How To Successfully Do Toddler Circle Time
The thought of circle time with a bunch of busy, wiggly toddlers may sound daunting but the rewards are amazing. What you need is a grab bag of a full proof structure and method along with some great tips from experts to shore up your courage 🙂
You are in the right place in this article you will gain insight into the best ideas and methods for a successful toddler circle time. Everything from how long circle time with toddlers should be to a whole slew of great ideas to implement along with tips and ideas for the most success. After this, you will be armed with what it takes to have successful circle time with a room full of on the go toddlers.
How Is Circle Time Beneficial?
Circle time is an excellent tool for enhancing language and social development. It can give kids the tools to engage with and listen to others as well as improving specific skills and concepts
Circle time improves skills in the specific areas of:
- Improved speaking and listening skills.
- Increased self-esteem.
- A sense of community.
- An understanding of how their behavior affects others.
- Improved emotional intelligence.
- Improved problem-solving skills.
- A sense of responsibility.
- Improved relationships between children, and between children and their teacher.
according to The School Run website
Circle time can be a powerful learning tool, but getting a group of toddlers on board may not be so easy. I hope these ideas will help in your lofty endeavor 🙂
How Long Should A Circle Time For Toddlers Be?
One of the main tenants in this article from Penn State on Successful Circle Time For Toddlers is to keep it short.
Toddlers, by nature, are very active. By keeping it super short it gives them a chance to be successful. You can then expand little by little on that success and their interest as they continue to develop.
In her article Secrets To A Successful Toddler Circle Time, Sheryl of Teaching 2 and 3-Year-Olds says 5-7 minutes is a good place to start.
Routine Is Essential For Circle Time For Toddlers
Routines are a great way to let kids know what’s coming. A specific activity to start is a way to move from a busy activity or free play into a more structured group time. It gets their brain going in the direction of the anticipated activity and helps prepare them for what will be expected of them. Any kind of signal will work as long as it’s consistent.
Some ideas to get you started are:
~A basket of books to look through
~where they sit
~songs they sing
~A special rhyme
~special significant activities (show and tell -colors, tactile experiences, etc from a bag)
It’s also a good idea to have a routine way of ending circle time as well as a specific routine for activities during circle time.
This can be as simple as starting with a song or asking a question that pertains to a book you want to read. Reading the book, then doing some sort of movement activity. And finally, close with a special song or rhyme.
Remember, the key to success is to keep each activity short and engaging.
Make Sure Toddler Have A Space Of Their Own For Circle Time
Of course, you can’t have a successful circle time when children are running all around doing their own thing! But it’s also a mistake to constrict the movements of toddlers too much.
Toddlers are very wiggly human beings. It’s this energy and enthusiasm that help them explore their world and learn all about it. You don’t want them focusing all of their attention on being still, that won’t leave any attention for learning.
By giving each child their own space with limits they are free to wiggle, sit on their knees, or even stand if needed without interrupting the flow of the circle time. When toddlers are allowed some movement they can actually concentrate, and learn, better.
Some ideas to appoint a special space for each child are:
Participation Activities Keep Toddlers Engaged In Circle Time
Toddlers learn by moving and touching. Being able to participate in a story with movement can keep their attention longer and actually help them soak in and retain information.
I touch on some of the ideas behind how movement enhances learning in this post on the Benefits of Music and Movement Activities.
Other ideas for toddler circle time
Here are some ideas for activities that would be great to use in your circle time activity plans with scarves and streamers.
And The Inspired Tree House has 6 Creative Movement Activities For Kids Using Scarves And Streamers that would be amazing for toddler circle time.
Here are some ideas for what to do when circle time flops.
And for extra help with those kiddos who just can’t seem to sit still Teaching 2 and 3-Year-Olds comes through.
Great Circle times Are Musical
Music is also an important part of circle time. From transitioning to circle time and closing circle time to learning new concepts and building language skills, music can be a fun help.
Songs that are interactive and build skills are perfect, as are repetitive songs and songs with a beat. Rhythm is important in learning concepts as we discussed in the Benefits of Music and Movement Activities.
This article by Sheryl at Teaching 2 and 3-Year-Olds is a great place to start for learning how to use circle time songs as learning activities.
Making your own rhythm instruments can be a fun activity and will draw the kids into musical learning. They are easy to make out of materials you already have and simple enough for little ones.
Songs for Teaching has an amazing list of songs for every aspect of circle time.
Katie at Preschool Inspirations has a list of the best “Hello” songs for circle time for you to use.
Sara at Let’s Play Music has a list of 6 fun songs specifically for circle time.
Tools For A Successful Circle Time With Toddlers
Circle time with toddlers can be fun and socially engaging for toddlers as well as honing in on some important skills.
Just remember to keep it short and simple, especially at first. You can add in other exciting and engaging activities as they mature.
Set up a routine to transition into circle time and for specific circle time activities.
Let them move and participate and of course, add music!
You can find out more ideas about successful circle time at home in this article Janet wrote for With the Huddlestons.
Pin these ideas on successful toddler circle time for later