Circle games are a great way to get kindergarten kids up and moving. They are perfect for brain breaks and great time fillers. We’ve collected 11 games that need no prep or special equipment. These circle games will get your kinders laughing and moving!
Are you frustrated about the lack of active play-based or active curriculum Kinders love? The recent emphasis on academic instruction means our students must sit too long at a desk. Our lively Kinders inevitably become tired and restless. Learning suffers as a result. What can we do? We can schedule in regular brain breaks. They are a great way to keep things interesting for this age group. They also improve behavior and make Kindergarten more fun.
Most Kindergarten teachers recognize that their students are full of pent-up energy. They are young children after all. So, giving them a chance to get the wriggles out is beneficial. In a nutshell, brain breaks help students get ready to learn. They also make it easier to refocus on the task at hand.
Kindergarten teachers are always on the lookout for things to do in these breaks. Recently someone posted an interesting question on the Simply Kinder Facebook page. They were looking for simple no contact, whole-group games to use as a brain break.
We thought it would be helpful to make a collection of simple games for Kindergarten. So, we took note of all the suggestions from the Facebook community. We also scoured the Internet for quick and easy games. This was the criteria
- They had to be fun
- No contact
- No prep or special equipment
- Easy to play
- Last 5-10 minutes
Here are 11 fun games for kindergarten. They will keep your students engaged and give their brains a break! If you have a hard time deciding which one to choose, let your class pick their favorite game!
Jump to the Circle Games You Want
- Count and You Are Out
- Pass the Movement
- Fire on the Roof
- Museum Guard
- Guess the Leader
- Poison Dart Frog
- Body Rhythms
- Would You Rather
- In the Middle
11 No Contact Games For Kindergarten
1.Count and You Are Out
Stand in a circle. Ask a child to start the game. They say one, then the next child says two and you continue around the circle until you get to 20. Whoever says 20 must sit down. The game finishes when there is only 1 person left. You can also do this same game counting by 10’s or 5’s to 100.
If you prefer you can play the same game but go all the way up to 50 or 100. Ask everyone to jump and clamp when you get to 10’s.
This is traditionally played as a spelling game, but you could use numbers. Start with simple CVC words. Stand in a circle. You will start the game off. Say a word and point to a child. The students spell the word one letter at a time, moving around the circle. Keep going until the word is spelled correctly. The next child says the word, the next person in the circle says sparkle, and the last sits down. Then you give a new word.
3.Pass the Movement
This is a fun memory game. Stand in a circle. Pick a child to go first. They jump into the circle and make a simple movement. Perhaps they wave their hands in the air. Then they jump back. The player to their left jumps into the circle, makes the first movement and adds one of their own. Maybe they touch their nose. The third player jumps into the circle, waves their hands, touches their nose, and adds their own movement.
Continue around the circle encouraging players to help each other remember. Keep going until you all get totally confused and muddled up.
4.Fire on the Roof
Have the students lie on the ground with eyes closed. You will be the Caller. The idea of the game is that the Sleepers jump up to their feet when they hear the words “Fire on the roof!” The last player to jump up joins the Caller.
Make this fun by trying to fool the sleepers. You can shout out “Fire…works!” or “Fire on the… room!” The last Sleeper can be the next Caller.
A simple game, but one that Kinders love. Sit in a circle and invite the children to copy your movements. You start with both hands out palms down and make it up as you go. End with the hand facing each other as if you are going to clap. Start to clap but stop before your hands touch. Repeat slow and fast several times, ending with the clap.
6. Museum Guard
This is a fun game. The children pretend to be statues in a museum who come to life when no one is looking! Choose one child to be the security guard and the rest are statues.
The guard stands with their back to the circle. All the statues come to life. They move and dance quietly. When the guard turns around everyone freezes. If the guard catches a player moving that person is out and must sit to the side.
7. Guess the Leader
Have all the players sit in a circle. Choose one player to be “It.” They turn their back on the circle. Quietly point to a second child as a leader. The Leader starts by making a motion such as rubbing their head, snapping fingers, or waving a hand. Everyone in the group follows the leader. Ask “It” to turn back, so they can watch the group. They must try to figure out who the leader is. The leader can change motions as often as they like. “It” has three chances to guess the identity of the Leader. The Leader can become the next “It.”
8. Poison Dart Frog
In this game someone is chosen to be the poison frog. Have your students put their heads down and close their eyes. Walk around the circle and choose someone to be the poison frog by tapping them gently on the shoulder. This person must try and kill as many people as they can before they get caught. They do this by sticking out their tongue. Instruct the students to fall over if they see someone stick out their tongue at them. Everyone in the circle must try to figure out who the poison frog is without getting killed. They must see the frog stick their tongue out at another person. The game ends when a player identifies the frog. Start again and choose another frog.
9. Body Rhythms
This is a fun game that requires students to listen carefully and follow a rhythm. First have students experiment with the different sounds they can make. Try things like clapping hands, slapping thighs, patting cheeks with the mouth open. Make a simple rhythmic sequence and have everyone follow your lead. Point to another student and have them lead the next sequence.
10. Would You Rather
This is one of those classic games that never fails. Put down something to act as a line. This could be children’s shoes. Ask a question with two choices such as “sneeze cheese or laugh jelly beans?” As you ask the question, point to one side of the tapeline or the other. This will help the students know where to go to place their vote. You can make up questions on the fly or have some prepared. Click here for a long list of kid friendly Would You Rather questions.
11. In the Middle
This game is an oldie, but a goodie. Stand in a large circle and call out, “Jump into the middle if you have (name something). The students that have that thing jump into the middle of the circle. Here’s some ideas to get you started
Jump into the middle if you:
- have blonde hair
- have a brother or sister
- are wearing red
- like broccoli
- played a board game yesterday
Finish by choosing something that will get everyone jumping into the middle. “Jump into the middle if you have a nose.”
We hope our low-prep circle games are helpful for you as you head back to school. They are a great way to get your kindergarten kids up and moving. We’ve rounded up 11 no-prep circle games that we know your students will love. They are perfect when you need to take a break from learning; need a quick time filler; or just want something fun to do during recess.
What are your favorite circle games? Which game will you play first?