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Focus for Kids: Games to Improve Your Child's Concentration

Suggested Activities for kids: fun and learning at home

By Keesa Renee DuPre

Kids have trouble concentrating. It's a fact of life. More and more children these days are being labeled ADD or ADHD, when in fact, they're just being normal kids. Drugs may lull them into compliant stupor, but why drug your child when there's another option available?

Before you diagnose your child with an attention disorder, why not try these fun games with them? They can be played anywhere, from the living room to the kitchen to the car, and they're great for long car trips. Plus, they help children learn to concentrate and focus. They may also help your child "become" smarter. Children who can concentrate better, can learn better.


Missing Numbers

This game is great for any child who can count. You count from one to ten (or one to twenty, depending on the age of the child), leaving out numbers every so often. When you leave out a number, the child should call out the number you left out. For example, you might go "One, two, three, five," and by the time you're saying "six", your child should have called out "four". (Don't stress if your child is consistently missing numbers. If, after you've said "six", the child hasn't called "four", playfully point out that they missed one, and start the game over. Leave out different numbers each time, of course.)

A tricky variation on this game for older children involves counting by multiples (for example, three, six, nine, twelve, etc) and occasionally leaving out one of the multiples. Don't be surprised if this game is almost as difficult for you as for the child. Both of you will probably mess up many times over; that's all part of the fun. Laugh over it together, no matter which one of you messes up, and start over.



This game is great for preschool kids. You call out a word (hot, light, soft, etc.) and the child gives you the opposite. With young children especially, be sure to pick concepts they know. And remember that some words will have more than one opposite. If you say "happy", for example, the child may say "sad", or they may say "angry". Both choices would be right. They shouldn't say "excited", however.


Tongue Twisters

No article on games to improve concentration would be complete without those beloved tongue twisters we all remember from our childhood. These include perennial favorites such as

She sells sea shells by the sea shore
Rubber baby buggy bumpers
Betty bought a bit of bitter butter

And, for children who have a lisp or have trouble with their r's and w's, try this one:

Swiss wristwatch




All of these games should be fun for you as well as for the child. Remember, keep them fun. You know that the child is learning concentration and developing important skills that will last them the rest of their life, but the child doesn't know that, nor should they. As far as you're concerned, this is playtime. Make the most of it.


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see also:

Learning to Read

Learning to Read: Activities

Gift Guides for Children Ages 5-8

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