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Activity Inspiration: Tightrope Walkers

Imagination rules the day in this circus-inspired activity. Keep this fun activity handy in your idea box. It can be played inside or outside, with or without additional materials. Children will pretend to be tightrope walkers, and adults will enjoy watching their imagination soar. This activity is designed to improve activity, balance and coordination. 

How to play:  

  1. Pick your tightrope: Your tightrope can be a chalk line, a ribbon laid flat, a crack on the sidewalk, a grout line in the tile, a strip of painter’s tape, or whatever is handy! 
  1. Set the scene: It’s a circus after all! Encourage the children to select costumes and choose stuffies and toys to fill in the audience. And grownups, don’t forget to get into character. You’re the ringleader, after all! 
  1. Scaffold the challenge: Some children may need help balancing, and some may need a harder challenge. Offer kids who struggle to balance a length of pvc pipe or pool noodle to hold in front of them. Make the game tougher for advanced players by encouraging them to turn on one foot at the end without falling off to make their way back.  

Extend the fun: 

Did your circus have a blast? Extend the fun by engaging their minds a little more.  

  • Make a circus-themed snack. Popcorn, anyone? This CACFP-creditable snack can even be the whole grain-rich component for the day! Keep a close watch for choking while enjoying this treat. 
  • Incorporate a picture book about the Circus. Take a look at some beloved classics such as If I Ran the Circus, By Dr. Seuss and Paddington Bear at the Circus by Crockett Johnson. 
  • Level-up the game by creating a tightrope challenge course. Instead of one tight rope, create five of them, with a challenge to do between each, such as saying the ABCs or crawling through a tunnel.
  • Include art. Encourage participants to draw portraits of themselves as characters in the circus.  

Well, we can’t wait to hear about what fun you have. Email us the results at or tag us in the photos @NationalCACFP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and stay tuned for more activity ideas. 

tight rope walker (4 × 3 in)