While this series focuses on some key examples of basic attention tasks, there are actually many other types of attention tasks out there.
Attention is important not just in childhood, but all the way to adulthood. Attention is hence something that must be continually built and strengthened as a child gets older. A knob puzzle might be an attention task for a 2-year-old, but not anymore for a 6-year-old because it is too easy.
“Attention tasks are only called ‘attention tasks’ if they require attention!”
Don’t be surprised if a task that was challenging for your child at first soon becomes second nature to them. This is normal, and a good thing! Constantly ensure attention tasks are changing and getting more advanced to suit the child’s level, so they continue to be challenged, build their attention skills, and not get frustrated and bored with doing the same thing.
There are many attention tasks out there that build on the foundational attention tasks taught in this series.
Image Source: Busy Toddler
For example, sorting pom poms by colour requires the skills of Matching and Sorting.
Many attention tasks also double as fine motor tasks, as they usually require the concentration and careful manipulation of the little muscles. For example, beading necklaces.
There are many resources and websites online that share creative attention task ideas. Try saving images of your favourite attention tasks or building a Pinterest board based on them.
This lesson will demonstrate some examples of additional attention tasks, roughly divided into easy, intermediate and advanced activities. Do note that what is classified as ‘easy’ can still be ‘advanced’ for some children.
1. Putting pom-poms or popsicle sticks in bottles
This can also be made more complex by sorting pom-poms or popsickle sticks by colour.
2. Beading big beads with pipe cleaners
Pipe cleaners are stiff and bendy, hence making that much easier to bead than string.
3. Coins and buttons in jars or piggybanks
This really gets the pincer fingers working!
4. Sticker books or sheets
This is a really fun way for children to practice peeling stickers off and arranging it in their own way.
5. Scooping rice/pasta into bowls
Not only does it take concentration not to spill the rice, this can be a fun part of pretend play.
These tasks are classified as intermediate because they require quite well developed pincer-grip skills, and the ability to adjust small objects in a small space.
1. Counting buttons
A child arranges buttons according to the number.
2. Arranging popsicle sticks by alphabet
3. Making pasta necklaces
The thread can start to get smaller than pipe cleaners, and you can use beads too!
4. Button patterns
Arranging buttons according to lines.
5. Pegs and numbers Maths Tray
These tasks are classified as advanced because they assume a child already has some pencil grip and the ability to do very fine, small manipulations. Children who have these skills are usually already reaching or at school age, so it is appropriate to start graduating them to worksheet-based activities.
1. Connect-the-dot activity sheets
2. Word searches
Word searches require lots of concentration and also practice letter recognition.
3. Simple origami
Origami requires patience and plenty of practice to get accurate.
4. Games and activities like LEGO
A child could spend hours creating their own LEGO creation. Board games like Operation certainly require plenty of focus and attention to get the tiny parts out of the patient – something even adults find hard to do!
By this age, attention tasks start to look like proper hobbies – be it drawing, LEGO or doing word searches. Children will also start to show clear preference for the attention tasks they like.
One does not need to wait until their child reaches 5 or 6 years old to incorporate their interests into the attention task.
Image Source: hello, Wonderful
If a child likes cute animals, try sticking a little animal to the edge of the scissors to make cutting more exciting.
Image Source: 7 Days of Play
Or try feeding the hungry rabbit in this adorable attention task.
Whatever attention tasks are introduced, always keep the 3 Key Strategies of ABA consistent:
Assuming your child has already learned the Basic Attention Tasks at least, look at the list of ideas we shared today.