Circus At Home
Big Top Circus Show
The big day is finally here! At the end of today, you'll take everything you’ve learned this week and put it all together to premiere your first circus performance. But first, you'll need to put the finishing touches on everything, like posters, programs, and even tickets. What will you call your circus? You may choose to do a live performance for family or make a video to send to loved ones near and far. Sure, we're staying home—but the show must go on.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Markers, pens, or colored pencils
- Miscellaneous art supplies (sequins, pom-poms, whatever you've got!)
Ask About Today
What's one circus secret you learned today?
What was the most challenging part of putting on your circus show? What are you most proud of?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Have you ever been under a "Big Top," a huge tent that contains many (though not all) kinds of circus shows? Now's your chance.
Circus Down Under
Start with a virtual tour of the Lennon Bros. Circus in Australia. What does it feel like under the tent? How might you recreate that in your living room? Click and drag your mouse to explore.
Raise the Roof (On the Tent)
Go behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil to see what it takes to lift up the Big Top tents. Take a sneak peak at all the work that goes into raising the famous circus tents.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
A professional show includes posters, programs, and tickets, too. Entice your audience by creating visual accompaniments to your performance.
Come One, Come All!
Start with a poster for your show. Check out these vintage circus posters for inspiration. Remember, your poster needs to tell the audience the name of your circus, where it will be, and at what time. The rest is up to you.
Make Your Program
The purpose of a show program is to detail what acts will happen and in what order. Check out this video to learn how to do your own circus-style writing, then go for it and make your own program.
Get Credit! Don't forget to include the performers' names, too (that'd be you and any participating siblings), so your audience knows who is doing all the hard work.
Got the Tickets?
Don't forget that your guests will need tickets to enter, too. Draw them and cut them up so everyone can have one. What's the price of admission to your show: your choice for dinner? Ice cream for everyone?
Get ready for the big show by learning more about what goes on behind the scenes of professional circuses.
Ever wonder how circus performers do it? Check out these spoilers to some of the biggest circus secrets around.
Stay Safe: These are trained professionals. Please do not try these tricks at home.
Circuses don’t travel with large animals anymore, so some have adapted by creating hologram elephants instead. Read about the technological advancements that have helped circuses become more animal- and environment-friendly.
For younger explorers
If I Ran the Circus
Read along to If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss.
For younger explorers
Clifford at the Circus
Next, read along to find out what adventures Emily Elizabeth and Clifford get into in Clifford at the Circus by Norman Bridwell.
This is your last chance to perfect your show before you have an audience, so make the most of it!
The Final Touches
It's show day, so use this time to rehearse your skills one more time. If you think you're really ready, return to this amazing list of at-home circus tricks and pick one more to focus on.
For younger explorers
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your circus skills one more time to make sure you're ready for an audience.
The Greatest Show on Earth...Yours!
It's time for your circus debut! Before the show, watch this 1-minute GoNoodle video to get pumped. With all the work you've put in, your show is sure to be everything you dreamed of!
When you're all warmed up and in costume, invite your family to their seats, hand out the programs, and if you plan to film your show, get the camera ready.
Need an Audience? Your audience doesn't have to be in the same room. Don't forget to invite grandparents or other remote family and friends to watch your show via Zoom or FaceTime.
more to explore
Not ready for the circus to leave town? Explore some more!
After the show is over, the clean-up begins. Here's how to deconstruct a circus tent in record time.
The Elephant Game
Here's a somewhat longer circus breakdown—but it's still surprisingly quick. This team took everything from the tent to the twinkle lights down in less than 5 hours.
Challenge Yourself: Can you clean up your whole circus in under 20 minutes?
How do you feel now that the show is over? Take time to reflect. For inspiration, watch these performers reflect on their time with the Ringling Bros. Circus.