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Language and Communication Developing attention and listening skills through motivating activities  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


These activities aim to develop your child's ability to keep attention for longer periods on motivating activities.

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Early years skill:Listening and attention
Early years typical range:0-11m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English
P-scales/Curriculum level:P2i
TAP skill:Attention and Listening
TAP level:TAP9
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:Persistence
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:Engagement
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Sensory Play

- Sensory toys and materials for messy play (e.g. trays with sand/ cornflour and water/jelly).

- The best toys are those that the child can manipulate easily to produce a result.

1. Guide your child's hands and visual attention to toys/trays of material(s) that they can touch and look at.

2. Let your child explore the toys/materials in the tray and encourage them to investigate all their properties, stimulating all of the child's senses as far as possible (colour, smell, texture).

3. You may need to draw the child's attention back to the activity if the child becomes distracted. Use your voice to regain their attention (e.g. a drawn out "ohhhh!", or an intake of breath).

Do not continue with something the child has lost interest in, but wait a while before introducing another object.

Turn taking games

- Ball / dark cloth

- Your voice - to sing simple nursery rhymes that have an element of anticipation built in such as "Round and round the haystack, like a little mouse, one step, two step and into his little house".

1. Gain your child's attention by calling his name or sitting close to him.

2. Play simple games ( 'boo', hiding under a cloth, rolling a ball, singing simple songs such as 'Round and round the haystack) where your child learns simple turn taking routines and where he can learn to anticipate what comes next.

3. Once your child learns to anticipate within a familiar routine, gradually lengthen the pause between your talking and the action to increase the length of time they pay attention.

This is a fun activity for you and the child to enjoy together.

Use plenty of facial expression and your voice to gain and keep the child's attention.

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