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Turn Your Preschool Classroom Into a Circus - in a Good Way!

written by: lhunsicker • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 1/5/2012

Create some fun activities to engage your students and have some fun learning about the circus at the same time. This preschool lesson plan includes matching activities working with shapes and fun with balloons and even some fun things to do at snack time.

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    Many preschoolers love the animals, clowns, and acrobatics of the circus. This Pre-K circus lesson plan outlines ways to teach preschool aged students about the circus.

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    Circle Time

    Ask the students the following questions.

    1. Have you ever been to a circus?
    2. Have you ever seen a clown?
    3. What did you see at the circus?

    Stories:

    1. Little Monkey Says Good Night by David Walker
    2. Circus by Lou Chort
    3. Circus Caps for Sale by Espher Sheluelkina

    Songs: The Little Clown

    Lyrics and motions:

    This little clown is fat and gray (hold up thumb).

    This little clown does tricks all day (hold up next finger).

    This little clown is tall and strong (hold up next finger).

    This little clown is wee and small (hold up next finger).

    And, this little clown can do anything at all (hold up little finger).

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    Now for the Lessons

    Math:

    Match the Circus Items: Cut out two of each of various circus shapes (clowns, lions, elephants, etc.). Put all the cutouts in a bowl or a clown hat, and let the children match them and then sort them any way they see fit (animals/non animals, by colors, etc.).

    Cotton Candy Matching: Create triangular cotton candy holders and puffy looking cotton candy cutouts in several different colors. Let your students match the cotton candy with its matching holder.

    Feeding the Elephant: Have a picture of an elephant laminated and have a number written on it and the student has to count out the amount of peanut to match the number on the elephant picture.

    Language:

    Read a circus story to the kids. Then ask them to draw their favorite thing from the circus, and have them print what it is on the paper next to their drawing. Discuss the drawings and vocabulary.

    Science:

    Blowing on Balloons: Get either kazoos or the party favors that open when you blow out on them, and show your students that the same thing happens when you put the end of a balloon over the part you blow in to. Younger children will be amazed by this! Explain why the balloon gets bigger when it is blown up (air) and why deflating the balloon makes the kazoo or party favor make noise (also air).

    Demonstrate the Power of Air With Balloons: Very simply, this is a science activity to teach children about air. First blow up a balloon. Then let the air out in a way that your children can see the air in action: Some ideas are to put the end over a party favor or to let the air out blowing on a piece of cotton or a child's hair. Additionally, you can show how the air escaping can make noise by pulling the opening tight.

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    Arts and Crafts

    1. Make a clown face: Use a paper plate for the face and use cut up pieces of yarn for hair. Cut different colors of construction paper into various shapes like triangles, circles, and squares, and use the shapes for a hat, eyes, nose, and mouth. Also use pompoms for the tip of the hat.
    2. A lion can be made with a paper plate and yarn, and cut up circle and triangles can be used for eyes and nose. The yarn can also be the whiskers.
    3. An elephant can be made with the paper plate as well, but the shapes are cut out differently because the trunk shape and ear shapes are not perfect circles, squares, or triangles. The teacher will have to make sure all shapes are pre-drawn, and then the children can cut them out at the teacher’s discretion. This is a good craft for practicing cutting with scissors.
    4. Decorate a popcorn bag: You will need small paper bags; crayons, paint, and/or makers; and popcorn. Give the children each a bag and the materials, and let them make a decorative popcorn bag. Once the bags have dried, put some popcorn in it and, let them have it for a snack or to take home.
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    Snack Time

    • Popcorn can be served in their decorated bags.
    • Take a sugar cookie, and decorate it with icing to look like a balloon.
    • Make a circus train using graham crackers, icing, licorice, M&M's, red hot candy pieces, and small mini crackers for wheels.