The Circus


IMG_6500FSU High Flying Circus performs this month in Tallahassee and that inspired this weeks theme! We had a blast planning all our different groups—-with an emphasis on COLORFUL fun! Our book is fantastic and we are so grateful to all the people who helped us with the costumes (Ms. Kim and Ms. Robin), props (Mr. Noah, Ms. Harrison, and Ms. Christy),  and painted backdrop (Ms. Judy).




IMG_6443We filled this box with popcorn kernels and some colorful cornstarch packing “peanuts”. We added a variety of animals you might see at the circus such as lions, horses, and elephants. Also included were some clown figures and a ringmaster puzzle piece (an amazing find on the giveaway table!).  The big red pompoms——clown noses, of course!

It really was a fabulous box filled with fun! Our students had a great time discovering all the different items we had included.

Respond to new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly is a language access point addressed here.

Apply a push to move an object is a science access point addressed when pushing the buttons on the animals.


IMG_6773IMG_6549Our next box was filled with our bright red moon sand. It has a great texture, soft yet firm enough to mold. Students used a cookie cutter to cut circle CLOWN noses in the moon sand. This was a nice big cookie cutter so they turned out really cool looking! Of course they also had fun just squishing it with their fingers.

Recognize common objects with two-dimensional shapes, such as a circle is a math access point addressed in this activity.


This fuzzy basket filler was so colorful and totally reminded us of cotton candy! Our students loved pulling it apart or waving and shaking it. We also put in two different size cups—-a “big” one and a “little” one for our students to fill up.

IMG_6679Solve problems involving small quantities of objects using language, such as enough, too much, or more.





IMG_6643Traditionally the floor of the circus tent is sawdust! We thought our yellow cornmeal looked a lot like sawdust—-especially when mixed with some potato flakes! It had a really cool tactile feel to which our students really responded. There was a letter C and a colorful clown picture to find as the sawdust was swept away. It’s always fun to see the smiles on the students faces when they discover the hidden picture.

Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is a science access point addressed in this activity.






IMG_6487Everybody loves the fabulous, colorful costumes that the circus performers wear. This box contained a piece of cool stretchy spandex that our students had a great time either wrapping around themselves……… or playing tug of war with a partner 🙂 This was a last minute addition and we were so glad we decided to include it!

Recognizing that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is again addressed in this activity.





IMG_6670IMG_6748We also included 4 of our discovery bottles filled with sequins, beads, and glitter—-just like the costumes.  These were a huge hit——our students just LOVED them!


Track objects in motion is a science access point addressed in this activity.



IMG_6675IMG_6793Circus clowns do all sorts of silly things like throwing cream pies in each others faces 🙂 As usual, the students had a great time playing in the shaving cream. Whether practicing pre-writing designs or just rubbing it around it’s always a hit!

Track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled is a science access point addressed in this activity.




IMG_6702Then we rinsed our hands in vanilla sugar scented water using bath gel from Bath and Bodyworks. A measuring cup and measuring spoon were included for scooping and pouring fun

Solve problems involving small quantities of objects or actions using language, such as enough, too much, or more is a math access point addressed here.






IMG_6817We finished with the yummy matching lotion, leaving our students smelling like delicious sweet circus treats! A fabulous way to remember all the fun we had!

The science access point recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli—-touch and smell—-is addressed as students smell the lotion and feel it rubbed on their skin.








IMG_6585This week we decided to do a 2 part art project—–a fun clown costume! We started on Tuesday by making clown shoes out of shoe boxes.

First we discussed the color paint we were going to use and asked our students to show us the color “red” using communication symbols.

Identify objects by one observable property, such as color is addressed here.






IMG_6606IMG_6602Then, we used a circle shaped sponge to stamp on our 2 shoeboxes. This sponge has a little handle which made it easier for our students to hold. Our initial plan was to stamp polka dots but it turned out our sponge was a little to big for most of the shoeboxes so it became a paint tool instead—–and that worked out pretty well 🙂


Recognize a change in an object is a science access point addressed. The math access points recognize a common object with a two-dimensional shape and associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names are also addressed.


IMG_6928IMG_6957On Thursday we made a clown collar using the rim of a regular size paper paper plate. We found this idea at

The collar was decorated with colorful pompoms——lots of pincer grasp practice! We discussed the colors of the different pompoms and counted how many were put on each one.




IMG_7002IMG_6969Then, it was time to clown up!

First we put the silly clown shoes on our feet, the collar around our neck, and either a hat or wig on our head—–this addresses the science access point recognize one or more external body parts.






IMG_7008                                                                                  Let’s send in the clowns!!!!



IMG_6882We have found that this group of students does well when there is more movement involved, so we like to include that as much as we can. This week we set up some circus games focusing on taking turns—-sharing objects with a partner is also a science access point.

For our beanbag toss, Joy drew a circus scene on a large piece of paper, taped it to a piece of cardboard and cut a hole in the middle.  When our students were at this game, we talked about throwing the beanbag IN the hole.  Some of our students were able to do this independently while others required some hand-over-hand assistance.

Track objects that fall to the ground is a science access point that can be addressed in this activity.


IMG_6917IMG_6869Next, we got on the balance beam to practice tight-rope walking skills!  We talked about walking ON the beam.  Even our students in wheel chairs were able to participate in this game by an adult pushing them OVER the balance beam.  We had them hold out their arms so they could maintain their balance 🙂






IMG_6870Another game the students played was bowling.  We had to adapt this with some of our students by using a mat so the ball could roll DOWN to get to the pins.  Our students had a blast with this, especially because the ball we used made noises when rolled—–perfect for our students with visual impairments.

IMG_6850The science access points track objects in motion and track the movement of objects that are pushed and pulled are addressed here.

Of course, we also counted all the pins and how many got knocked down!




IMG_6884For the last center, we pulled out a couple of the discovery bottles used in the sensory group as well as the stretchy material.  Our students loved looking at all of the SHINY colors in the discovery bottles.  They also enjoyed trying to see how LONG the material got when it was stretched—–recognize that pushing or pulling an object makes it move again addressed!

Although we didn’t get to see acrobats and gymnasts perform tricks, our students had lots of fun with the games.




IMG_6833Well, that wraps things up for this week! Be sure to join us again for more fun and learning—-Group by Group!



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