Picture this: it’s your kids birthday and you have ten very sugar high children to entertain. Or, maybe you’re chaperoning a field trip and you’ve got a long wait and five kids who are dying of boredom. Or perhaps there’s a family gathering and all the cousins are tired of hanging out with the adults but have nothing to do. Circle Time is great way to solve all of these problems!
Circle Time is as simple as it sounds. Gather your kids in the circle and play a few games or sing some songs to get them focused and listening again. Many teachers or camp/class instructors like to start the day off with some Circle Time because it gives them the chance to have (mostly) undivided attention of the kids where, in addition to games, you can talk about how the day is going to go, set ground rules or anything that needs to be communicated.
Below we’ve selected three great circle time games you can play with various groups of children from around ages four to eight.
Bananas of the World Unite!
This is a very simple chant with some actions that you can either do as a call and answer or, if the kids know it, all together. It’s a fun, short chant that can get sleepy kids energized! Here are the words with the actions in brackets.
Bananas of the World Unite! (slowly raise arms over head and slap your hands together to create a banana shape)
Peel bananas, peel peel bananas x2 (slowly bring each arm down, one at a time, from above your head with a twirling wrist motion)
Slice bananas, slice slice bananas x2 (pass your hands back and forth overtop one another in a slicing motion)
Mash bananas, mash mash bananas x 2 (mash and twist your palms together)
Eat bananas, eat eat bananas x2 (bring your hands towards your mouth as if you’re eating a banana)
GO BANANAS! GO GO BANANAS! x2 (GO BANANAS! Dance around in a circle and go as bananas as you’d like, just be careful of the others around you)
Wake Up Dragon
This game is a good, quiet game that will help with focusing a group of excited kids. You will need one prop that does make a little bit of noise like a set of keys. Here’s how you play!
- In your circle choose one child to be the dragon. The dragon curls up in a ball pretending to be asleep. Beside the dragon are the set of keys as the dragon’s treasure.
- When the dragon is asleep with their eyes closed choose another child to be the adventurer. They have to sneak very very quietly up to the dragon and try to steal the treasure without making any noise and return to their seat.
- Once back at their seat the adventurer holds the treasure behind their back and everyone else does the same. Then together they all say “Wake up dragon!”
- The dragon wakes up and stays sitting in the middle of the circle. They now have to guess who stole their treasure in two or three guesses. They can spin around on the spot but they can’t get up or move from the centre.
This game is a great introduction to creating rhythms and beats as well as following instructions! Here’s how you play!
- Choose one child to leave the room or stand off to the side and close their eyes and ears. They will be guessing who the Rhythm Master is!
- With the guesser out of earshot, quietly choose a Rhythm Master from the remaining kids. They will create a beat or rhythm by clapping their hands together or on their legs.
- Everyone else in the circle now follows the Rhythm Master and claps the same beat at the same time. The master can change the beat or rhythm at any time and the rest of the group should follow as closely as possible but make sure you don’t give away who the Rhythm Master is by watching them too closely!
- The guesser returns to the group and watches closely to try to figure out who the Rhythm Master could be!
Emily Jewer is a Halifax based photographer. Her company MJ Photographics specializes in portraiture, occasionally working with families and couples, but mainly focussing on headshots for performers of all kinds including many kid and teen actors in the region. Emily is also a theatre artist, working as an actor, stage manager and director on many Halifax productions. She works with kids at Neptune Theatre School and as a child supervisor for kids onstage in professional theatre productions.
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