Celebrate the Circus with Fun Activities that Promote Learning

April 16th is World Circus Day, but at KneeBouncers, we believe in celebrating the magic of the circus every day! You may have guessed that the circus is near and dear to the KneeBouncer world. After all, one of the first KneeBouncer games was Under the Big Top! So we’ve put together ways for your family to have some three-ring fun right at home! These activities are the perfect way to celebrate the circus, performing arts, and music!

Be a clown! 

Clowns are the quintessential circus icon! And if your dress-up box is anything like ours, you probably already have a lot of props that will help your little one clown around. If you don’t have a dress-up box, pull out some old oversized clothing for your kid to wear. 

Thrift shops are excellent places to find fun, colorful clothes and items to use as dress-up costumes and props. As someone whose professional hobby is theater, Goodwill is one of the first places I stop when searching for production items!

If you’re feeling adventurous, break out the clown make-up and take turns painting each other’s faces!

Sing and Dance!

Music is integral to the circus experience! It doesn’t matter what type of music you listen to, get up and have fun! My kids LOVE The Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack.

However, if you want something more toddler-centric, check out these songs:

Build a Circus

Celebrate the circus by creating a circus in your living room using blocks, toys, scarves, animals, or whatever else sparks your imagination! You and your child can act out the magic of the circus and boost their cognitive development as they make connections, build, and role-play.

Watercolor Clown Collar

The ruffled, colorful collar is synonymous with clowns! Use coffee filters and decorate them with liquid watercolors or a water and food coloring mixture. Teaching your toddler to use an eye-dropper promotes hand-eye coordination and builds the finger muscles they’ll need in a few years for writing!

All your child needs is a few drops, and the color will magically spread. Watching the colors mix and spread engages their creativity and teaches science concepts and cause and effect.

Check out these directions on TinyBeans to make the DIY collar pictured above! All you need to do to make it a clown collar is to add color and allow the filters to dry before stringing them.

Bake Animal Cracker Cookies

Thankfully, animals are no longer part of most circuses, but we’re all familiar with the image of animals in the circus. Not to mention those delicious little cookie crackers in the red box!

If you love baking, try this animal cookie recipe from 101 Cookbooks. You’ll need the ingredients below and animal cookie cutters.


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup walnut of almond meal (see head notes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut, very finely minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup fine-grain natural cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • a few tablespoons of big-grain turbinado sugar

Read Circus Books

No activity list of mine would be complete without recommending some books to read! Reading to your child is one of the best things you can do to promote all areas of development. So why not celebrate the circus by reading one of these wonderful tales?

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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