Memory games for Preschoolers : Tips to improve concentration in children
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It’s been an hour and you have still not finished those small alphabets? Huh, how can you forget number 7 right in the middle of writing? Again, you have made this alphabet as its mirror image? Can’t you stop fidgeting and playing with your colours and complete the homework? Tired with the attention span of children and want some tips like Memory games?
How many of you will raise your hands being mama’s for the above said questions?
It’s tricky, its funny, and its sometimes really frustrating to ask kids to focus on things we wish. As toddlers grow up, they see panorama of things around them, they logically get more interested in the free play and naughtiness becomes a part of their growing up. As these things start taking over, asking kids to concentrate on, be it studies or homework or repetitive writing can actually become challenging for primary school children. Let me tell you, I’m too a part of this mommy community, who has been struggling to get the desired attention when it comes to “not-so-interesting” work. Being a mom of 3.5 year old super energetic child, at times, it becomes a lot challenging for me to ask my son to finish his so called “study book”.
Related Read : Tips to foster creativity in kids
And this is pretty logical, as kids have short attention span and they wish to engage only in things which excite them. Very natural! But, if you ask a furious mom, it goes too irrational and then comes the ways to help preschoolers/Nursery/Kindergarten kids enhance their attention span. Lots of work and research around this has made to write this post for you all mama’s.
But before jumping to the tricks, did you know how much should be the attention span of a 4year old?
What is the normal attention span for children?
As a parent, observe the best time when your child focusses, in the morning, after a afternoon nap or before the bed time. There will be a huge variation at different times for different kids. Try taking turn for few days on all these time slots and fix the slot when you find least distraction in your child’s mind. Though remember, even that time might not be 100% distraction proof.
Average time for which a child can focus on one activity, can be determined by:
Attention span for learning = 2-5 times the age of the child
So for a 2 year old, the average range would be 4-10minutes, for 3 year old, it would be 6-15minutes, for a 4 year old it would be 8-20 minutes, for 5 year old it would be 10-25minutes and so on.
If your child has the attention span in similar range, then count it as perfect, though we can always up the game with few tips and tricks, when practised over days and weeks consistently.
Tips to improve the concentration in children (2-6years) / attention span in children (2-6 years) :
1. Keep the monotony at a bay :
Since primary school children have short attention span, try to change things. Starting from change of location to change of worksheets, try small changes. Don’t expect a child to complete their lots of workbook pages in one go. Rather, cut it into small parts. Once a child does one page of alphabet writing, you can give them a maze or a colourful puzzle to work upon. Try to keep them engaged in small intervals. If your child loves doing math, insert few of them after another page. Similarly add up colouring. This can easily make a child focus on their work for 20-30 minutes a day. *Choose the activities which your child enjoys for these small mid-parts, as it would come across as their “treat” for completion of the homework.
2. Building Blocks :
Don’t take those Lego supporting booklets and sit with your child designing the pre determined robots or ships. What you need are colourful various shaped blocks and a mat. Prompt your child to make different things out of those blocks. Believe me, children love blocks and they can easily concentrate on making different shapes, use their imaginations for 15-20 minutes. It not just enhances the imaginative power, but also helps in hand-eye coordination of children.
3. Sequencing & Sorting : Coin Game :
Well, one day, my son took the coin box and he spread all the coins on the table. A furious mom in me was trying to wake up, but I saw something different. I asked him to segregate the coins basis their shapes and he was excited to do this. It took close to 5 minutes and then we started making a coin tower, with bigger ones at the bottom and the smaller ones at the top. Not only he concentrated on making his big coin building, he was also very cautious to not allow it to break and fall. It asked for patience, time, concentration.
Another variation can be Coin sequencing which is fun and also improves concentration of children. Take some varied sized assorted coins. Take 5-6 coins from them and make any sequence out of them. Ask your child to look at it closely for few seconds. Cover it up with a sheet and ask your child to make the same pattern now on their own. Try to give them a fix time to complete this task. Incase, they sequence it wrong, ask them to redo it. You can do the same with different shapes of different colours also, slowly enhancing the difficulty level. Sequencing is a great way to enhance concentration.
Another variant of sequencing can be with colourful beads.
As we mentioned in the coin game, it first required Sorting. Sorting is a great way to keep kids focussed. You can do that with different shapes of pasta or mix chana and rajma together and ask children to sort them out for you. They can sort colourful different shapes. Try giving them one sorting a day and vary it so that kids retain the interest. To increase the difficulty level, you can mix small lego parts and ask kids to sort basis the colour/shape. Mix 2 types of pulses and allow kids to segregate them. Do applaud them for their hard work here.
4. Memory games for kids :
Memory games are a hit at any age, just that the difficulty levels increase with the age. One of the best is the Original Memory Game which teaches preschool age children to focus. You can buy it from amazon here :
In Memory games, one needs to lay out a certain no.of cards and kids needs to flap them in pairs and find the matches. It’s best played in 2-3 group of kids as the player with maximum matches wins the game. During this process, children need to focus on the cards to make that perfect match and win the game, which encourages them to focus more on the game. It enhances the neurons connections thus improving memory and concentration in kids.
Apart from these games, go in for Jigsaw puzzles, which really help kids focus on sorting out the shape/character in the puzzle. Puzzles have been a hit with my child and I’m enhancing the difficulty level, which makes him sit for good 10 minutes and solve it. Engage in art and crafts with cardboard, popsicle sticks and more.
Create a bundle of worksheets full of “Thinking Games” as Joining Dots basis the numbers or alphabets (Dot to dot), Spot the difference between two images, Maze. In all these activities, children need to pay attention to make sure that they connect the dots correctly or pick out right differences. Maze’s are all time hit and a great Brain booster activity. It not just enhances their concentration, but also improves their hand eye coordination and boosts up their problem solving skills. But remember, start from simple maze and slowly increase the difficulty level for your child.
Check out interesting ones on amazon –
5. Thinking & Interactive Games :
Games as “Simon Says” are instant hit. We all have played these games and if not, I’ll share how to play Simon says. All you need is to give your child the start with the phrase “Simon says” – touch your feet , clap your hands, dance around and anything. Your child has to wait and listen to the direction after you’ve said “Simon says” and then act accordingly. You can sometimes miss the word Simon says and just say, dance. If any child does that, he /she can lose the point. You can play this in a group, so that you can have winners and believe me its great fun. This provokes children to listen to the instructions of Simon says and act accordingly. It involves the use of their visual memory and improves listening & interpretation skills.
6. Impulse Control activities :
You can make some series of cards of same theme, as in Weather : Snowflakes – Scorching sun or Rain. In this game, kids are asked to speak opposite of what is shown in the cards. When the card of snowflakes is shown they ought to say rainy and when they see rains, they should say Winters. Many such card combinations can be made(as sun, moon) . It is a great way for them to see, think and break the impulse answer.
7. Baking Together :
From past few months, we have been loving baking cakes together. The complete process from spreading out the ingredients to finally putting in microwave takes more than 20 minutes with children. My son loves measuring the amount of mixture, adding it to the other ingredients. Rather he now knows the recipe and keeps on guiding me what to add next. This makes my curious bunch sit for a lot of time and he uses his mind for all what has been done and what needs to be done. Simple, yet effective.
8. Storytelling :
Don’t mix storytelling with picture book reading. Storytelling requires kids to listen and imagine for long durations. Not only do they love listening stories, but it actually helps them improve their attention, it asks them to sit at one place, respond to some of the questions story teller asks and then go beyond their imaginations. Engaging child in one or two storytelling sessions a day will bring a remarkable difference.
9. Missing Item :
What you need here is a tray and small things as coin, pencil, rubber, fork, spoon, colour and what ever you can find at your place. Arrange 3-4 things in a tray and ask your child to see it for few seconds. Now cover the items in the tray with a cloth and ask your child to name all the things which were there in the tray. Increase the things on the tray for next round and repeat the same process. You can then remove one or two things and again ask your child to name the things yet on the tray. If your children can write, then instead of naming the items, ask them to write down.
It is a good fun brain exercise for children and adults as well.
10. Backward Counting :
If your children are 5 years or more, you can try giving them a random number, as 98 and ask them to count backwards. It’s not that simple, believe me, it shuns out all the distractions and kids just try to focus on backward counting. It boosts concentration skills to a great level. If you are playing in group, do reward the winner which will prompt all kids to retry backward counting until they are successful.
And sometimes, asking children to just sit on their chair without moving also helps. The longer they sit, focussing on some big object, better they become when it comes to patience and focus.
I’m sure, you would have got lots of suggestions now, what matters is implementation. Try 2-3 of these activities in rotation daily, so that your child doesn’t gets bored of one repetitive activity. Jot down the focus durations or attention spans before starting memory boosting exercises. Over a certain period of 20-30 days, note down the new span. Try observing the improvements, though it may seem small. Results will come over a good period of time.
So now, lemme rush to my next Simon Says activity with my son, its the time to do it!
Love , Jhilmil