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6 Circle Time Activities To Play On A Preschool or Daycare Mat

6 Circle Time Activities To Play On A Preschool or Daycare Mat

Whether you work at a daycare facility or a preschool, you know that when you have a group of chatty, squirmy children, you need a game plan STAT. Your best bet? Have a tried-and-true selection of circle time activities and ideas at the ready that you can play on your facility's daycare mat. To make your life just a little bit easier, we're sharing some fun and engaging daycare and preschool circle time activities to do on soft foam mats that will help reel in your children's attention while teaching them valuable skills.

1. Bug In A Rug

No, this isn't nap time. But you will need a blanket. First, get everyone into one wide circle or square on the play mat. This fun preschool circle time activity requires one person to be the "guesser." This person will then go to one corner of the play mat and cover their eyes. You'll then need one person to be the "bug." This person will sit in the very center of the group, covered up with the blanket.

At this point, the rest of the children will chant, "Bug in a rug, bug in a rug, come see the bug in a rug!" This is the guesser's indication to uncover their eyes, survey the group and guess who the "bug in the rug" is. The guesser can continue guessing until they guess correctly. Then the game can start again with a new guesser and bug in the rug. This preschool group time activity is great for building memory skills and introducing rhyming words.

2. Alphabet Soup

Get ready to stir up some fun with the Alphabet Soup game. One of our favorite circle time ideas, this game requires a set of letter magnets, a pot and a ladle. Gather the children in a circle on your Yay! Mats Play Mat — it's time to make a steaming pot of alphabet soup!

Tell the kids to put on their pretend chef hats and dump the alphabet magnets into the pot. Let them take turns stirring the "soup" with the ladle and scooping out a letter. On their turn, the child will show the letter to the group and let them try to identify the letter. This is a fantastic activity for circle time for toddlers to help them begin to recognize and learn their letters.

3. Telephone

If this game sounds familiar, it's because it is! This oldie but goodie never fails to entertain. Have the kids sit down on the play mat in a wide circle. Then, come up with a fun and simple sentence (or have one of the kids do so) and write it down. Then, whoever came up with the sentence will whisper it into the child's ear to the right of them. They will then whisper what they heard into the next child's ear, and on and on until it gets to the last child. The last child in the circle will announce aloud the sentence that was whispered to them. It's usually completely different than the original sentence and giggles will most certainly ensue.

This is a great circle time daycare or preschool activity to keep kids busy while sharpening their listening skills. You can even use this game to help the kids learn their alphabet by having each round use a different letter, for example, "Bears Bravely Bought Bananas."

4. Honey Bear

Let's keep the bear train rolling with our next daycare mat activity: Honey Bear! For this game, you'll need something resembling a honeypot, like a small plastic vase or bowl. Then, have everyone sit in a circle on the play mat and choose one child to be the "bear." The bear will sit in the middle and guard the honeypot, pretending to be asleep. Next, secretly point to someone to steal the honey pot. The "thief" will then hide the honeypot behind their back and the rest of the children will all keep their hands behind their backs.

When everyone has their hands behind their backs, the kids can yell, "Wake up, Mr. Bear!" The bear will go around the circle and ask each child if they have the honeypot, as each child shows their hands to prove they don't. Whoever is found with the pot gets to be the bear during the next round. This type of game is fantastic for practicing taking turns.

5. Color Hunt

Color Hunt is one of our favorite daycare and preschool circle time activities to get kids up and moving. For this game, you'll need a color spinner, like the one found in the game Twister. Gather all the kids around the play mat — this will be home base. Let each child take a turn spinning the arrow. Whatever color they land on, that child has to go find something in the room of that color and bring it back to home base or point to it if it's too large.

To keep kids engaged and paying attention when it's not their turn, make it a rule that items cannot be repeated. This preschool circle time activity is ideal for reinforcing turn-taking skills and practicing paying attention.

6. Pass the Movement

Much like Telephone, Pass the Movement will have kids sit in a big circle and convey information from person to person. But instead of whispered words, kids will pass movements. The first child should start with something simple, like touching the top of their head with both hands, then let the movement travel around the circle, seeing how the first movement changes from beginning to end.

Circle time child care activities get used A LOT. So, we love circle time games that can be expanded or altered. You can add a level of difficulty to this game by asking each child to not only remember the previous movement(s) but to also add their own movement into the sequence. Once you've completed the circle, you can put the movements to song, letting the kids stand up and dance out the moves to music!

Introduce Kids To A World of Adventure & Play with the Help of a Yay! Mats Daycare Mat

Daycare and preschool facilities need play mats that work just as hard as they do, something that can be used for a variety of activities while keeping kids comfortable. At Yay! Mats, we wanted to create a preschool and daycare mat that is not only safe, but also inspires kids to learn and play. We've worked hard to design our durable yet stylish Yay! Mats Play Mats to do just that. Our best-selling mats come in a specially curated selection of modern patterns that incorporate seamlessly into any classroom or playroom. Check out our full collection and discover how our play mats inspire preschool circle time ideas, learning time activities and so much more. Reach out for more information about our popular Yay! Mats Play Mats today.

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Learn More About Our Home Nursery & Circle Time Daycare Mats

Looking for that perfect play mat for your nursery, preschool or daycare? Check out our super helpful blog posts about tummy time basics, creating a stylish nursery and so much more. You'll discover the best tips and tricks, all while learning how foam mats from Yay! Mats can create the best foundation for children's growth and development.