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I am after some suggestions for fun circle type songs/games to use with reception children such as duck, duck, goose. I heard one whilst on teaching practice where a child lies in the centre pretending to be asleep and another child has to creep up but can't remember anymore unfortunately, wish I'd written it down now!

It would be great to hear any that your children particularly enjoy as I'd like to have a go at a few in the first week back.

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Giant's treasure (or whatever theme you like really!)

One child sits in the middle blindfolded with a set of very noisy keys (or bells) on the floor behind them - this is their treasure.

One child at a time is sent to try and steal the treasure. Either they walk round the circle, get the treasure and sit back down or get the treasure before going around the circle and back to their place. The 'giant' points to any noise they hear and if they point at the child who is trying to get the treasure, the child sits back down and another is chosen. If the child manages to get back to their seat they are then the giant.


The Queen/King/whatever's headache is another good one.

One child sits on a chair at one end of the room, blindfolded - they have a headache! The other children are sent from the other end of the room, if they are pointed at they sit down, making obstacles for the others. Any that get to the end sit down behind and are safe.


Fishes in the sea (and yes I know it should be fish!)

Children sit in a circle facing outwards. The adult goes around naming each child. The first Cod, the next kipper, the next herring, the next whale (or whatever fish you choose) It doesn't matter if it doesn't work evenly. The point is that they are fairly evenly spaced out. The adult then calls commands for the children to follow:

All the cod (choose any number of fish here or 'all the fish') were in the sea = those children named get up and begin to walk around the circle in a predecided direction.

The tide turned = they turn and walk (or whatever speed they are going at that time) in the other direction.

The sea got rougher = walk a bit faster

and rougher = walk as fast as possible

the sea was really rough = running

the sea calmed = stop running or walk slower

the sea was very calm = walk slowly

There was a hurricane = children run in the direction they are already going (very important to instill this rule!) back to their own seat. The last one back turns their chair into the circle. This has a dual purpose - you can see they are out nad they are contained!


It is better to have a few rounds of one or two fish first as they need to work out where their seat is!



Children sit in a circle facing in. Children are named as before but this time using 4 fruits - apple orange banana pear say.

One child is then chosen to go int he middle, their chair is removed nad the circle closed up. The child in the middle calls out 2 or more fruits (again better to start on 2) adn the children with those names have to get up and find another seat - they are not allowed to go back to the one they got off. This means they can go back to it on another go, each go it is the one they just got off they can't return to. The middle child has to try to get a seat, leaving a different child in the middle. I like this as nobody is out and it can be as long or short as you like. Watch for children purposely not finding a seat to stay in the middle tho! we tend to say 3 goes int he middle then we will swap you.



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Guest alisonjayne

One of our favourites is duck duck goose, another one we do a lot is isn't it funny that a bear likes honey.

children in a circle one in middle with a piece of honey (use anything to represent honey).The children say the rhyme

"Isn't it funny that a bear likes honey, buzz buzz buzz I wonder why he does? Go to sleep mr bear (child in middle pretends to go to sleep) the other children then say wake up mr bear your honey's not there". (as they say this they put hands behind their backs)

The child in the middle then has three guesses as to who might have the honey if they guess correctly the child who has the honey goes into the middle.

Another game we play is baked beans

This is good with a new group of children just getting to know each other

children sit in circle or just on carpet

one child sits with adult facing away from the group adult points to one child and they say "baked beans"

Child with Adult has three guesses as to who the voice belonged to (sometimes we need to repeat voice).


Will try to remember some more later


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Ooh I like the baked beans one!

We play 'beans' which if you do a google search, you will get hundreds of ideas for!

Basically you call out types of beans and children do the actions so runner beans they run... you can decide at the beginning if it one the spot or around the space

frozen beans = freeze on the spot

chilli beans = shiver

jelly beans = wobble etc etc


Also good old What's hte time Mr Wolf and Peep behind the curtain!

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Love the ideas and shall definitely be using them!

aisonjayne, that bear one is the one I had seen on teaching practice but couldn't remember so thank you for sharing it.

Don't know the one 'peep behind the curtain' pandamonium, could you explain it.

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course can (as my 2 year old says!)


I'm Tracey by the way :D


OK, One child (or adult - we have adult to start to show how to do it) stands facing a wall. The others try to creep up from the other end. If the person 'peeps round the curtain' (looks round!) they must freeze. If the peeper sees anyone move they say their name and they have to go back to the beginning. Lots of cheating obviously but can be hilarious! Oh and if anyone gets to the peeper they are the next one.

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Hi there

Two more ideas-

Traffic lights - you call out red and children sit down, amber children stand still and green they run. I f you mix what you say they love it -particularly if you say red 2 or 3 times

Cups amd saucers- I like this one

You need a set of flyng saucer shaped P.E markers if you turn half up like a cup and other half as a 'saucer' and put children into a cup group and a saucer group. Then saucer group try and make all markers into saucers and cup group try to make them into cups. You just observe and judge when they have had enough as its self perpetuating and tiring. Brilliant as a warm up

Thee old ones are often the best!

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Thanks for all the ideas so far.

I've just remembered another one called Tommy Tattlemouse. Basically, all the children sit in a circle and you choose one child to be the mouse. We then all sing,

Little Tommy Tattle mouse (I usually change the name to the child's name)

lived in a little house

someone's calling wait and see

someone's calling


At this time you point to an individual child who says/sings 'yes it's me'


The mouse then has to guess who the child was and they swap places. Unfortunately can't put the tune on here though.

Not a great one to do in the beginning though as they need to recognise each others voices.

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The beans game is always a favourite with my children.

We have broad beans (make a wide shape)

string beans (long and thin)

beans on toast ( lie flat on the floor)

tins of bean (roll)

jelly beans ( wobble)

chillie beans ( shiver)

jumping beans

runner beans ( run on the spot)


great warm up

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And don't forget the "Old favourites"

The farmers in his Den.

In and out the dusty bluebells.

One elephant went out to play upon a spiders web one day.

There was a princess long ago.


Lou, lou skip to my lou

Aunty Monica


More recently I have learnt:-

Mary and Tim, Mary and Tim come into the middle

Mary and Tim, Mary and Tim come into the middle

I, I, I, I,I, come into the middle.

I, I, I, I,I, come into the middle.


Stand in a circle alternating with clapping hands and slapping thighs children whose names are chosen skip into the middle and hold hands and spin around while the rest of group chant and clap, they then return to the circle in time for the next pair to enter.


We also play many of the games already mentioned and I know there must be regional variations -

We play a game we call fruit salad mentioned by Pandamonium as fruit bowl but we all sit in a circle with a spare chair we take it in turns to call out the fruits but everyone changes when we call out fruit salad. When playing this game for the first time I give the children small pictures of fruit as they and I forget which fruit they are. This is a good listening skills activity and no one is out in our game. We play many variations of this game at christmas we play this game with christmas picturesand all change when we shout Merry Christmas, with colours - all change when we call out rainbow, with farm animal - all change when we call out Old MacDonald.


Another game we play can anyone help with a name- every one is given a picture of a baby animal adults are the "Parent Animals" who make an appropriate noise "Quack" all the little ducks have to find the adult duck it becomes more interesting with a large group. Adults check the picture children cannot talk only make animal noises as well.

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Our children favourite circle game is called poor Mary is a weeping but we have slightly adapted it.


Children sit in a circle and one child is in the middle pretending to cry ( the children find it really funny when I show them the game and pretend to cry :o , I don't know why xD )


we all sing: Poor (childs name) is a crying, a crying, a crying, poor Peggy is a crying on this ( decribe the days weather) fine sunny day ( wet rainy day, cold cloudy day etc)


Adult asks: "Peggy, why are you crying?"


Child in the middle replies "I'm crying for a playmate"


we all sing:Poor Peggy needs a playmate, a playmate, a playmate, poor Peggy needs a playmate on this fine sunny day ( rainy day etc)


Adult says, Peggy, you can choose a playmate. ( child chooses a child from the circle.


They hold hands and skip around the outside of the circle.


All sing and clap hands: Now Peggy's found a playmate, a plyamate, a playmate, now Peggy's found a playmate on this bright sunny day.


as this refrain ends the child chosen from the circle goes to the middle and the 1st child joins the circle in the gap his/her playmate has left.



It seems quite a long song but when we do it all the children sit patiently waiting for a turn. The adult encourage children to choose the "loners" in the group, if a child doesn't want to skip round we praise the child for choosing them and also suggest to the chosen child that although they don't want to skip round maybe they would like to play with their "new" friend after the game ( encourages friendships) then the child chooses someone else. We get various examples of acting the crying which can be quite hilarious, one word of caution, only once in my experience a child acted so well that she did actually start to cry, we carried on while a member of staff comforted her, but this did alert us to the fact that this child was not very happy with a particular aspect in her life, which we later discovered through gentle discussion and helped her to cope with. ( her bunny had died 3 weeks previously).



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Ah that poor little girl! :o



Mimi, not familiar with there was a princess long ago, Aunty Monica or Punchinello can you tell me how they go. Feel like I should know them if they are 'old favourites'.



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Matilda, you can find the words and actions for Punchinello on www.kididdles.com (I did post them for you, but then I read the small print and it says I can't xD so I've edited this post to delete them :o ). Lots of other songs there too, so it's worth a look.

Edited by Guest
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My daughter is going to guide camp next week and was searching for how to do a packers knot and found this site! As the saying goes - saw this and thought of you...


I forgot that in fruit bowl! We also have the pictures and for fishes in the sea - it certainly helps! We shout fruit bowl for everyone to swap places.

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'Peep round the curtain' sounds like what I know as 'Grandmother's footsteps'; I wonder if that's a regional thing?

In the same league (but not a circle game as such) you've also got 'What's the time Mr Wolf?'


At Playscheme we used to play a variation on Fruitbowl (we did it with the parachute, but it isn't necessary), but instead of being fruit the children 'wearing blue!' had to change places or 'wearing velcro shoes!' or 'had toast for breakfast!' or whatever really, usually extending to something like 'likes chocolate!' which usually involves everyone moving around and causes much hilarity!


At my school they do 'Brown girl in the ring' which I'm not sure is very PC xD , and you end up over-compensating by always choosing someone with white skin to be in the middle of the centre :(


Another circle game/song is 'who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?' - a good time-filler as it can be as long or short as you can stand!


Anyway, back to the packing; we're moving house in 2 weeks :o and I keep finding lots of diversions and keep using lots of delay tactics - including the forum - to avoid the job in hand :(

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Dear All,

Fantastic - this is an area I feel I don't have enough resources and I love some of the ideas - will be printing them all off to make into a book as circle time often elludes me and I bring out the same old thing. So thanks very much - now all I need to know is how I can print out the whole thread


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Hi Nicola!

Just go to the top of the page, far right 'print this topic'. That button converts the topic into a printer-friendly format which you can then print out as usual - but I expect you've already found it!!


Sue :D

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There was a princess long ago and Punchinello were both in "This little Puffin" but it has been updated and my new copy is at the nursery so I don't know if they are in the latest book.

Aunty Monica is a Guide camp fire song. Tune is Traditional


Oh I have an Aunty, Aunty Monica,

And when she goes out shopping,

They all say OO La La.

Because her hips are swinging, swinging to and fro,

Because her hips are swinging, swinging to and fro.


add extra verses coat, hat, bag, we find even the boys like to wiggle to this one. will try and find out the name of the tune for you. Have just been singing down the phone to my Mum who thought the tune was My old mans a dustman.

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lol I'm humming Aunty Monica now! It's kind of similar to One Man Went to Mow but not quite!

There was a site that had the tunes on...

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lol I'm humming Aunty Monica now! It's kind of similar to One Man Went to Mow but not quite!

There was a site that had the tunes on...




YAY how much do you love me...?




also OMG I was wetting myself with this site - most are not suitable for little ones but appealed to my sick humour nad brought back memories of Guide camp!




enjoy chaps

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