The animals, the clowns, the big top — what’s not to love about the circus? If you can’t make it to the circus, bring the circus to your kids. Whether you’re a teacher planning a circus theme or a mom trying to keep your wild animals under control, these circus dramatic play activities keep kids of all ages entertained.
Setting the Stage
If you plan to keep the circus pretend play area up for a while, take some time to create backgrounds that make the room feel more like a big top. Use long, wide pieces of tulle to create the look of a tent indoors. Gather the tulle in the middle of the ceiling. Drape the pieces out toward the walls, attaching it to the ceiling again. Let the rest of the tulle hang down.
Make a ticket booth from a refrigerator box standing on end. Cut out a ticket window from the front. Cut off the back of the box so the kids can climb inside. Animal cutouts on the wall and pretend circus posters also help set the stage.
No dramatic play theme is complete without costumes. The circus has an endless stream of performers on which you can base the costumes. Clowns are the most obvious. If you don’t have a clown costume for your child, get creative. Use adult shoes to look like clown shoes. Use colorful, baggy shirts and pants to create the clown look. You can buy foam clown noses inexpensively to really create the clown look.
You have other options for costumes as well. Use old animal costumes, or make animal masks to let the kids be the circus animals. A black blazer makes an instant lion tamer or ringmaster outfit. An old leotard works for the tight rope walkers and acrobats.
The circus play area gets even more realistic with a few props. If the kids don’t dress up like animals, used stuffed animals as the circus performers. Grab a stuffed lion and elephant for a basic circus act. Hula hoops work both for the lion tamer and for acrobat performers. A small balance beam or even a tape like on the floor works as the tightrope.
Let the Show Begin
With all of the props and costumes in place, the circus dramatic play area is ready for the kids. Be prepared for endless shows and tricks from your little circus performers.