When it comes to kids’ attention spans, we are always thinking of creative ways to keep them! When they are paying attention to us, they are learning! So to keep them interested and engaged, we have found that activities that take about 20 minutes is the sweet spot! (Give or take a few minutes for prep and clean up of course!)
Let’s walk through a typical 20-minute activity. Before starting the activity, we will transition with either a quick lights out, heads down or hands on the table. This allows the children to have a calm moment before starting the next activity, which also creates a good habit of learning to be patient before starting something new.
Once everyone is ready, begin with an introduction to the activity. If it is art time, we will typically explain the project and the connection to the theme of the week. This helps with reinforcing the weekly themes or specific vocabulary words related to the theme. The introduction part of the activity is the perfect time to discuss these ideas.
Next, we set our classroom expectations for the activity. For example, if the activity involves taking turns, we will remind students to be patient when they are waiting and to be respectful of others when it’s their turn. This helps with setting standards in the classroom as well as a reminder for any safety issues that may come up.
Then it is activity time! Get your hands messy, stay engaged and have fun! This is the exciting part so enjoy it as much as the kids do! Make sure everyone gets a turn and encourage him or her to finish the activity as much as possible.
Finally, it’s clean up time! It is important to have everyone involved with this part to reinforce teamwork and cooperation. Cleaning up is everyone’s responsibility and a great way to teach this is simply by doing!
Then when all is done, transition into the next activity. Turn the lights out, have them put their heads down or hands on the table and count down to the next activity.
These short but productive activities keep kids engaged and excited for the day! Enjoy them!
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BUSY BEE EDUCATION