Circus Ideas

Class Clowns: Have each child decorate the blank side of a large brown paper bag. Use sequins, pom-poms, glitter glue, and paints. When bags are finished, cut a hole in the top for their heads, and a hole on each side for their arms. Take construction paper and make cone shapes for hats. Decorate the hats with different colored pom-poms or colored cotton balls. Paint faces to make them look like clowns, and go on a circus parade around your center. The other children are bound to smile at these adorable clowns!

Circus Elephants

Use pieces of dryer vents or empty paper towel tubes with string attached for trunks. Paper ears attached to side of paper plate with hole the size of child’s head. Children are able to cut out ears and color them. They also could color tubes for trunks. Pretend to be trick elephants and choose one to be elephant trainer. Feed the elephants candy circus peanuts when they do a trick.

I love to do a circus theme unit. I would turn the entire room into a circus using our parachute. You can hang it from the cieling and it has a very festive dramatic effect. The kids love it. Also, at the end of the unit I would paint faces and have a circus party with popcorn, peanuts and punch. We has a blast.

To make a circus tent:

Take 1 sheet of newspaper and start rolling it very tightly from 1 corner. You can even use a toothpick to start rolling small. When you get to the end, put a piece of tape to hold. Make a whole bunch of these newspaper rolls. You will then be able to tape them together to make the structure. I did 4 squares first, putting 2 more rolls in the middle to join the corners, making an X. They are the walls. Then I stood them up and taped them together to form a pentagon. Yes 1 side is missing… that’s for the door! On that side, I put 1 roll across on top, and 1 on the bottom. Then you put another roll going up from each corner of the top pentagon and join them all in the middle to make the roof. You can then put a parachute on top and it looks like a circus tent! You could also tape more newspaper on it and paint it. These rolls can be used to construct many different things!

Circus day tape 3 rings on the floor and have 3 different activities in each ring. Jump through hoops . Balance on ring (Tightrope). Circle time could be in the other ring. Have a big Parachute hung for the “Big Top” Have children dress as animals and we even had face painting for clowns.

For more circus ideas take a look at the Totline Circus theme book………I have modified some of the ideas from it in order that they fit my kids and resources. A great book full of ideas, ABC circus pictures, games and more. Well worth the money to add it to your bookshelf. And while looking at it, check out their Space, Zoo and Farm themes as well.

Add to your dramatic play area:

Baggy overalls, silly wigs, dad’s old shoes, any silly hats, capes, tutus, red noses (made from egg carton pieces/elastic, painted red), headbands etc……if game….add facepaint and a mirror.

Let them rip into ’em….and when all are dressed up….have a circus parade. Select the right music and it can be fabulous!


I bought rolls of crepe paper in bright colours and we cut these into strips…..then attached them to a hoop which we hung from a centre point in the ceiling…..taking the ends out to the walls, where we attached them and let the extra length hang down…..really looked like a “Big Top” when we finished…….made a large circle using masking tape on the floor for the ring……..and away we went…….



If you can get hold of the song… is great to have it blaring out as the kids come in the door on the day you are introducing the theme…….sets the scene.

Make your dramatic play area into a circus. Add wigs, big red noses, top hats, over-sized shoes, funny hats, sequined vests, capes, headbands, hula hoops, stuffed circus animals, etc. Let the children explore!




  • April March 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm Reply

    We use the parachute pinned to the ceiling, use balance beams and run streamers and crepe paper all over the place! We face paint and use mirrors and use the theme to discover shape, colors, textures and number recognition…it is loads of fun!

  • April March 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm Reply

    Myself and my helper dressed up as clowns the day we had Circus fun and them played out games and painted the children’s faces and made them clowns as well. Some of them liked it and some didn’t but it was a different experience for them. They liked seeing us all dressed up.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.