Competitive sport (physical) can be a great way to train a child’s body, while we need to develop concentration linked activities with an aim to improve “their brain” and force them to stop and think, before carrying out a specific task on a mental level. When this represents a challenge to them while also knowing that “it is not wrong to fail”, it will then encourage them to exert the effort “mentally” as much as they would do in the playground.
In a gist, the essence is “that it is essential to adapt the level of difficulty to their specific level of knowledge, as if it is perceived as something too difficult, they would simply lose interest”.
Crossword and picture puzzles can be good tools to improve a child’s concentration. Crosswords tend to improve attention on deciphering ways in which letters and words are put together, picture puzzles in which the child has to look for things that are “out of place” within the picture or look for objects that are hard to locate, improve focus and visual concentration.
When children are attuned to remembering the location of picture squares, for eg., it helps them memorize sequences of visual and auditory stimuli, which will encourage them to divert their full attention in order to arrive at the solution. Children are normally competitive and love to win. Hence their full range of senses will be stretched in order to solve these type of puzzles.
3. MISSING NUMBERS
This is a good and healthy game mentally while having a dual purpose. It improves both concentration and numeracy. It is a simple game, wherein the child has to count and it does not matter what the sequence is missing specific numbers out from time to time. To cite an example, you state “ten, eleven, twelve, fourteen, fifteen”, and the child should call out the number you have missed, as soon as they realize thirteen in this case, which displays the “attention span and focuses on the solution required” which effectively achieves the purpose of improving their concentration and also enhancing memory.
4. TONGUE TWISTERS
This is another game that helps in improving the child’s concentration and pronunciation skills. While it is a fun and entertaining activity, it does its part in stimulating their hearing memory and is quite beneficial in acquiring speed and accuracy when speaking.
Some tongue twisters for starters:
She sells sea shells on the sea-shore.
The blue bluebird blinks.
Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
If you want to buy, buy, in you don’t want to buy, bye bye.
There can be enough variations developed (more than 15 that has been requested) with the above 4 options provided, which will certainly go a long way, in helping the child develop an extended and willing attention span, while also sharpening their retention capabilities mentally, with a sharp memory.
5. BUILD A STORY TOGETHER
This game fuels the imagination of the children. It is as simple as the initiator starting off with one word. For instance, “There”, the child has to provide the next word. The people playing this game go back and forth with providing words and the game ends when there is a complete story in place. The nature of the game is such that anybody can direct the story as per their imagination and the entire plot can turn around at the hands of the next person. It makes for some good laughs. The child will understand sentence construction and learn new things at the same time.
6. FLASH CARDS
This is the old school memory tiles game which present day technology has changed into an array of online games based on the same principle. There are a set of flash cards, each with a pair that has been done apart. The child has the base card and must look for its counterpart from the pile. Each flash card is dealt with separately, one at a time. While being a lot of fun, the child innately starts to understand similarity, congruence and pattern resemblance from the process.
7. HOW MANY CAN YOU RECOLLECT?
This game involves arranging for a minimum of 15 objects or identifiable identities. The items are displayed on a desk and the person in charge calls out the name of each object and pulls it up for attention for a span of about 3 seconds. Once all the items have been called out, the children are given 90 seconds to pen down the list of items they have seen. The duration is subject to change as per the number of objects. This game drives the spirit of competition in kids and makes them want to remember more things just to outshine the other person.
This game involves the use of flash cards. The teacher has a set of flash cards with basic shapes inscribed on them, like the square, rectangle, so on and so forth. Every time a flash card is brought to the attention of kids, they need to be given turns to talk about what another object that they know of, resembles that particular shape. For example, if the flash card says square, the kids could say, blackboard, window, carom board and so on. You get the idea!
9. THE NAME CHAIN
This game is a tad bit complicated but if understood right, it is a whole lot of fun and makes you want to be on top of your memory threshold. An initiator calls out his/her name for starters. The next person needs to repeat the initiator’s name and call out his/her own name. The third person has to continue the chain by adding his/her name while continuing to recall the name chain from where it started.
Person 1 says: Veena
Person 2 says: Veena, Rishi
Person 3 says: Veena, Rishi, Rupali
Person 1 continues: Veena, Rishi, Rupali, Siddarth
The typical word building game but with a twist! Like the name suggests, the game revolves around places. It is a word building chain but is limited to only places. The catch being the suburbs do not count. For instance,
If the initiator starts by saying – Antartica, ending with “a”,
Next person says – Amsterdam, ending with “m”,
The next person continues – Maldives, ending with “s”.
Except you don’t hang the kids!
The good ol’ Hangman! Pick out words familiar to the kids and smartly blank out the letters that could probably lead to another word. Let the kids call out the letters and the once that don’t make the cut need to be written out separately so as to avoid confusion.
12. SPOT THE DIFFERENCES
It is indeed sad that such a good game was like was limited to the 90’s kids. If you don’t spot them in newspapers anymore, take a print out off the internet. There are gazillion pictures waiting to be tried upon. This game is self-explanatory and needless to say, puts kids at their competitive best while letting them grasp a pictorial representation within seconds, enabling their comprehension skills to take the fore.
Try it out with your kids today! It will take the time to see the effect of indulging in these activities but momentarily, it’ll give you some great bonding time with your kid with memories to cherish!