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.

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