circle time,  classroom resources,  games,  preschool games,  teaching tips

Great games to play at circle time

I love to play games during circle time because they keep the children’s interest, but I still get to teach specific concepts through the games.  It’s a great way to make sure that I am getting time to do large group instruction, but the children think it’s a ton of fun.  Here are some of the games that I love to play, these can all be differentiated so that everyone gets to be challenged, but still successful; 
Letter games – I use letter cards to play a ton of games, I usually start the year with capital letter cards, and as we explore letters and the children become comfortable with them, then I move to lower case letter cards.  
  • Give each child a letter and ask them to find that letter somewhere in the classroom.  I encourage the children to get up and move around as they look.  
  • Give each child a letter card and ask them to think of something that starts with that letter (help make the sound if they need you to).
  • Hide the letter cards around the room and ask each child to find one and bring it back to the circle, then they have to share which letter they found.
  • Hold up a letter card and ask the class to think of someone whose name starts with that letter. 
  • Give each child a letter card, go around the circle and ask the children to hold their card up one at a time, as a child holds up their card, ask a different child to make the letter sound, you could also have the other child write the letter. 
Number games – I always start with the numbers 1-10, as the children begin to recognize these numbers I will add 11-15, and then 15-20, so that my students who are ready to move on can practice the larger numbers, while those who need more practice with 1-10 can have that without being singled out. 
  • Give each child a number card and ask them to go find that number somewhere in the classroom. 
  • Give each child a number card and ask them to bring that many of something back to the circle. 
  • Hold up a number card and ask the entire class to count to that number.
  • Give each child a number card and ask them to line up in numerical order (with your help).
  • Hold up a number and ask the children to do that many of a particular movement (jump up and down 5 times, do 7 jumping jacks, etc.).
  • Give each child a number card and ask them to write that number and share it with the group. 
Name games – I write each child’s name on a sentence strip or name tag, at the beginning of the year I also include each child’s picture on their name tag.  Once the children begin to recognize their names by the letters I will remove the photos so that the children can focus on just the name.  
  • Give each child a name card (not their own) and ask them to give it to the person it belongs to. 
  • Hide each child’s name card in the classroom and ask them to find their own name card. 
  • Play a matching game, help the children match each child’s picture to the correct name card.
  • Use the children’s name cards to transition to the next activity, hold up their name card to let them know they can choose a center.  
Variations of these simple circle time games can last you all year long and provide awesome learning and review for your students. 

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