Experts say that a child’s attention span is only a few minutes per each year they are old. It’s important when teaching or leading a game with kids to keep in mind how long you are asking them to focus on one thing. With games, we tend to forget that if we let it go on too long, our kids will stop having fun and often get out of hand. Once a game has reached this point, your success level with the game plummets and you lose the ability to use that game effectively again in the future.
A great phrase to keep in mind when leading activities or games with kids is “kill it before it dies.” What this means is that you keep a watchful eye on the activity and cut it before your kids begin to lose interest. The more you practice this skill, the better you will become at timing when to cut a game. At the very latest, stop the game as soon as you see your first kids begin to lose interest. The majority of the group is only a short step behind them.
Another way to keep games going with your kids is to add in new rules or adaptations along the way. This can lengthen the life of a game for at least a few more minutes and gives kids something new to focus on. Adding fun new rules keeps kids guessing at what is coming next. From time to time, let the kids who are playing come up with new rules themselves. Being in charge of the game gives them a sense of buy-in to the activity.
What are some creative ways you have kept kids interested in games or activities?