Circus Theme

The Circus is coming to town!  Children love the smells, sights and sounds and rides!  

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

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Circus Preschool Theme

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for this theme.

Or, you can click the picture link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Circus Theme Art

Animal Mask Act Activity for a Preschool Circus Theme

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.


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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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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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 Is Your Talent (Thank you, Abbie, for this idea!)

Look at pictures of circus acts and talk about what the circus performers can do. Then ask the children to reflect--what is THEIR special talent or skill?

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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!


Of course!  Bring in an air popper and make popcorn in your classroom!  Add melted butter, Parmesan 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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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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Circus Theme Ideas for Your Easel--

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

Balloon Painting

Easel: Balloon Painting - Instead of paint, put out three cups of colored water--red, yellow and blue. The children brush different colors on their papers to create different colors and different balloon shapes.

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Circus Theme Large Group Games

that help build their muscles while they have fun together

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.

Circus Preschool Theme Bean Bag Tossing

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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Circus Theme Ideas for Your Library

Hang a colorful parachute over your library area this week!

Book Suggestions for the Library

(I LOVE Amazon, and some of the links below will take you to the Amazon website.  If you do choose to purchase yours through Amazon, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit! )

Circus by Lois Ehlert

Circus Shapes (MathStart 1) by Stuart J. Murphy

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

Dr. Seuss's Circus McGurkus 1,2,3! Cloth Book (Dr. Seuss Nursery Collection) by Dr. Seuss

Last Night I Dreamed a Circus by Maya Gottfired

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully

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Themed Activities to Help Your Preschoolers Develop Their Math Skills and 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.

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 Activities 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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Themed Activities for Your Sand and Water Table!

Three Rings!

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

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Themed Science Activities for Your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Fun Science Activity for a Circus Preschool Theme

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 vinegar 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 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.

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Go to MAIN THEMES Page for more theme ideas!

Go to Preschool Plan It's Home Page

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