Circle games for preschool

Updated March 23, 2017

Circle games are an opportunity for a preschool teacher and his or her class to do a big activity together. The games listed here can be used by educators so that all children are involved and avoid feeling left out or bored. These games allow preschoolers to sit in a circle with each other and explore activities that are both educational and fun.

Bug in the Rug

Lay a large blanket on the floor and have the children sit around it. Tell one child to step away from the group and close his or her eyes. Tap one of the children to climb under the blanket. After the child hides, have the child with his or her eyes closed return. Have the children chant or sing, "Bug in the rug, bug in the rug, who's that bug in the rug?" He or she then tries to guess who is under the "rug" based on who's not there. Give the child one or two guesses before asking the other child to come out from under the "rug." Continue around the circle until all children have got a chance to play.


This game aims to help children learn how to express their feelings in a fun way. Spread out pictures of children or adults with various facial expressions in the circle. Give each child a turn to pick up a picture and describe the facial expression on it and what it means to him or her. Ask him or her whether he or she can remember having a facial expression like that and ask the other children to chime in the discussion.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Duck, Duck, Goose! is a popular children's game played in a circle. Tell everyone to sit on the floor in a circle, with one child appointed as the "goose." Everyone else are "ducks." The "goose" walks around the circle touching each child's head and saying "duck" until the "goose" decides to yell "goose!" after touching someone's head. The tagged "duck" then gets up and tries to run around the circle to his or her empty spot before the "goose does." If he or she fails, he or she becomes the new "goose."

Hula Hoop Game

Have everyone stand in a circle while holding hands. Ask two people in the circle to let go of each other's hands and put them through a hula hoop. Have the children rejoin hands again. Pass the hula hoop around the circle without anyone losing their grip on another child's hand. Time the activity and encourage them to beat that time the next time the game is played.

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About the Author

Based in the Washington, D.C., area, Dan Taylor has been a professional journalist since 2004. He has been published in the "Baltimore Sun" and "The Washington Times." He started as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia and now writes for "Inside the Navy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government with a journalism track from Patrick Henry College.