Circle Time Activities for Primary School

As children develop their mental skills and progress through primary school they will learn the fundamentals of core subjects to prepare them for secondary school. But it’s not just English, Maths, and Science that are important in primary school. Students will build crucial observation and deduction skills, social and communication skills, and learn how to behave in certain situations. 

Circle time is used in primary school activities as a way to address these developing abilities and foster group learning and good relationships between the children, but also with the teacher. By sitting with the children in a circle together, the teacher can address issues ‘on their level’ and lead the group to think up solutions together. For example, if there was too much talking yesterday in the assembly, circle time can be used to think back to this situation and understand what went wrong. The social nature of circle time encourages children in peer discussion which can help them to teach each other, rather than having an adult describing things from their perspective. 

How to Conduct Circle Time Successfully

The most important starting point for circle time is to have a big comfy classroom mat or carpet that all the students can sit on. Depending on how you teach you might want to have a decorative rig with pictures or patterns on that can spark your students’ imaginations. Or you may want to opt for a plain coloured rug to make sure circle time is free of distractions. Here is a list of our top five favourite circle time rugs.

This school rug features children from cultures all across the world and can be used to encourage children to think about the different cultures and communities around them. This rug can be a great addition to a multicultural classroom as a talking point where children can find similarities in the design to their own cultures. It’s equally useful in a less multicultural classroom as a good talking point to teach about diversity. 


This classroom mat shows the natural life cycle of four different life forms: the butterfly, chicken, frog, and oak tree. This mat is one that will have children thinking about the world around them and will remind them of the natural life cycles they’ve seen in their environment throughout the year too. Each illustration has a description to support reading skills. 


This rainbow semi-circle school carpet doesn’t mean everyone will be sitting in a circle, but it is ideal if you want to position the students around a central focus point, whether that’s the teacher, a whiteboard, or another station that children will interact with. This rug features 24 colours spots which can be used to call students to specific spots on the rug, or as part of a game. 




If you’re working with awkward space in your classroom and a circle rug just won’t fit, try this oval-shaped one. Not only is this a more flexible shape to fit into smaller classrooms, it also features alphabet letters in upper and lower cases. This is a great school mat to have around when children are learning to read and write as they’ll be regularly looking at the cursive letters during circle time.


This classroom mat features faces showing different emotions. This type of mat is ideal for circle time activities during which children often address different emotions and reactions to the world around them. The mat is free of words meaning that the emotional faces are fully up to interpretation, allowing individual children to come to their own conclusions about how they perceive feelings and expression. 

Effective Circle Time Activities

  • Guess Who: one child sits in the middle of the circle with a blindfold on and the rest of the children sit around the outside. One child on the outside has to make the noise of an animal and the child in the middle must guess who it is. This is a great game for teaching spatial awareness and problem solving but also build up childrens’ confidence. 
  • Puzzle: create a puzzle by laminating a picture and cutting it up into pieces. You should have the same number of pieces as there are children. Give each child a piece of the puzzle and tell them they have to solve the puzzle together as a group. This will support communication and problem solving amongst the children, as well as teamwork. 
  • Make a Monster: Give each child a sheet of paper which four folds in it (the paper should be folded and then unfolded so the creases can be seen). Give everyone 1 minute to draw the head of a monster. Now without showing anyone else, ask them to fold the head back so it’s no longer visible. Now have each child pass their paper to the left. The second person repeats the task but by drawing the torso and arms of the monster. The next round is the legs and finally the feet. At the end have each child unfold and reveal their monster. This will guarantee some laughs and will have the children practising their motor skills and creativity. 
  • Telephone: if you’re looking for quiet circle time activities primary school children can play to calm down and focus, Telephone is a great option. Previously known as Chinese Whispers, Telephone involves starting a ‘rumour’ by whispering a message to the first child in the circle and having them pass the message on in a whisper to the person next to them. Find out at the end if the message is the same. This type of game is good for teaching students how to behave in the school library too. 
  • Duck, Duck, Goose: To get rid of some excess energy, Duck, Duck, Goose is a fun quick-fire game that will get children moving. All the children sit in a circle on the mat and one child walks around the outside. The child will tap each of their classmates on the head or shoulder as they pass saying ‘Duck’ until they decide to choose the ‘Goose’. When they name the ‘Goose’ they must run one lap around the circle and get back to their place before the Goose catches them. 
  • Wink Murder: Hand all of the children a piece of paper to let them know whether or not they are the murderer and whether or not they are the detective. Tell them they must keep their identity a secret if they are the murderer. When the children are all sitting in a circle have the murdered secretly wink at the others and kill them off (with dramatic deaths if they wish). It’s the job of the detective to find out who the murderer is. This type of game encourages children to work as a team and cooperate with each other in different ways.
Classroom activities

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