Flannel Board Activities for Circle Time Success

Hang around me for just a short time and you’ll see that I love activities that involve a flannel board.

I personally love to tell stories using my flannel board. As soon as the kids see me bring it out they get so excited! Check out my retelling of a Russian Folktale, “The Enormous Turnip”.

I also love Pinterest for more Flannel Board ideas. My all time favorite source is “Flannel Board Fridays” on Pinterest.

They are mainly librarians with a TON of amazing flannel board ideas that will last you well into your 20th year of teaching and beyond. Click here to visit their boards.

That’s where I found this cute rocket ship song below. I for sure plan to use it the next time we do an outer space theme.


Five Little Rockets

Five little rockets ready to zoom,

This one says, “There’s not enough room.”

It starts its engine;

Ready to fly,

Looks at the others and waves good-bye.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!

Four little rockets…[continue counting down to one rocket]

One little rocket ready to zoom,

This one says, “Everyone’s gone!”

It starts its engine;

Ready to fly,

Looks at us and waves good-bye.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!

Credit: Welcome to Story Time

If you end up finding a flannel board activity that your kids love, be sure to put a comment in the post below with a link to the activity.

4 Ways to Share Music with Babies

This week we’re giving special focus to actively engaging infants with music. Why? Because using music with babies can help to develop their brain.

It’s easy to have music on in the background as you go about the day, but let’s talk about a few ways to create meaningful interactions and practice developmental skills through music. We’ve been on an ocean theme this month, so we’ll tie that in as well with some specific activities you can try with your little ones.

#1. Rock or Bounce to “Merrily We Roll Along”

Rock or bounce baby to the beat with them facing you or facing another child doing the same movement. This encourages eye contact and interaction. Don’t know the song? Listen below.


(Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Merrily we roll along, Roll along, roll along. Merrily we roll along, O’er the dark blue sea.https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/1dkq1trBrDP0FLsLrYgOpDEDIT

#2. Use Manipulatives

Use ocean-themed bath toys from the dollar store to show various creatures as you sing “The Fish in the Sea” to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”.


The fish in the sea all swim, swim, swim,

Swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim.

The fish in the sea all swim, swim, swim,

On our ocean adventure.

More Ideas:

Octopus wiggle, lobster snap, waves go up and down

#3. Fingerplays!

Start by modeling the actions. Then help them do the actions with hand-over-hand assistance until they’re ready to approximate the actions on their own. Use the same song as above, but use hand motions to practice motor coordination.

#4. Add a Visual

Play “Aquarium” from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Blow bubbles as the music plays to encourage visual tracking and hand-eye coordination. https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/3uMlVnUICQiNALYyLw0iVlEDIT

P.S. If you have babies in your care, be sure to check out Circle Time Success for Babies (and toddlers). It features 20 simple rhymes and songs that will not only make circle times fun and interactive, but also foster bonding, body awareness, communication skills and their quickly developing brain.

Carnival of the Animals at Circle Time

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When it comes to Incorporating movement activities into your circle times, you may be totally on board but not sure where to look for activities. If that’s the case, this post is for you.

But, if you are still on the fence about this topic or you are in a classroom where the benefits of using movement at circle time is not seen as an important component, be sure to read my blog post 3 Reasons Why Kids Need to Move to Learn.

Still with me? Then it’s time to plug in some movement activities your kids will love.

Cue the Classics!

Since it’s National Zoo & Aquarium Month (yep, it’s June as I write this), let’s mix up our movement with some animal fun get inspired by Camille Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals. 

Carnival of the Animals is a set of orchestral character pieces, each one describing a particular animal. Don’t let the fact that this is “classical” music intimidate you. These songs are short, fun, and accessible for all ages.

There are many picture books based on Carnival of the Animals as well. I’d recommend the Jack Prelutsky version to add a literary and visual component to your activities.  

Movement Ideas!

Here’s a link to the music for a few of the animals you might want to visit at the zoo.


Walk proudly like a lion. Stalk your prey and pounce!


Listen to the elephant music without telling the class which animal it is. Does this sound like a small or large animal? Does it move fast or slow? Which animal could it be? Once they’ve guessed it, move to the music. Don’t forget to swing your trunk!


The kangaroo hops and sleeps (in Jack Prelutsky’s book the kangaroo is wearing pajamas). Listen for what the music is telling you to do. Hop and rest with the kangaroos.


Fly with the birds in the tropical bird house. Add colorful scarves for extra fun.

5 Little Rockets

This morning there was a total lunar eclipse and tonight is a full moon! That means it’s a perfect time to learn a fun song all about rockets!

Watch the video to learn the activity, then download the FREE printable and lyrics sheets just below the video.

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute

When I think back to my elementary PE days, the most exciting week was when we got to use the parachute.

It was just one week a year which I found very disappointing. I wanted to use it every time!

Now I’m all grown up and I get to make the rules. That means the parachute comes to class at least every other month.

But I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are a lot of parachutes sitting in storage closets NEVER GETTING TAKEN OUT!

It’s time to “take action” and bring some fun to your next circle time.

Before you do though, read through my 3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute. You’ll be glad you did.

3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make with the Parachute

Mistake #1: You leave it in the closet because you just aren’t sure what to do with it. Don’t feel bad about this one. It happens to many teachers because either they don’t have any activities to do with it or the last time they took it out kids when CRAZY!

Solution: I can’t help the part about kids going crazy, because who wouldn’t go nuts with a huge, colorful parachute that goes up and down and makes your hair fly?!? But I promise when you give them opportunities to play with it more than once a year, they will begin to calm down and not be so CRAZY!

As far as activities go, there are a lot that you already know that can be adapted to the parachute. I’ll teach you one if you keep on reading.

Mistake #2 Taking out the parachute without practicing with the “pretend parachute“. Remember the part about how exciting the parachute is to kids? If you don’t teach them how to use the parachute before getting it out, you’ll for sure lose control.

Why? Because once the parachute comes out they’ll be so excited that they won’t be able to listen to anything!

Solution: Teach the children the activity you will do with the parachute, but don’t have the parachute come out of the bag right away. For example, if we were doing “Ring Around the Rosey,” I’d have them stand in a circle and walk around singing the song “pretending” to hold onto the parachute. Then sit down during the second part of the song (cows in the meadow…) and shake the pretend parachute. They are great at this “pretending” game especially if they know they’ll get to use the parachute once they’ve mastered the pretend parachute.

Mistake #3 Same activity every time you bring out the parachute Just like in the kitchen, you need to spice up what you serve at circle time. If you bring the parachute out and only do one activity every time, you’ll soon see kids lose interest and disengage. You would too, right?!?

Therefore, make a goal to learn at least 5 activities you can teach with the parachute.

Ready for one?

Check out “Come Under My Umbrella”.

Need a parachute? Here’s some recommendations…

6 Foot, 9 Handles: https://amzn.to/3rQgAUL

12 foot, 12 handles: https://amzn.to/3cpiXra

20 foot, 20 handles: https://amzn.to/3tl5asG

Transition Songs for Preschool

transition songs for preschool
When children are deep in play, they tune out sounds around them. Need to get their attention? Start singing!

Transition songs are songs that can be used to help your students move from one activity into the next.

They send the directions of what you are asking the students to do, but by using music rather than your speaking voice, the children are more likely to pay attention.

Why Does Music Work So Well When It Comes to Transitions?

Because music is processed in many different parts of our brain. If that thought intrigues you, check out Your Brain on Music to learn more.

With transition songs, we are giving the direction we want our students to follow in a song rather than using spoken language which they’ve been hearing all day. Because it is something “different” in their environment, the alerting network tells the brain to pay attention rather than tune it out.

The Best Times to Use Transition Songs

transition songs for preschool
By adding an action to a transition song, students will be even more engaged as they wait for others to join.

Transition songs are your secret tool to use many times throughout the day. Below are a few of those occasions.

  • When you need to get everyone’s attention during free play and give a direction
  • When you need to regain the attention of your students if you lose it at circle time
  • To quickly explain what to do next ie. line up, wash hand, sit down etc.

Check out some of favorite transition songs and give them a try in your class! Remember, you can always write them yourself using a piggy back tune! Not sure what that means? Learn more here.

We’re Cleaning Up

preschool clean up song

This simple song will make clean up time a breeze! Your students will immediately recognize this song when you play the recording or sing it in the classroom. It’s that auditory cue that says it’s time to put our things away and move on to something new!

The song can be used at the end of free play or to clean up shakers, scarves etc. at circle time.

Make it a Game!

Children love challenges. Challenge them to see how quickly they can clean up the room. The recording of the song is about 57 seconds long. Can they clean up by the time the song is finished? If not, put it on repeat and keep a movin’!

Let’s Make a Circle

Classroom transition song

Let’s Make a Circle is a great song for transitioning to circle time. Clapping along to the song while singing gives them that added layer of engagement. Before you know it, everyone is at circle time and ready to begin!

For You and You and Me

circle time transition song

When passing things out to a large group, it can take some time. If you sing at the same time though, they’ll stay engaged as their brains process the words in the song.

I always say, “be the most exciting thing in the room” and that goes for transition time too.

Taking Turns

At circle time it’s so much fun to pass something unique around the circle. Children get to build impulse control, patients, and awareness of other all at the same time.

But sometimes children don’t want to give up their turn. That’s where “Takin’ Turns” does the work for you. Listen to the song below and you’ll hear the short transition music that happens indicating to the child that it’s time to pass it along.

This auditory cue makes managing taking turns a breeze!

Best way to use it:

  • Explain to the children you will be passing around an object and each person will be given an opportunity with it.
  • Everyone will be allowed to hold the object while the song is being sung. They will pass it to the person next to them when they hear the four repeating taps.
  • Turn on the recording (or sing the song a cappela and clap 4 times to indicate the time to pass). For larger groups of children, hit repeat on the song!

Transition songs are an incredibly valuable tool in the classroom, and we hope that these will help your circle time run smoothly. Do you have your own transition songs you use in your classroom? Tell us in the comments!