Young children seem to have amazing powers of concentration–when it comes to something they really want, but when it’s something we want, or they are not so keen on, concentration can be brief. However, concentration and focusing are skills that can be encouraged, practiced, and developed; they help with learning at any age and kindergarten readiness.
Concentration, focusing, or paying attention, are like 2 sides of a coin. One side is information we want and the other side is information that we have to ignore. For children to pay attention effectively they not only have to target what they want and ignore distractions, they have to figure out which is which. For example, if they are building a tower the clues that the blocks are tilting is important, but the color of the blocks is irrelevant. But it’s not always easy to know what is important. Kids have to learn this by doing, by connecting actions to consequences, by making errors of ignoring the wrong clues. For some children this is much easier to do than for others but playing with Lego and Duplo gives them lots of opportunities to explore, discover, and practice.
In a photo sent by a parent in the 1,2,3 Kindergarten community, the concentration and focusing of this young builder can easily be seen. He is holding his body still as his eyes carefully look over the choice of bricks. Often, kids–and adults–will hold their tongues out when they are deeply concentrating on a particular action. This is a trick to help the brain focus. He is ignoring if his shirt has a scratchy tag, the temperature in the room, and possibly the voice of a parent.
This ability to pay attention is something kids can develop and helps with learning. Playing makes this brain exercise way more fun! How long does your child concentrate when playing with Lego or Duplo?