Short Attention Span
- Simon Says. This game helps children pay attention, as well as practise purposeful movement. You can apply it in directing children’s classroom activity, for instance, “Simon Says, put away your math sheet.” Children must be listening for the cue “Simon Says,” because without it the direction should not be followed. Rewards can be given every time a child correctly follows Simon’s directions, or for every 15 minutes he follows directions, depending on the child’s tolerance for waiting, and how often you say “Simon Says.”
- Going on a Treasure Hunt. You can turn this game into a class venture by forming teams of children and asking them to make up directions for other teams to follow. Besides helping a hyperactive child follow directions and stick with an activity, it’s a fun way for him to interact with a group of children.
- Baking a Cake. Making any kind of food, even boiling water, requires following directions in a set order. Children are intrinsically motivated to finish their activity, since a baked cake is usually more appetizing than a bowl full of wet batter. If you don’t have access to a stove, try making refrigerated goodies like popsicle sticks or jello.
Another idea is to hold a sandwich-making contest, asking children to bring their own ingredients along with a recipe. I advise you to make this rule ahead of time, “You eat what you make.” We neglected to do this, and ended up with 10-decker sandwiches, dripping with mustard, peanut butter, ketchup, tuna, strawberry jam, everything you can imagine, but nothing anyone cared to eat.
Good recipe books for children are A Special Picture Cookbook, by Freida Reed Steed, 1977, and The Kid’s Kitchen Takeover, by Sara Bonnet Stein, 1975.