Preschool circle time ideas for a family theme

Updated April 17, 2017

Preschoolers are beginning to learn about their environment. The family environment is important to children. At preschool, circle-time activities can help children learn about the family as a unit and how they fit in to their family. The family theme can focus on parents, siblings and also grandparents and other extended family members. A variety of active, listening and hands-on family activities will benefit preschoolers.

Who Does This?

Focus on the role of each family member with this circle-time activity. Gather pictures of a washing machine, stove, meal, someone driving a car, a parent at work and families playing together. Glue each picture onto a separate sheet of construction paper. Have the preschoolers pass the pile of pictures to the others in the circle. Say "stop" periodically. The child holding pictures should show the class the picture on top. For example, the child may say, "Dad tucks me into bed at night" or "I help Dad and Mom fold the laundry."

Family Traditions

Explain to preschoolers that a family tradition is something that families do together on a regular basis. For example, an extended family may gather at the grandparents' home for Thanksgiving dinner or meet at a pizza restaurant for each child's birthday. Ask parents to send in a note or even some photos for their preschooler to be able to share about a family tradition in his family. Read the notes out loud and have that child tell more about this tradition in his family. Let the child show any photos his parent sent in. After circle time, let the preschoolers help fasten their photos and notes to a notice board. The children also may want to draw a picture of their family at a family reunion, on a camping trip or gathered to decorate a Christmas tree.

Family Flower

Provide handprint cutouts of different sizes to represent dads, moms, brothers and sisters and the preschooler. Place the pile of handprints in the centre of the circle. Give each child a paper plate and a glue stick. Have each child choose a handprint to represent parents, siblings and themselves. The preschoolers should use a glue stick to fasten handprints around the edge of the paper plate. Tape a paper towel tube to the centre of the underside of the plate to become a flower stem.

Families Gather Game

Arrange and tape four pieces of green construction paper, four pieces of yellow and four pieces of pink paper in a circle on the floor. Add another colour family to the circle if needed for a larger class. Draw a smiling face on one sheet of each colour of paper. Have each preschooler stand on a piece of paper. Play some music and have the children walk in a circle, stepping on each paper as they come to it. When the music stops, the children should step on the nearest colour paper. Then they should gather on a like-colour with the smiling face. Say, "Here is the green family." This is the pink family, and so on, to reinforce the concept of families. Play the game several times.

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About the Author

Larry Davis has worked in the safety and environmental field since 1975, writing for "Chevron Review" and other professional magazines. He wrote monthly columns for "Heavy Equipment News" and has written safety programs and training materials. He holds two bachelor's degrees, a master's degree in safety and earned his doctorate in safety engineering, studying under professors from the University of Iowa and Texas A&M University.