Give your child one-on-one time with mom or dad while working together on a puzzle, coloring a picture, finger painting, or engaging in water play (driving boats in the sink, pouring water into funnels or sieves). These activities engage a child as she learns to sit and focus.
If she can’t get motivated for these games, make it a competition! Race to see who can put five puzzle pieces together first, or who can use the most colors in their picture. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing these activities. Praise her for her achievements.
- Everybody dance and when the music stops – freeze!
- Use a selection of both slow and fast songs and have children dance slowly to slow songs and quickly to fast songs.
- Challenge children by having them dance to opposite cues: dance quickly to the slow songs and slowly to the fast songs.
3. Drum Beats
- Use drum beats to represent different actions that children can do while sitting (e.g. clapping or stomping) or while moving around the room (e.g. walking or dancing). For example, children walk quickly to fast drumming, slowly to slow drumming, and freeze when the drumming stops.
- Request children to respond to opposite cues (walk slowly to fast drum beats and quickly to slow drum beats). Or add in different actions with specific drum cues. For example, slow drumming means stomping feet and fast drumming means jumping jacks.
4. Head-Shoulders-Knees-& Toes
· This classic activity requires children to work on their self-regulation skills by overriding automatic responses as the song is changed.
- Begin by having students point to their head, shoulders, knees and toes while singing the song.
- Challenge them by omitting body parts in the sequence and/or by asking students to point to incongruent body parts. For example, tell students “when I say to touch your head, touch your TOES!!” or “When I say touch your tummy, touch your EARS.
5. Peanut Butter Jelly Game
- Sitting on the floor in a large circle, have one ball represent the peanut butter and the other ball represent the jelly. The object of the game is to always throw the peanut butter ball and roll the jelly ball.
- The child holding the peanut butter ball throws it to anyone in the circle, and the child holding the jelly ball rolls it to anyone in the circle. Whoever receives the peanut butter ball must continue to throw it to someone else, whereas the jelly ball must be rolled.
- Memory Games
- Memory games are also extremely useful to help improve your child’s attention span. You can use matching flashcards, board games or a regular deck of cards to encourage thinking and build concentration. Memory apps specifically designed for kids with special needs can also come in handy. Demonstrate the first round for your child to learn and follow instead of giving verbal instructions.
A multi-sensory play experience helps kids with special needs enhance their concentration, attention span, and social connections. A mix of visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile play experiences help kids who are very anxious and fidgety, focus. Certain sounds, aromas, textures, and pictures can help establish a sense of familiarity in your child’s mind. Sensory stimuli can also improve memory as well as the power of association. For example, hearing a lullaby can make a child think of bedtime, while the sound of food crackling may bring to mind memories of mealtime.