Strengthening focus through classroom activities

March 16, 2018

Focus is something children develop with practice.   

Sometimes, even a minute or two of attending to an activity can be a challenge, but here are some activities that are great in and of themselves but can also help children to get better at focusing. Here at Crossroads in classrooms and therapy sessions, adults choose activities that are interesting to their students. By capturing the child’s interest right away, they can reinforce the child for even the briefest time spent attending to the task. Then as the child learns that his or her focus is desired, a gradual increase of time-frames and independence stretches and strengthens the skill of attending. Adults can give gradually altered amounts of attention and guidance to tasks with each.       

Here, students practice letter S on their Learning Without Tears chalkboards.

This activity is called “Wet, Dry, Try.” Students use the chalkboards to trace the letter with their finger, trace it again with a wet small sponge, and then try drawing it on the wet imprint they’ve created. It’s a favorite activity, and since it has so many smaller steps, its one that can help develop focus as well as handwriting skills. 

 Puzzles work well too. There are puzzles with just 3 pieces to start out with and others with over 500 pieces. Puzzles also serve as a life-long leisure interest for many people.

Many of our classrooms at Crossroads have a box of file folder games. These are made by the teachers with laminated pieces that can be matched on the file folder to their matching component. These are great activities for strengthening attentiveness along with whatever skill is being targeted with the game, such as color, shape, number or letter.  

Art activities such as this one where the child applies one piece at a time allows the teacher to give a lot of positive reinforcement along with direction to task. 

It’s also pertinent that children learn through play, so play centers are a common activity slot in classroom schedules here – children play in small groups for a set number of minutes, and then rotate to the next center in order to work on transitioning and variety with toys.   When kiddos play with toys – especially learning toys – they build and create and learn about their world. Activities such as moving action figures through a habitat, or creating faces on Mr. Potato Head are exciting to young learners and simultaneously help build focus.     Books, too, are focus-builders! Reading with others serves also to increase independent reading. And of course there are infinite books at different levels of reading.  

How do you work on focus in your home or school setting? Do you agree its an important skill to have in life? Leave your comments below to share with our readers!

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Welcome Ms. Diane to our Volunteer Program!Literacy Development at Crossroads Center for Children