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Top 5 Favorite Games for Circle Time

Games + Circle Time = engaged whole group learning! 

Whole group games work SOOO incredibly well at circle time.  I use them on the daily and these games allow me to work with students as a group to practice/review all those academic skills – but in a fun way!

Sidenote…Did you happen to catch the Supercharge your Circle Time post?  It was all about adding some *newness* inside your circle time routine, while still keeping it… well… routine!  If you haven’t went and checked it out, go do so – because it sort of sets the stage for this Circle Time Games post!

Today, I want to share with you 5 of my favorite types of circle time games that you can play and adapt for any theme or season!  Let’s jump in…

  1. The Match-Up Game: Grab a pocket chart (or just use the circle time rug) and a set of cards that can be matched up. Lay one part of the matches on the ground (or in the pocket chart) and hand the other part out to students. Have students come up one at a time to help match the cards! The game shown in the picture below uses ‘spiders’ and ‘spider web’ cards to practice matching numeral to quantity. But, this game could be used with so many other themes!
  2. The Hiding Game: With this game, you can take any set of skill cards you want, place them a in pocket chart or on the carpet. Then, just take a card with an animal/character on it (the ones in the photos below are using a mouse and an apple) and hide it behind one of the skill cards. Students take turns guessing where the mouse/apple is hiding by calling out one of the skill cards (for example, letter A). The teacher lifts up letter A to see if the character is hiding. If yes, we all yell ‘found you’! If not, it’s another child’s turn to guess. So, they are working on recognizing what is on the front of the card. In the photos below letter identification and numeral identification are being practiced.  I’m going to be real honest here… I have no idea why this game is such a preschool fav, it honestly doesn’t seem very exciting – but let me tell you… they go CRAZY for this game. I guess it’s all the suspense!
  3. The Pick-a-Card Game: With this game you have skill based cards (like cards with numerals, letters, colors or shapes on them) and a couple ‘movement cards’ placed in a tub/basket. In the picture below, the skill cards have colored leaves and the movement card is the squirrel dance card. To play, students take turns picking a card and either stating the color/shape/numeral/letter on the card or, if a movement card is chosen, EVERYONE does the movement. 
  4. What’s My Word Game: This game has one skill set (but it’s an important one), which is segmenting and blending.  Helping our young ones listen to a word that is stretched apart and hear the sounds to blend it back together gives them a jumpstart to pulling words apart when learning to read and write.  So, that is the goal of the ‘What’s My Word Game’. With simple themed words (like the fall themed words in the picture below), the teacher choses a card, hides it from student eyes and says the word while stretching out (segmenting) the sounds.  The goal is to get students to hear the word put back together to guess the word. They think it’s a fun and silly game, but you know that they are working on blending sounds together!
  5. The Rhyme Erase Game: Rhyming- another really important pre-literacy skill! This whole group rhyming game is really fun and engaging. First, start by drawing a themed item on a white board (in this example it would be a scarecrow). Create rhymes for students to guess and erase on the scarecrow. For example “I like pie, erase one…. (eye)”. Then, a student would come and erase one eye. Rhymes continue until the whole drawing is erased! So fun!

Did you happen to find a new game that you could play during your circle time or whole group time? I sure hope so!

If you are looking for already created, printable the games I use during circle time with my students Circle Time Games, I’ve got you covered!

Circle Time Plan Workbook

Feeling frustrated with student behaviors at circle time? Wanting to skip circle time because it’s such a headache? You need a Circle Time PLAN!

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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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