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Activities Helpful in Developing Concentration

To develop concentration in children, the following activities are useful:

  • Concentrating on a candle; [1]
  • Creating a space for children to read a book of one’s choice with one’s full attention for a stipulated time (say half an hour) and then follow it up with a sharing circle where each one shares one’s learning with the larger group (particularly useful for children upto 10 years of age); [2]
  • Physical exercises such a walking on a plank set on stools, jumping on a rope, eluciole circus activities involving aerial silk and rope etc.; [3] [4]
  • Creating geometric embroidery on cards and bookmarks with a simple technique using needle and thread on perforated cardboard. This technique requires great concentration and precision using pure mathematical patterns of straight lines in different forms; [5]
  • Awareness Through the Body - short concentrations exercises, [6]
    • Such as: after placing the body in a comfortable align sited position, requesting the children to gather their attention by focusing on the sensation of not moving; after a few moments asking them to notice where in the body they feel the most quiet and peaceful sensation at that moment. Once they identify it, they are to stay connected to this part and allow the sensation to grow and become clearer. At the end of the concentration everyone is requested to share their experience, to describe or give a name to the sensation that they felt, while pointing to the part of the body where they felt it.
    • In other similar concentrations, done at different moments during the year, children observe whether the Peaceful place in the body is always the same or is changing; they are also asked, at other times, to look into the color of the sensation or to let the sensation grow and expand till it would encompass the whole body.
    • With older children one can also explore expanding the sensation of Peace beyond the physical body into the subtle physical body.
  • Awareness Through Body exercise on concentration in pairs.
    • In this exercise, both persons have the eyes closed and at the start of the exercise their hands are resting on their knees. We play music as a background support and when the music begins both partners initiate a movement which will bring their hands together. They move their hands in such a way as to be aware of each and every small movement that is taking place and the sensations that accompany this movement. The exercise (bringing the hands together and going back to one‘s own knees) is done only once and normally last between 30 to 45 minutes. [7]

Within the schools, creating a quiet, noise-free and relaxing environment with different corners dedicated to different activities, where the children can come either alone or in pairs to dedicatedly, quietly work on a single task at a time, helps create a conducive atmosphere for developing concentration. While a silent atmosphere is useful for concentrating for every age group, designing the space in this fashion is particularly useful for small children, aged two to six. [8][9]