Circus Week Roundup

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Books, fine motor, gross motor and alphabet practice ideas with a circus theme. Perfect for preschool!

Circus week was a huge hit at my house and we even stretched out our activities for an extra week or so.  The girls were all about all things circus!  Here is a little round up of some of the fun activities that we did.


Picture book ideas for learning about the circus
We started most activities with a book and also read some of these before bed each night. I've linked them to Amazon with my affiliate links to help you find the books faster.  

A random side note - does anyone else struggle with Skippyjon Jones books?  My teaching partner always thought it was hilarious to hear me attempt to read those books to our second graders.  I have no experience with the Spanish language and I would fumble over the words like crazy.  I had my husband read this to the girls and I was dying laughing as he did the EXACT same thing.  He tried to make me read it, but I couldn't because I was laughing so hard.  I don't even know if the girls understood the story between the mispronounced words and a story in a different language than they speak.

Fine Motor & Gross Motor Practice

To do a little fine motor practice, we worked on ripping construction paper to make lion masks.  These were simple to make.  I just cut a circle in a paper plate, the girls glued on the ripped paper and then I punched holes and tied string through.  The only problem was they didn't stay on their faces long as they realized it was easier to jump through a hoop without them.
Cute lion circus masks to work on fine motor skills by tearing construction paper and using glue.

Circus gross motor practice.  Just take a hula hoop and use paper or plastic surveyors tape to add "flames."  Then pick an animal and practice being that animal and jumping through the hoop.
To get a little gross motor fun in, I made a "flaming" hoop to jump through.  I just took a dollar store hula hoop and tied plastic tape to it.  That is my best description of the tape.  You can find it at a home repair store and is usually used for marking off trees that will be cut down.  It comes in neon colors and is a thin plastic.  I've had this roll since I student taught.  Finally, put it to some good use!  The girls loved pretending they were lions and jumping through the hoop.

Make a simple balance beam with 2x4s to practice balance and gross motor skills during a circus unit.  Perfect for a rainy day!
 I had my husband whip up a balance beam for me.  I told him nothing fancy, just something that they could walk on that was only a few inches off the ground,  Mission accomplished.  They loved trying to balance and walk along the beam.  K, my 4 year old, figured it out faster.  M, my 2 year old. wouldn't put one foot in front of the other.  She just kind of shuffled.  We used pool noodles and umbrellas to help with balance and pretend we were Mirette from the book, Mirette on the Highwire.
Balance beam fun during circus week.  Pretending to be Mirette on the Highwire!

Balance beam fun during circus week.  Great to do after reading the book Mirette on the Highwire.

Circus fun with playdough!  Fine motor practice with rolling balls and snakes to make the numbers 1-10.
 For some more fine motor practice, we played with some new red playdough.  We practiced rolling snakes to make the numbers 1-10.  Then we rolled balls to add onto the seals nose.  Playdough is always a hit at our house, though they quickly want to make their own creations.
Circus sensory bin sort is a fun way to practice using tongs and scoopers.  Sort the peanuts and the popcorn after you grab them from the bin.
 I also wanted to do a little sorting practice and build our fine motor skills with our new scoopers.  The girls are loving these and I love that it is helping them with the motions for using scissors.  I dumped popcorn kernels in the bottom and then filled it up with popped popcorn and peanuts.  They had to sort it into feeding the elephant and filling the popcorn.  If you have a peanut allergy and don't want to use peanuts, you could use those orange circus peanuts marshmallow candies.  Bigger and heavier than a peanut, but they'll do the trick.

Alphabet Practice 

Circus alphabet!  Put the uppercase letters in order.
 We also did a little bit of alphabet practice.  K is starting to understand that there is an uppercase and lowercase version for each letter but I've never really had her pair them up.  First, I had her sequence the uppercase letters.  She did a pretty good job but wanted me to sing the song and tell her what came next.  We got caught up with LMNOP and TUV since she sings them as one letter.  When we broke it apart, she easily found the letters.
Circus alphabet fun!  Match the uppercase and lowercase letters together.
Then I had her look for the lowercase version to match.  Some of these were easy for her and some were tricky.  She also got distracted because she wanted to tell me about what starts with each letter because that's what they do in a Curious George book on cd that she listens to during quiet time.  We pulled out the book and went letter by letter to help her find the rest of the matches.

 And because she is the daughter of a blogger and scrapbooker, she had to get out her own camera and take pictures of the final product.

Field Trip

The perfect way to end circus week and make our learning come alive - a field trip to the circus!
Our field trip to the circus was planned before circus week.  Once I found out the circus was coming to town and bought tickets, I started creating learning activities for the girls.  We kept the trip a surprise and they were so excited!!  It was a little long for the 2 year old who just wanted to walk around and eat snacks.  The girls were disappointed that there were no hoops of fire that the animals jumped through.  I'm always impressed with the tigers and elephants and how they are so well trained and how their trainers are fearless.

Looking for more circus ideas?  I have a bunch of ideas on my circus board on Pinterest.  Many of the printables you see above are part of my Circus Preschool Unit that you can also find  HERE.