A collection of activities that will help children to develop valuable skills, such as: communication, listening, observation, co-ordination, co-operation, concentration, thinking and many more.
The time needed for each activity ranges between five and twenty minutes. Use them to fill spare time to start the day off in a positive and focused way, or add them as starters to your lessons.
Please do let us know which are your favourites and any changes you made or would recommend.
Catch a Story
You will need a ball or a beanbag for this activity. The leader will begin with a story-line. They will then throw the beanbag to someone who will continue the story with another line. This is a good way of getting quieter children involved as they only need to add a line of dialogue and then they can pass the beanbag on. It’s always interesting to see how the story transpires and how it ends.
The Cold Winds Blow
Children sit in a circle and the teacher will need to get them all silent. Tell the children that this will only work if they are as quiet as can be. The teacher then begins by setting the scene: she/he tells the children that she/he can feel a storm brewing in the air. Ask the children if they can feel it too? Then the teacher can say that they can feel the breeze picking up – (gentle, quiet, whistling sounds). This will build to a crescendo and then it will die down. A gentle breeze begins again – (teacher rubs hands together to make a swishing noise). Encourage children to gradually copy you, but remember no talking. The breeze grows louder – (rub more vigorously). Then the pitter-patter of rain can be heard – (tap fingers on palm), then the thunder begins – (begin to stamp feet).
This can then be reversed, bringing the group back to quiet.
The children will need to copy your previous action every time you shout “change”. This activity helps to teach the children concentration skills. So, the teacher claps their hands and the children sit still and do nothing. Teacher shouts “change” and begins to pat their knees. The children should then clap their hands. The teacher will then shout “change” and the children will then pat their knees. The children who are not concentrating are then ‘out’ until you can establish the winner.
I’m Going Hunting
This is a game which is ideal for circle time as everyone needs to be seated in a circle. One person in the circle will begin by saying “I’m going hunting and I am going to take an arrow”. The person next to them will have to repeat what has just been said but will have to come up with something beginning with the next letter in the alphabet. “I’m going hunting and I’m taking an arrow and a bow” etc. This needs to keep going around the circle until someone can’t recall all previous items. You don’t need to say something that you would necessarily take hunting – this will allow the children to have fun with the game and alleviate some of the stress of thinking what to say. This game can be modified to a certain topic, i.e. friendship, bullying etc.
Cross the Circle
Everyone in the circle is given a number. When their number is called they need to cross the circle in a role of some sort. Ideas could be ballerina, break dancer, kangaroo, someone stuck in mud, someone being chased etc.
Bug in Rug
The children sit in circle with a space in the middle. One child has to turn away while another child is chosen to hide under a rug (blanket) in the middle. The child turned away now returns to the group and the children sing “Bug in a rug, bug in a rug, whose that bug under the rug?” The children in the circle then take turns to give the guesser clues, i.e. “It’s a girl, she has long hair; she has brown hair; she is wearing red shoes”, etc etc. The guesser can also ask questions. For younger children you have to model the questions, but four-year-old’s really love this game.
Feel Good Box
In the week, get the children to write something nice about another child in their class. It’s best if the teacher selects a child for the child to comment on. This should ideally be done at the beginning of the week so that the children can receive their comments at the end of the week This also gives the teacher enough time to vet any comments. This ‘game’ helps to create a feel-good buzz amongst the children.
Special Person Garden
A circle time activity which is fab for a display too! During circle time, choose a child’s name out of a ‘gold box’ and let that person be the week’s ‘special person’. Before s/he can be a special person, the children must all think why they like them.
The special person holds a special teddy and sits on a special beanbag. We go around the circle, each child has to say “I like _____ because ___.” Record each thought on a flower, putting the child’s name in the leaf and the other children’s ideas in (about) six petals. Display in a garden on the wall. It looks great when all of your class have a flower in the garden!
This activity helps to raise self esteem by saying positive things about each other. In circle time, ask one child to leave the room then ask the class to describe the good qualities that child has. For example, “James helps others. I think that’s cool”.
Pick two children who want to share their chosen qualities with James. Invite James back to hear what was said about him, he then has to guess who said what. If James selects correctly he has to say thank you and let others known how that makes him feel.
We have played this for years and always had positive feedback. No negative comments allowed!