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Circus activities for preschool and homeschooling

The special enchantment of the circus is made up of many things that have always spelled excitement. Children can have this in preschool or homeschooling with just a little imagination from the caregiver. You can even use this theme for a child's party. Below are a few ideas to get started.

Any child can become a clown in the circus with this hanger mask.
Tania Cowling

Under the Big Top Decorations

All the excitement of the circus can come to life by decorating the room. Make it "Under the Big Top" by stringing twisted crepe paper streamers across the ceiling. Use several of these streamers all meeting at a center point.

Decorate with clusters of colorful balloons around the room. Last, don't forget the clowns and animals. Gather all the stuffed animals and toys and scatter them around the room to create a circus theme arena.

Create Circus Art

Use creative abilities to create a clown mask and be the star of the circus. Take a metal clothes hanger to make a diamond-shaped frame. Cut a leg from pantyhose and stretch it up to encircle the frame. Tie the end into a knot at the top. Encourage the children to explore a variety of fabrics, trims, yarns, large sequins, and so on to decorate their mask. Use non-toxic craft glue to adhere the materials. Don't forget about dimensional paints for fabric; they work great! This mask is great for playtime; it's handheld, translucent to see and there is no fear factor for young children.

Add a little whimsical music at the circus by humming tunes into a homemade kazoo. Each child will need one cardboard toilet tube. Take a 4" x 4" piece of cellophane or waxed paper and stretch it over one end of the tube. Secure this with a rubber band. The children can now hum a tune into the open end of the tube. The special kazoo sound is made when the cellophane vibrates on the opposite end. Make this into an art project by encouraging the children to decorate the tube with crayons, markers, and stickers.

Hold Circus Games Outdoors

Gather the children and hold a playground circus performance outdoors. Place a rope on the lawn and "walk the tightrope." Bring out the costumes left from Halloween (parents can donate them) and invite the children to dress up.

Have a "balloon race" where children need to hold a balloon between their legs. Shuffle to the finish line together. Praise every child for his or her efforts and everyone is a winner.

Set up a "clown bean bag toss" by drawing a large clown face on brown butcher paper or poster board. Place this on the lawn. Have the players stand behind a line and toss several beanbags at the clown. Who will get closest to the big red nose?

This circus theme game is a variation on the traditional "Simon Says" game. One child is chosen to be the ringmaster. The ring master call out and mimes an action, such as "ring master says to feed the elephants peanuts" or "ring master says to tame the lions." The other children then follow the command and action. However, if the ring master does not say "ring master says" before giving the command and the players follow his action, they are out of the game. The last child left becomes the new ringmaster.

So, don't fret if the circus is not in town! Use these ideas to plan circus theme activities for any homeschooling or preschool class. If you like getting lesson plan ideas sent to your email, please subscribe to this Examiner page above.