The circus theme will keep children engaged and interested. Children are fascinated with the acts and animals in the circus. You can teach a circus unit leading up to a visit to the circus or anytime throughout the year. Any circus theme should focus on circus animals and the sites and sounds of the circus.
Arts and Crafts
The circus theme works well with younger children. Arts projects for younger children include painting and colouring and other easy projects. Create a clown face on a paper plate. Paint styrofoam balls red for the nose and glue on the eyes. Paint a red mouth and cheeks. Show the children pictures of clowns as examples. Print off colouring pages of tents, zoo acts or clowns for the students to colour during free time.
Make a mock "tightrope" in the classroom and explain how tightrope walkers at the circus operate. Make the tightrope from masking tape placed in a straight line on the floor. Let every child take turns walking the line pretending to be a tightrope walker. Let one child pretend to be the ringmaster and direct the other children, pretending to be circus animals like elephants, lions or tigers. Let children take turns playing all the animals and the ringmaster.
Songs and Books
Several children's books about the circus are available. Read these books out loud to the class. Some circus-themed books include: "If I Ran the Circus" by Dr. Seuss and "Olivia Saves the Circus" by Ian Falconer. If the child can write, tell him to write a story about the circus or to draw a picture book story. Make up songs about circus animals and acts. Have the children put on a play for parents with songs about the circus.
Bring in circus snacks for students. Especially if the students aren't going to the circus, but just learning about it. Some snacks found at the circus include popcorn, candyfloss and peanut butter. At the circus, these snacks often come in red-striped bags. Make the bags by buying white lunch bags and painting or colouring red stripes. Bring in animal crackers with circus animals. Let the children pick out favourite animals. Use animal cookie cutters to make cookies out of circus animal shapes.
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