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Show time snacks

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Celebrate the big top theme with an exciting feast, ideal for an interval in the performance!

Show time snacks selection


Activities in this article:

  1. Mini pizza clown faces
  2. Big top fairy cakes
  3. Snack, crackle, popcorn!

1. Mini pizza clown faces

Pizza clown faces

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Early learning goal: Be confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.

What you need

Muffins or mini pizza bases; black and green olives; cherry tomatoes; red peppers; tomato puree; grated cheese; knives; small bowls; chopping boards.

What to do

  • Cut muffins in half and arrange toppings in small bowls in the centre of the table.
  • Talk about the children’s experiences of clown’s faces. Discuss how some are happy and some are sad. Suggest that they create their own clown face pizzas.
  • Provide each child with a chopping board and a muffin as a base.
  • Demonstrate how to spread tomato puree on the base and explain that this helps the ingredients to stick to it.
  • Encourage free choice from the various ingredients in the bowls to create the clown faces.
  • Heat the pizzas gently in the oven or under the grill until the cheese melts.
  • Display pizzas on plates surrounded by small bowls of different coloured melon balls to represent clown’s juggling balls.


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2. Big top fairy cakes

Making circus tent fairy cakes

Communication, Language and Literacy

Early learning goal: Explore and experiment with sounds, words and texts.

What you need

Images of big tops; fairy cake recipe; butter; sugar; self-raising flour; eggs; icing sugar; appropriate bowls and utensils; small tubes of red and blue icing sugar; straws; card; colouring pens.

What to do

  • Look at images of big tops and talk about the shapes and colours. Explain that some big tops have stripes and a flag on top.
  • Invite children to make tiny big top cakes. Using a cake recipe, help them to read the ingredients and follow the instructions.
  • Leave cakes to cool and then cover with white icing. When the icing has dried use the tubes of icing to create stripes.
  • Make flags for the cakes by cutting out triangles of card, colouring them and threading them through a cut-down straw.


Online exclusive!

Discover how to make some yummy ‘Upside-down clown hats’ with this online-only activity sheet.

Upside-down clown hats recipe


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3. Snack, crackle, popcorn!

Children enjoying circus popcorn

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Early learning goal: Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.

What you need

A small bag of popcorn; popping corn; pan with glass lid; butter; sugar; salt; card; colouring pens.

What to do

  • Talk to the children about snacks they enjoy at the cinema, circus or theatre.
  • Show them some kernels of popping corn and also the ready-made popcorn. Compare the two and ask if they would like to find out how the hard corn kernels change into the soft fluffy popcorn.
  • A safe distance from the children, and wearing oven gloves, heat a layer of cooking oil in a deep pan. When it is really hot, add some popping corn and put on the lid. Holding the lid tightly, shake the pan around to stop the corn from sticking.
  • When the corn starts popping, pause for a while to listen while the heat spreads through the pan and then continue to shake.
  • When the popping subsides check inside the pan – the corn should fill the pan at this stage. Lift off the lid for the children to see and then experiment with flavouring and colouring the popcorn while it is still in the pan, for example, with butter, sugar or salt.
  • Gently pour the popcorn into a big bowl.
  • Create cones from card and decorate.
  • Share the popcorn between the cones and enjoy.


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More recipes online

Find lots more tasty recipes online in the Nursery Ed PLUS resource bank. Among the yummy delights you’ll find fruity bread fingers, jam tarts and peppermint creams.


With thanks to Victoria Harrison and the staff and children of Yarm School Nursery for their kind help in testing these recipes and supplying us with photographs of the fun they had!

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