Easy and Fun Activities to Increase Your Kid’s Attention Span
A lot of discussion has been around concerning the effect of screen time on our concentration skills. Experts argue that spending too much time in front of a screen can limit our attention span. Kids are particularly affected, especially if they are not actively engaged and are just passive receivers of stimuli during screen time (watching TV for many hours could be such an example). Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to boost your kid’s concentration skills. Apart from keeping a balance between screen time and screen-free activities, you can also use specific activities to increase kids attention span.
Average attention span per age
As a general rule, a kid’s attention span increases per about 3-5 minutes per year of their age. So, at around two years of age, a toddler would normally be able to concentrate on a particular task for 6 minutes minimum. A three-year-old should manage to pay attention to a specific activity for at least 9 minutes, while a preschooler’s concentration would last for about 15 minutes. In early grades a kid may be able to keep focused for 30 minutes since, as kids grow up, their ability to focus on a specific task becomes stronger. So, before getting worried that your child’s attention span is limited, make sure that your expectations match your kid’s age.
Does your kid’s way of life facilitate concentration?
Before moving to specific activities to increase kids attention span, you might want to check whether your kid’s way of life makes it difficult for them to keep focused. You may be surprised to know that there are a lot of factors in a kid’s daily life that may affect their ability to focus. Such factors include their diet, their sleep schedule or even the way their room is organised. So, what can you do to help your kid stay focused?
- Establish a daily routine: kids are more likely to engage in different activities if they follow a fixed schedule. Knowing what they are going to do next provides a sense of security and allows them time to get mentally prepared for it.
- Make sure they get enough sleep: Lack of sleep makes concentration really difficult. Apart from a good night’s sleep, taking a nap in the afternoon can boost concentration during the rest of the day.
- Healthy mind in a healthy body: our diet plays an essential role in our ability to concentrate, so make sure that your kids eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. Pay special attention to breakfast, since what they eat in the morning will definitely affect their concentration during the day. Exercise is essential too, since it lowers our anxiety levels and helps increase our attention and memory skills. Besides, exercising will give your kids the opportunity to release their energy, so they will then be able to concentrate more easily.
- Create a distraction-free environment: a kid may have difficulty concentrating in a room full of distractions. To avoid your kid losing concentration, organize their room in such a way that they can feel calm while being there. Make sure that their room is screen-free and that there are no gadgets around. If you want them to focus on a particular activity, keep everything they might need at hand. That way they will not need to stop what they are doing to look for something.
Fun activities to increase kids attention
Luckily, there are a lot of activities you can do to boost your kid’s concentration skills. Your little ones will love them, since they are so much fun!
Memory mix and match: grab some markers and play a memory game with your kid. First, choose three or four of them and put them in a specific order. Have your kid look at them for 15 seconds and then mix them with the rest of the markers. Ask your kid to identify the markers you used and put them in the correct order. If they get it right, continue by adding a marker a time. If you want to make it even more difficult, you can put some of the markers upside down.
Can you tell them all?: go around the house and pick various small objects (a fork, a button, a straw, a sock etc.). Put them in a tray and have your kid look at them for 30 seconds. Cover the tray and ask your kid to list as many things as they can remember having seen in the tray. Give them a point for every object they get right. To make it more difficult, you can set a timer and ask them to recall as many objects as they can in a certain time.
There’s something missing…: this is a variation of the previous activity. Once your kid has reached a good point in recalling the objects in the tray, try removing some of them and ask them to identify the objects missing. To practice their focus skills, repeat the activity removing different objects each time.
Just dance!: learning a choreography is also a good way for kids to increase their attention span. You can either create a choreography yourself and ask kids to follow it or use songs that require specific movements, such as “head, shoulders, knees and toes“, “baby shark”, etc.
I spy with my little eye…: this famous game is great not only because it boosts kids focus skills, but also because it is easy to play everywhere. Whether in the car or waiting in a queue you can take advantage of this idle time to boost your kid’s concentration. Simply look around and say “I spy with my little eye something blue/beginning with A, etc”. Your kid will then have to focus on the environment to find out what you have in mind.
You can find a great variety of equivalent activities to increase kids attention online. However, games you already have at home can be pretty beneficial too. Puzzles, building blocks, board games or simply following a recipe to bake their favorite cookies will keep your kids focused and entertained!