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5 Early Years Circle Time Games

Contributors: Famly.co


Circle time games can be used for introducing plans for the day, discussing important matters or simply as a good old-fashioned morning energy booster. It’s also a great tool for reinforcing the sense of community and improving social skills within your group.


Make sure you keep the sessions short (10 – 15 minutes) and entertaining, bearing in mind the little ones’ short attention spans. Children’s ability to focus depends on many factors and it changes with age. Participating in the circle time games have to be optional – you don’t want to stop engaged learners from happily following their own pursuits elsewhere.


Keeping a stash of pillows somewhere handy might be the most popular way of organising the sitting area for the circle time games but why not take it up a notch? Get some mats and let each kid personalise their own seating with bits and bobs that represent their current interests.

1. Fruit Salad

In a nutshell: This variation of Hot Seats is great for mixing children about before starting any other circle time games.

All the players are divided into a few groups of fruits. A person in the middle calls out one of the fruits and tries to sit in an empty spot while the kids assigned that fruit have to get up quickly and swap places. If the person in the middle calls ‘fruit salad’, everyone has to change spots!

2. Bug in a Rug

In a nutshell: Choose one person to be a ‘guesser’ who goes over to the corner and covers their eyes and one to be the ‘bug’ that sits in the centre of the group, covered by a blanket. The kids in the circle chant ‘bug in a rug, bug in a rug, come and see the bug in a rug’ to call the guesser who has to guess who the bug is.

What you need:

A Blanket


3. Rhyme Songs

In a nutshell: The constant repetition in the nursery rhyme songs is perfect for developing brains that are trying to keep a hold of vocabulary and learn to focus. What’s more, some of the 15 nursery rhyme songs listed come with a special little dance!

What you need:

A musical instrument or a music player Props for some of the songs



4. Elephant Ball

In a nutshell: Introduce a ball into your circle of little players standing with their legs spread. The goal is to have the ball go through the legs of other players by hitting it with both hands clasped.

What you need:

A Foam Ball (or any other ball that isn’t bouncy)



5. The Telephone Game

In a nutshell: This is an oldie but a goodie – it never fails to cause lots of giggles! Come up with a simple sentence or ask one of your players to do so and write it down. Whisper the words into the ear of the first child and tell them to share it with the next one until it gets to the last child who gets to say the usually utterly different sentence out loud.

You can use this activity to explore the alphabet by dedicating each round to a different letter, e.g. Angry Anna Ate Apples.

What you need:

Pen/Paper



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