Focus and Attention

Infants and toddlers are beginning to focus and sustain their attention, and you can help them develop these skills

Baby looking at pile of big building blocks in classroom

What You Need to Know

Infants may only sustain attention on a single thing for brief periods. Similarly, the attention span of toddlers may vary widely. And that’s okay! Teachers can foster young children’s focus and attention through engaging interactions, providing them with stimulating toys and materials, offering choices, and following their lead in play.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can help children develop their focus and attention through engaging activities

Explain What Will Happen

Explicitly draw children’s attention to the objective of a task or what they may experience. Notice how this teacher uses a visual to support focus before and during a balloon breath activity.

Promote Active Engagement

Getting young children physically and verbally involved in an activity helps them to stay focused longer. Notice how this teacher uses movement, chants, and actions that children can easily repeat.

Encourage Involvement

Prompting young children to actively observe and participate in tasks increases their focus and attention. Notice how this teacher gets children involved by inviting them to look and touch different ingredients for a recipe.


All of Baby, Nose to Toes

All of Baby, Nose to Toes, written by Victoria Adler and illustrated by Hiro Nakata, invites young children to actively participate to identify different body parts.

All of Baby, Nose to Toes book pages

Activity Cards for Infant and Toddler Classrooms

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can help older infants and toddlers develop their focus and attention
Balance Beams
using movement

Balance Beams

Children focus on their movement as they balance on blocks or planks.

Bean Bag Toss Activity Card label
using movement

Bean Bag Toss

Young children practice concentrating as they try to toss bean bags on targets.

Icons and label for Mindfulness: Growing Flowers activity

Mindfulness: Growing Flowers

This mindfulness exercise builds children's capacity to focus and concentrate.

Music Tells a Story Activity Card label
using music

Music Tells A Story

As children listen to music, find creative ways for them to tell you about it.


Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills