G is for “Goodnight Gorilla”, circle time games

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Goodnight Gorilla is one of my all time favorite books. My enthusiasm for this book duplicates when I use it for teaching. As it is so effective with young kids because there are so many fun and easy activities that you can do during circle time. If you are not already familiar with the book, you may view it on Amazon by following the link below.

After reading the book, enjoy trying out some of these SUPER FUN activities during circle time.

1. Sound game activity

Play animal sounds from an iPhone or iPad free APP and guess the animal name. A free application can be downloaded from ITUNES store.

Preschool – no winning – matching game

To play this game, pass out 1/2 of an animal card to each student. Put the remaining halves face down in the center of the circle. Each student takes turns turning one over. Each time a card is turned over, a pair is made with one of the cards that were previously passed out to the preschoolers. This is perfect for young kids because EVERYONE participates and everyone wins. PERFECT printables with the same images as in the book are available for free from Miss Nicole Speech.

Animal classifying game – Pass out a 3d figure of each animal included in the book. Lay out the flashcards for each animal included in the book. Have the students place their animals onto the correct card when the animal name is called out by the teacher. If you do not have enough 3d animals, just print duplicate flashcards/worksheets from the above link.

Pin the key into the keyhole game

To play this, you will need to download the FREE colored key printables from the Kids Activities Blog. You will also have to draw or print an oversized cage with a key hole. But, that is relatively easy and quick to draw. Then, play the classic game, “Pin the tail on the donkey”, but instead, try to get the key close to the key hole. The great thing about using colored keys is that you can call each student up to play by referring the the color of their key. This way they are practicing their colors, too! It also cuts down a little on the name writing for each players game piece. Since they are separated into color, it is enough to just write the players initial on the key. This also helps the preschool students with letter recognition as most of them will already recognize the first letter of their name.

Memory game

Place all the flashcards onto the ground in the center of the circle. Have the students close their eyes. Remove one or two of the animal flashcards. The students must say which animals were removed. It is also great fun to blindfold one student and have another remove one of the flashcards. Then, the student that is blindfolded must say which animal was removed. Begin this with only 3 or 4 of the flashcards at a time to be sure that they can guess the card which was removed. Then, increase the difficulty as required.


I like to follow the G is for “Goodnight Gorilla” circle time games with some printables so that the students can complete some independent work also. Here are some of the free printables for this book that your student may enjoy after circle time.

G is for Gorilla printable pack from Haffy Homeschool

Gorilla size sequencing from Hs Printables.

A free and extensive activity pack for Goodnight Gorilla from Living Worlds Apart.

Free Goodnight Zoo themed puzzles and masks from Happy and Blessed Home.

A fun and simple drawing prompt from STELLA123 where the students must draw in the animals from the book into cages.

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