CIRCUS-RELATED ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Kids love circuses, but some circus’s practices are unethical (read my story below). So how can you incorporate circus games into your child’s play in a positive, educational way? Here are 5 activities you can do with your child right now :
- Discuss animal rights using age-appropriate language.
- Practice juggling using age appropriate materials (read below).
- Clown around.
- Dress up.
- Encourage tumbling / acrobatics / gymnastics. (Examples: standing on one leg, balancing on the curb, etc.)(For those who are wondering, the boots Adèle is wearing are made by MyMayu.)
To expose your children to circus activities, check if you have circus schools around where you live. We are lucky to have a few around us which offer different circus classes for kids! It’s a creative way to sensitize children to circus fun and encourage them to try new physical activities such as jumping on trampolines or walking on wire.
EDUCATIONAL CIRCUS TOYS
***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and if you decide to purchase anything from suggested links or companies, I may receive a commission. Recommended products are either things I love using or think would be helpful for you. Making your purchase using these affiliate links helps keep this site running, so thank you kindly!Since she loves animals so much, my husband brought Adèle this beautiful Janod Story Box Circus as a gift from Paris. At first didn’t play with it much and we thought it was because she didn’t know what a circus was. So when the first circus came in town, we bought tickets without even a second thought.
The show was in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in an authentic circus tent building just like the one in her game. I still don’t know which country the circus show came from, but it was the most traumatizing circus experience I have ever had because it was obvious that the animals were NOT treated well.
We are a family that rescues animals so seeing old, captured, wild, bleeding animals on stage doing tricks and not being able to do anything about it was very difficult.
Adèle didn’t understand what was really happening so was not affected by the experience in a negative way. In fact, she was really impressed by “flying men” and even tried to do her own acrobatic tricks at home. She still talks about all the animals she saw and how magical that was for her. And she also plays with her circus game now all the time.
I am telling you this story because any type of circus game that you will find will have animals in it. Animals that smile, animals that do cute things. And while I normally wouldn’t support such toys, they do provide an opportunity to teach your kids a few things such as:
- animals rights – They can spark conversations about animals, about what a circus is or what it should be.
- history – Kids need to learn about the way circuses were back in the day (or, like in our case, still are in developing and third world countries).
- creativity – Children like seeing images of animals doing funny or strange things and that develops their imagination.
- movement – Circus games provide opportunities for original movement activities.
DIY CIRCUS TOYS
- You can make a simple balancing toy using a plank of wood and a wooden cylinder.
You can also make stilts using old cans and some rope:
EDUCATIONAL CIRCUS GAMES AND TOYS
- Janod Stars Circus Puzzle – A fun beginner wooden puzzles for babies and toddleres. 6 pieces.
- Janod Circus Wood Puzzle – Another wooden puzzles for babies and toddlers. 7 pieces.
- Janod MultiKub Circus Stacker with Figures – A unique stacking circus toy with 5 wooden characters. The stacking cubes are light as they are made of cardboard. Great for babies and toddlers, but characters can also be used by older kids for imaginary play, so this game is a good investment for that reason.
- Janod Kubkid Circus Blocks – Block games are excellent pre-puzzle introductory games for toddlers. Each side of the cube has a different image, so there are 6 circus-inspired illustrations that your child can assemble.
- Djeco Circus Observation Puzzle – 35 pieces puzzle that comes with a poster. Adèle likes this one a lot because the poster makes it easier to learn how to assemble puzzles. The border around it makes it a bit more challenging and it also serves as a “spot a character” game, so you actually get two games in one!
- Janod 54pc. Circus Puzzle – 54 piece puzzle that comes with its own carrying case. The case has a handle. Beautifully designed for neat storage and very Montessori-friendly for this reason.
- Janod Story Box Circus – A wooden game that comes in a sturdy cardboard box designed as a circus tent. The box itself can be used as part of the game. You can see Adèle playing with hers in the photos above. It’s excellent for imaginary play. The pieces can be used for balancing and work quite well. Some characters can even ride on the horse which is a huge plus!
- Janod Story Express Circus – This one is the same set as above, but with more characters and an original twist to traditional train sets!
- 1 X Red Floor Circus Tent Indoor Children Play House Outdoor Kids Castle by POCO DIVO or you can find a similar one at IKEA. This tent will last for years because kids love hiding inside, making a house of their own, etc. It folds flat, takes very little storage space when folded and is easy to assemble. We placed Adèle’s baby mattress inside for extra comfort and she has taken naps inside when she was little.
- Juggling Combo Pack – 3 soft balls and 3 silk scarves. The scarves are great for beginners as they are light and easier to catch than the balls. The set comes with instructions. The scarves are perfect for travel and easy to pack when going out. I usually pack them for plane rides as their are practically weightless and so versatile. You can even practice magic with them!
- Janod Speed Game – Circus Game – A bingo-like circus inspired game for preschoolers and school aged children.
- Meeple Circus – A circus inspired game for all ages. For a more physical circus activity, check out this Camden Rose Wood Circus Toss Game. It’s great for reinforcing gross motor skills and coordination and is a fun kinesthetic activity. Older children can also play with hula hoops. Also, for indoor balancing fun, try IKEA Balancing Bench which is surprisingly sturdy.
- The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein – A beautiful, inspirational book for older kids about the adventures of tightrope walker, Pilippe Petit who walked between the World Trade Center Towers in NYC. This book even won the Caldecott Medal and is an excellent edition to any library!
- Creativity – The Perfect Crime by Philippe Petit – this one is an autobiography written by the man himself and is for adults. I include it here because his story is so incredible and is all about creativity and following your passions.
Circus today is so much more than just animals (examples: Cirque du Soleil, Cirque plume, etc.). In fact, in some countries animal circuses are banned all together. I am still looking for a circus game that represent the modern circus. If you find one, please let me know!