I also use them if we do an activity on a piece of chart paper.

>Greeter Apron: This year I was able to hang our greeter apron on a magnetic hook, but have just used a push pin in the past. We have a classroom job of a ‘Greeter’. The greeter wears the apron and greets each student on the carpet at the start of circle time.  You can learn more about this job and others here.

That’s it!  Those are all the goodies inside of my circle time cart!  I also love that the cart has wheels. That way, at the beginning of the year, I can easily turn the cart around during free play and children will not be digging through it.  I like to make clear to my students that the circle time cart is one of the only two items that students don’t have access to during free play.

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I love helping preschool teachers be the best they can be, by providing quality resources and sharing fun ideas!

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