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Circus Theme

This Circus Theme page includes preschool lesson plans, activities and Interest Learning Center ideas for your Preschool Classroom!

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

CIRCUS Art Activities Block Area Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement Sand and Water Table Science Activities Writing Activities Miscellaneous Ideas

Art Activities

Circus Theme Art

Peanut Fun

Materials Needed: packing peanuts, shallow dish of water and tagboard for a base.

The children dip the peanuts into the water and then they will stick together!

Most packing peanuts are made of starch and water now, so this is pretty cool!

There are also colored packing peanuts you can purchase at teacher supply stores.

Animal Face Masks

In advance, cut eye holes in paper plates.

Provide crayons for the children to decorate their face masks. 

Attach a large craft stick for the children to hold the mask to their face!


Ask parents to collect boxes of different sizes prior to this theme (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.)

Give the children miscellaneous craft supplies and glue to decorate their wagon that will transport a specific animal.

EXTENSION:  Cut out pictures of animals for the children to glue on their wagon once it is decorated.

Clowning Around

In advance, pre cut shapes.  Make many circles (for heads), squares, circles, triangles, etc.

Provide them to the children with glue sticks to make their own clown faces.


Materials needed:  liquid starch, brushes, colored tissue paper, plastic wrap

Children tear tissue paper and use liquid starch to glue the tissue paper onto the plastic wrap.

These are very cool!

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Block Area

Circus Theme Block Center Ideas

Add a variety of blocks to your unit blocks.  The colored, cardboard blocks that look like bricks are great for this theme as well as adding small, colored wooden blocks.  

Add small plastic animals and you will be surprised at what the children build!

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Circle Time Activities

Circus Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!

Four Silly Clowns

Make flannel pieces or clowns on paper with sticks to hold them with that match the ones in the following poem.

Give out the flannel pieces or stick clowns before reading it.

I make enough for every child to have one.  You could also make enough for half the class to have one and then read the poem twice!

This little clown is happy and fat!

This big clown wears a big red hat!

This happy clown is strong and tall!

And this tiny clown is the silliest of all!

What Circle Time ideas do you have for this theme?  Use the Contact Me button to the left to send ideas for me to add to this page!  Please be sure to let me know your ideas are for the Circus Theme Page!

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Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!

Pear Clowns

Canned pears make so many shaped snacks!  Be sure to use canned pears that are in water not syrup!

Ingredients needed:  Pear halves (one for each child), raisins, grated cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, cherries (without pits)

The children place the pear half on a plate.  Use raisins for eyes and mouth.  Use a cherry for a nose.  Use cheese for hair.  Use lettuce for the collar.  Yum!


Of course!  Bring in an air popper and make popcorn in your classroom!  Add melted butter, parmesean cheese or other toppings.  

EXTENSION:  While the popcorn is popping, give the children white lunch bags/sacks to decorate for their popcorn!

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Dramatic Play Ideas

Circus Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Time To Play! 

Setting up your dramatic play area for this theme will be limited only by your imagination!  Turn a box or small table into a ticket booth; tape jump ropes on the floor for the children to balance on; provide themed stuffed animals for the children to train; provide extra chairs for the "audience"; hang a parachute over this area to set the theme!

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Easel Ideas

Circus Theme Ideas for your Easel--

More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Balloon Painting

Precut balloon shapes for your easel (use thick white construction paper or tagboard).

Instead of paint, put out three cups of colored water--red, yellow and blue.

The children brush different colors on their balloons to make new colors.

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Gross Motor Games

Circus Theme Large Group Games 

that help build their muscles while they have fun together

Three Activity Obstacle Course  Thank you to Eliana M. for submitting this activity!

Materials needed:  masking tape, hula hoops, stick horses

Set up an obstacle course in an area that is large enough for your children to move in.

Lay a line of masking tape on the floor.  The children pretend to walk the tight rope.

Next, you (or another child) hold a hula hoop upright and let the children move through it pretending to be lions going through flaming circles.

Finally, have the children ride the stick horse to a designated area and back to finish the obstacle course.

Ring Toss

Let the children play a ring toss game.  They are pretty inexpensive at toy stores.

VARIATION:  Have the children toss the rings (or balls) into a bucket.  Red balls or rings into a red bucket, blue into blue, etc.

Bean Bag Toss

In advance, make a large clown or animal with its mouth open (cut out mouth area).

The children toss the bean bags into the mouth.

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Library and Literacy

Themed Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Hang a colorful parachute over your library area this week!

Book Suggestions for the Library

Circus by Lois Ehlert

Circus Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

Dr. Suess's Circus McGurkus 1,2,3!  by Dr. Seuss

Last Night I Dreamed a Circus by Maya Gottfired

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully

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Math And Manipulatives Activities

Themed Activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

Feed the Elephants!    Thank you to Eliana M. for submitting this activity!

Materials needed:  candy circus peanuts, 10 elephant pictures (pictures may be die cuts, elephant pictures from magazines, elephant coloring pages, etc.)

Number the elephant pictures from 1-10.

Have children place the correct number of candy peanuts on each elephant.

Of course, the children can eat one for a job well done!

Match the Clowns

Find a picture of clowns from a coloring book or online.  Make collars for each clown if the picture does not have one.

Color each collar a different color or color with a different pattern.

Make a paper hat for each clown, coloring a hat to match the color or pattern of each clown collar.

Glue the clowns in a file folder.

The children match the hats to the correct clown.

Seal Counting

In advance, color pictures of seals with a ball on their noses.

Print numbers and the corresponding number of dots on each ball from 1-8 or 1-10.

Color and laminate paper fish....lots of them!  

The children place the correct number of fish on each ball or seal.

Memory Game

From magazines or online, cut out duplicate pictures of circus related items:  animals, clowns, seals, wagons, big tops, etc.

You could also use themed stickers.

Glue them to small cards (cut index cards into 4 pieces).  Laminate for durability.

The children match the cards.

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Music and Movement

Themed Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

The Circus is Marching In!

Play exciting music and have a parade inside or outside!

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Sand and Water Table

Themed Activities for the Senses!

Three Rings!

Place sand in your sensory table.  Add plastic animals for the children to use.

Magical Clown Noses

Fill your sensory table with rice.  Provide wide mouth jars, covers and red ping pong or golf balls.

Place a couple of balls in a jar.  Fill with rice, leaving about two inches on the top.

Cover the jar.

When the children shake the jar, the balls magically come to the top!

Empty the jars and do it again!

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Science Activities

Themed Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

That's Such a GAS!

Materials needed:  small water bottles, balloons, vinegar, baking soda, small funnel

Have the children help you put a teaspoon of baking soda in each bottle.

Have them pour about 1 inch of vingar in quickly.

YOU quickly put a balloon over the top of the bottle.

The gas created will fill the balloon!  

Try this on your own to get the correct proportions of vinegar and baking soda for your sized bottles.

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Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Theme!

Stencil Fun

Use circus stencils (make some from cardboard if you don't have any).  Make shapes of clowns, horses, ringmasters, balloons, etc.

The children use the stencils to make pictures that they can tell you a story about!  Write down their stories.

Ticket Time

Provide scissors, index cards, themed stamps, stamp pads and crayons for the children to make tickets for their dramatic play area!

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Miscellaneous Ideas

Miscellaneous Activities for Your Theme!

Face Painting

Purchase some hypoallergenic face paints.  Ask a parent to volunteer to face paint one day!  

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Go to MAIN THEMES page from this Circus Page
Go to Preschool Plan-It's Home Page