A circus theme is perfect for summer, and festive for back to school, too. While this theme is most obviously suited to preschool and early elementary classrooms, older classes could look at Picasso’s circus paintings, check out the Ringling Brothers’ elephant conservation efforts, or do research on the history of the circus.
It’s easy to give your classroom circus flair. Blow up balloons and hang them from the ceiling. Bring in stuffed animals for a menagerie. Scholastic has a Circus Big Top! Bulletin Board with plenty of pieces to create a circus scene for any size of bulletin board or for your door.
Let your classroom motto be “Under the Big Top” or “Three Ring Learning” (got your Venn diagram?) or “It’s a Circus in Here!”
Lay a stripe of Mavalus Tape down the middle of the floor to practice tightrope walking, bring peanuts in their shells to class (with a big bag to gather the shells), or paint clown faces with face paints.
If you have access to a tent or a parachute with a circus look, you can rig it up to be a Big Top, for an extra level of excitement.
Gather circus themed books in your reading corner. Some of my favorites:
- If I Ran the Circus, by Dr. Seuss
- The Circus Anti-Coloring Book by Susan Striker
- See the Circus lift the flap book, by H. A. Rey
- Miss Bindergarten Plans a Circus With Kindergarten,by Ashley Wolff
- Circus by Lois Ehlert
- Peter Spier’s Circus ,by Peter Spier
- The Circus is Coming, by Hilary Knight (available again!)
- Emeline at the Circus, by Marjorie Priceman
- Make a little circus book with printouts from The Toymaker.
Zoo animals make good circus animals, too.
A clown birthday chart can set a festive mood quickly. We Know Our Colors! Mini Bulletin Board from Scholastic has color words, but they’re separate, so you can use it for more general things as well.
The Mailbox Circus Theme Book contains lots of good ideas and reproducibles for preschool.
A few printables for a circus lesson: