For many children, one of the main reasons for low grades at school is a short attention span. You might find that if your children are in front of a textbook or faced with problem-solving activities, they are unable to concentrate for long enough to gain any benefit.
This impotence that in many cases, is of no fault of their own. However, this impotence when searching for improvements can build up a child’s frustration as well as that of their teachers and of course, mum and dad.
To try and improve their abilities to concentrate for longer, here are a few activities and exercises to try and help children reach their full potential. These are just a few of the activities available that will not directly improve any school projects but these mind games will help to develop other important skills such as their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.
Follow the hands on a clock or watch
Try to look at this activity as a game, with the objective of following the second's hand around a clock or a watch for a specific amount of time. You can lengthen or shorten the target time progressively until they have reached an amount of time that you consider to be adequate.
This is obviously an activity that can be played anywhere, at home, in the car, on a train etc. The aim of this activity is to create a competition or challenge from a simple task that will require children to concentrate for as long as possible.
Although this may seem like a very simple activity, it really isn’t as easy as it sounds. The objective of this exercise is to detect and concentrate on a specific sound that is present in the surrounding area.
The sound can be from anything, a toy, a speaker, a cell phone, anything that produces a sound and that be differentiated from other sounds that can be heard.
This exercise is one of the classics and is still very popular. The aim of the game is to find the hidden words within a series of letters that usually follow a specific theme to try and help children along the way.
The words can be found horizontally or vertically, in both directions, meaning left to right or even right to left.
Spot the difference
Another all-time classic. This game consists of two images that appear to be identical but with small differences that must be found by looking closely. This game can be modified to include a time limit if you are looking to add a competitive aspect to the activity.
Once children become more accustomed to the game, there are different levels available where the differences in the images become more and more subtle.
You may think that puzzles are not the most suitable activities for young children but there are many different varieties available that have been designed for specific abilities and age groups.
The basic element of a puzzle is to put together a certain number of pieces, that together form an image or shape. The idea is for children to think about the shapes of the different pieces and have to solve the problems by themselves. As with the other activities, the difficulty of the puzzles can be increased as the child’s ability improves.
To finish with, there is another important aspect to consider, patience. Generally, when children are presented with an activity that is not easy, they become frustrated. Mind games and concentration games are designed to help children learn about the importance of perseverance and to find solutions to uncommon problems that will hopefully be reflected in their personalities as they get older.
It must be pointed out though that apart from very specific cases, problems surrounding attention spans and children’s concentration levels will not usually turn in to serious issues. In around 95% of cases, the problems related to low attention spans will gradually disappear. Only in the case of a child who does not respond positively to any kind of stimulation over a long period, will you need to seek professional help? In the meantime, you should try and find games and activities to help children develop the necessary skills.