Can toddlers have Circle Time?

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Circle time is when children and educators come together and have a joined start for the day. Circle time is much more than a shared moment with the group. Circle time is full of educational aspects as well as the promotion of social development.

According to the Little Book of Circle Time all the learning areas can be covered through circle time activities. Circle time can be used for promoting speaking and listening skills, mathematical thinking, a sense of teamwork, and sharing/taking turns.

How to prepare for circle time?

First of all, prepare a big enough floor space to sit on. It is nice if you have a specific circle time area that you gather on each time. When the circle time area is familiar to children, it is easier for them to concentrate and they know what is ahead when they gather for circle time.

Same, repeated routines are recommendable. For example, start circle time at the same time (for example after breakfast). Have the same starting and ending songs for circle time, but other activities during circle time can vary depending on your current learning theme or season. Also keep track of time, make sure circle time is no more than 20-30 minutes long.

If you have a specific learning theme, attach Circle Time to go together with the theme. For example, if the theme is animals, read a book about animals, sing a song that contains animals (5 little ducks), and let each child show from picture cards which one is their favorite animal! The same circle time activities can be done on many days, especially if the attending children are little. The smaller the children, the more repetition.

Seasons and Weather Lesson Plan Sample

How to involve toddlers in circle time?

Little children (under 3-year-olds) who are possibly only starting to attend circle time may have difficulties sitting still. Here are three points to help toddlers get interested in Circle Time

1. The most important thing is, that you make the circle time area inviting and interesting. A circle carpet and little placemats or pillows for children help toddlers understand where they should be staying. A cozy, calm corner in a familiar space would be great. It is also recommended that you always have circle time in the same spot.

2. Circle time does not have to be very long. When you are only getting used to circle time, it is enough if you get everyone to sit in the circle and sing one song. Little by little, you can add more activities to circle time when children are more motivated to take it all in. It is also fine if someone crawls outside the circle and entertains herself with a book etc. With little children, circle time rules need to be flexible.

3. Little children need more entertainment, visual props, and more playful activities. Have visual support for your songs, for example, if you are going to sing "5 little ducks" gather five little duck toys who move along with the song and disappear one by one. Toddlers are more interested if they have the toys and "play" to follow along with the song. Whatever the activity, song, or rhyme, prepare visual support, a toy, hand puppet, or flashcards to go with it.

If you go through the daily schedule, it is also good to use pictures, and flash cards, to clear it out for little children. It is as simple as making a picture card of every activity you will have during the day: breakfast, circle time, outdoor play, lunchtime, quiet time, playtime, snack time, and going home.

Below you can download a template for Weekly Schedule with printable flash cards.

Download a Weather Wheel

Visual environment

Visual environment is important for circle time, it is good if it helps children to focus during circle time. Here are some examples of activities and pictures you can use for your circle time wall:

  • WHO IS HERE - Have a laminated photo of all the children + educators and see who is present at the kindergarten today and who is staying home/off sick.
  • WHAT IS THE WEATHER - See what the weather is like outside today using a weather wheel.
  • WEEKLY SCHEDULE - Have a weekly schedule with pictures and explain today's activity.
  • EMOTION OF THE DAY - Let the children share their daily feelings with the help of pictures.

Why are flashcards important for toddlers?


WEEKLY SCHEDULE! From below you can download a free weekly schedule for your circle time. Download, print, cut, laminate, and start using! Use the weekly base and put activity cards for each day according to your plans.


Happy Circle Time!