Copyright © June Cleaver in yoga pants
Design by Dzignine
Friday, January 25, 2013

circle time thoughts, and a winter circle

Circle time is a favorite thing at our house.

Okay, so at first it feels corny, kind of forced, especially when you have your six year old jumping on the couch, rolling his eyes at doing I'm a little teapot for the toddler. You find yourself yelling DO THE MOTIONS TOO. And then feeling bad for yelling. Wash Rinse Repeat.

BUT after awhile it becomes a happy rhthym to the day, little miss has a happy glowing smile when we start and, oh, the cutest thing is baby toddler's face, especially as we "circle round the dancing fairy ring" in the beginning. She wiggles her little body to the singing, bopping her head like a little chickadee. Adorable.

So, why do it?

Rhythm, you know? Coming together to do something fun, as a family. Even if you, like most parents, sing a few songs, do nursery rhymes together, its nice to have it be an official, "thing" a special happy time. Also, as a busy mama, its so easy to be like, oh, its 11:30 the kids are hungry, they've been playing all morning and I've been cleaning, and oh, I havent really interacted with them in a goodly few hours. (Yes, I meant to write goodly. Just wanted to.) So you do circle time, breathe in, breathe out, you know? This is a good thing to think for the day, breathe in as a unit, take some time to connect, then breathe out, as they go play and you attack the laundry. (Which I am neglecting right now as I type in the sunshine with a cup of chai...)

And yes, sometimes it feels forced. Mama is grumpy. Mama is tired. There was a reason I didnt become a preschool teacher! But, you know how it is, you force a smile for a few minutes as you sing "row row row your boat" for the fourth time, and suddenly you are grinning too, at your little kiddies, having fun together.

So, give it a whirl. It might work for you!

Here is what we do, for winter at least. Also, I pretty much just go right into the next verse or movement, to keep up the flow, you want to avoid stopping and staring at your kids, or asking them what they want to do next (asking for them to argue about it, HA) but of course if they want a repeat I might do a verse again once or twice. I have all these on my IPhone, some say you should have it memorized...I'm getting there...

Also, Pre-homeschool I would follow this time with a simple story, acting it out with little figures (think the three little pigs or the gingerbread man). We still do, for little miss and toddler girl, but then we keep going right into school time.

For us having a "call song" to circle time is important. Some families might light a candle or blow a few notes on a whistle or ring a chime.

And, we dont do all of the following, it varies from day to day. (That would be a LONG circle time) And yes, we often end with yoga! We do yoga poses with kid names, although little man does like the warrior poses. HA.

And here is our call song.

Follow, follow me
To the ring of the fairies
Follow, follow me,
Where the fairies dance and sing.
Gather with now
All the magic you can carry,
As we circle ‘round the dancing fairy ring.

Now look around
We’ve made a ring
By holding hands you see.
Yes, here I am,
And there you are,
Together we are we.

We sing this while holding hands, and doing a few motions at the end.
Then we do a few circle songs, with motions, where obvious.

Rinka ranka rosy ray.
Welcome, welcome, golden day.
I can skip and I can hop.
I can turn and I can stop.
I can dance and I can sing,
With my friends we form a ring.

Sally go round the sun
Sally go round the moon
Sally go round the chimney pot
on a snowy afternoon
( go around in a circle then all move in to center on whoosh!)

Ring around the roses,
A pocket full of posies.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
Ashes, ashes
We all stand up.

Then we say our good morning verse:

Good morning dear earth
Good morning dear sun
Good morning dear flowers and fairies, everyone
Good morning dear beasts and birds in the tree
Good morning to you and good morning to me!

Or maybe this one:

Morning has come (arms up open)
the night is away (bring arms to sides on floor outstretched )
We rise with the sun (stand up)
And welcome the day!

This one is apparently a song. I found it online. I like the words but dont know the tune. I made one up.
Good Morning to the Sun up in the sky
(hands arms opening to sun gesture)
Good Morning to the birds as they fly on by
(arms out at sides fluttering)
Good Morning to the trees so straight and tall
( arms above head straight and tall, palms together))
Good Morning to the birds and squirrels and all
(hands cupped against chest at heart level look down)
Good Morning everyone
(outstretch arms for hug if you like)

I like to then do snippets of some classic hymns, like this one:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Then maybe some finger play type verses. We are doing ones about forest or winter animals and counting right now.

(use fingers on your hands for each “bunny”)

One, two little bunnies
Sitting on the ground.
Three, four little bunnies
Looking all around.
Five, six little bunnies
Standing in a row
Seven, eight little bunnies
Waiting for the snow.
Nine, ten little bunnies
All ready to go
Five little mice went out to play, (Creep hand away from body on floor)
Gathering crumbs along the way, (Pretend to pick crumbs off floor)
Out came pussycat sleek and fat; (Arms out from belly)
Four little mice went scampering back (Four fingers creep back toward body)
(etc, counting down to one who luckily escapes!!)


2 tiny tadpoles swimming near the shore,
up swam another two and that made 4.

4 tiny tadpoles playing naughty tricks,
up swam another two and that made 6.

6 tiny tadpoles in a giddy state,
up swam another two and that made 8.

8 tiny tadpoles found a little den,
up swam another two and that made 10.

10 tiny tadpoles in the mud did delve,
up swam another two and that made 12.

12 tiny tadpoles wriggling just for fun,
One called out, “There’s the stork!”,
. . . And then there were none.
[because they'd all hidden, not because they were all eaten!]

And then maybe a winter poem, I like this one.

(from Winter Seasons of Joy)

A little child went walking
One lovely winter day.
He saw a little rabbit
That quickly ran away.
He saw a shining river
Go winding in and out,
And cold, cold fishies in it
Were swimming all about.
Then in the cold snowy forest
He stopped to take a rest,
And there among the tall trees
He saw a squirrel’s nest.
He heard the sleepy bears snoring,
Tucked snugly in the cave.
He saw the icy patterns
That Jack Frost came and made.
He saw the winter birdies
Across the treetops fly.
He saw the fluffy snow clouds
Sailing ‘cross the sky.
He heard the cold wind blowing
And tightened up his hood.
How wonderful, the child thought,
To walk in winter woods!

This is a fun movement verse:
Winter is cold
(hug yourself and shiver)
There is snow in the sky
(flutter fingers above your head)
The squirrel gathers nuts
(pretend to gather nuts)
And the wild geese fly
(flap arms)
The fluffy red fox
(cup hands over head to form ears)
Has his fur to keep warm
(stroke arms as if stroking fur)
The bear’s in her cave
(form a cave shape with your arms)
Sleeping all through the storm
(fold hands under cheek and pretend to sleep)

And then we might do, I'm a little teapot or Row Row Row your boat (where the kids hold hands sitting on the floor, facing each other, and "row" back and forth)

We like these too, movements are obvious:

This is my right hand, I hold it up high
This is my left hand, with it I touch the sky.
Right hand, left hand
Roll them round and round
Left hand right hand
POUND POUND POUND (on the floor, not each other!)

Open and shut them (hands!)
Open and shut them
Give a little clap
Open and shut them
Open and shut them
Fold them in your lap
Creep them, creep them
Slowly creep them, right up to your chin
Open up your little mouth but do not let them in!

Then this is a good seasonal one, with obvious movements:
Snowflakes, snowflakes, dance around
Snowflakes, snowflakes, touch the ground
Snowflakes, snowflakes, on my nose
Snowflakes, snowflakes, on my toes
Snowflakes, snowflakes, twirl around
Snowflakes, snowflakes, touch the ground

Another sweet poem:

Outside there is a Pine Tree
Standing straight and tall.
It needs no decorations
Nature’s done it all.
Pinecones on its branches
With icicles glistening bright
Snow upon its needles
And birds at rest from flight
I see it from my window
And take the time to say
Thank you for your beauty, tree,
On this winter day.

Then we do this sequence, about king winter. I recently made one out of felted wool (needle felting). Little miss was so impressed she made one herself!

(I say this with my hand like a megaphone in a booming voice)
King winter is now in the land
He reigns with a cold freezing hand
He makes jack frost touch nose and toe
And brings us bright and shiny snow

(For this one, take out some silk cloths to cover the children
Children crouch and are the "dear little plants")

In the winter garden, through the falling snow
Stars are gleaming, streaming, gleaming,
Down to earth below.
In the winter garden, seeds lie warm below
Deep and snug and oh so warm
Covered by the snow

( Sing) Deep in the earth buried deep so deep
A dear little plant lay fast asleep
Sleep little plant so snug and warm
Sleep little plant all winter long
The little plant slept so warm and tight
While King Winter raged with all his might

(For the following one, turn to each direction and make big windy whoosh sound with hands cupped around mouth like megaphone)

Old King Winter came out to play
And said I'm going to make this a very cold day
So he turned to the east ~ Whoooosh!
To the south ~ Whooosh!!
To the West Whooosh!
Then he turned to the North and said that's the best!
For my very good friend is the old North Wind
And when we play, we make a very, very, very cold day

(and then, in anticipation of spring, the flowers bloom out of the snow from under the silks!)
From down below up up I grow
And spread my leaves so wide
At the top a little room
From which a lovely flower blooms to open to the sky

(Then we might do these, a few bean bag tosses, the first in an arc like a rainbow, the second around the body. )

Red, and orange, and yellow, and green:
The rainbow’s seven colours have a bright shiny sheen.
Light blue, indigo, and violet all told.
At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold.

Round the house
Round the trees,
Round the woods
With the rustling leaves;
Round the tree trunk,
Round the stem:
Round about
And home again.

Then we end with one or two from the following:

(Make gestures like the letters)
(A)--- Guarded from harm
(E)--- cared for by angels
(I)--- here stand we
(O)--- loving and strong
(U)--- truthful and good

The earth stands firm beneath my feet. The sun shines high above. Here I stand, so straight and strong – all things to know and love

I can turn myself and turn myself and stop me when I will.
I can reach high on my tippy toes and hold myself quite still.

We are truthful and helpful and loving in trust
For our hearts inner sun, glows brightly in us
We will open our heart to the sunbeams so bright
And fill all the world with our hearts inner light

And then a prayer for our day:
God be in my head, and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking.
God be in my heart, and in my thinking.
God be at my end, and at my departing.

I found this closing verse the other day, but we've never really done it.

My heart swells in joyfulness.
(Hands crossed over heart)
My spirit dwells in peace.
(Hands upraised over head)
My body rests in quietness.
(Hands down at side)
Our circle time has ended.
(Hold hands and be still for a moment)

See, fun, right?

Now a little story, some practicing our letters, then maybe a counting game or two, a Mother Nature Story (Burgess, at or a story about Roman gods...and there you have it, you are doing school!

my felted king winter, on the right, with jack frost. and little misses version,
on the left. CUTE.


  1. we do yoga and a story and calendar time (and calendar songs to learn about the days of week, months of year, seasons, etc). When we do yoga, the dog even does it. I kid you not. The furball sits in circle for circle time. Yeah, it's that sacred.

  2. Yes! i forgot to add, we often end in yoga. (i editted to above to add that in) the kids love the "tree" "drinking water" then stretching "up to the sun" etc. (and lord knows mama needs the exercise!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...