Factors contributing to a teen's ability to concentrate include sleep deprivation, poor nutrition and fatigue, according to researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Deakin University. Frederic Reamer, professor of social work at Rhode Island College, links teen depression with the inability to focus. Improving concentration and focus for many adolescents, however, isn't a medical issue but instead involves practicing simple concentration skills. One of the most enjoyable ways to do this for many teenagers involves playing memory games.
1. Photo Comparison
The photo comparison game asks teens to take two photo images of a variety of items. Dual photographs of an indoor or outdoor setting with interesting elements offers quality game material. The first photo shows the complete setting and the second image has elements missing from the first shot. The game asks teens to look carefully at the first photo and memorize all of the elements. The teens then view the second photo with the missing elements to make a written list of the items omitted from the second image. Players then compare the two photographs and count the number of correctly identified omissions to determine a winner.
2. Memory Match
The memory match contest uses a duplicate pair of photos, matching images from magazines glued on cards or a pack of ordinary playing cards. This game challenges teens to concentrate on a desktop with the scrambled paired images positioned in random rows. Teens must remember the correct locations of the like images to make matched pairs. The game requires first exposing all of the items for two minutes and then turning the cards over to hide the images. Teens take turns selecting two cards as possible matches and remove the matched pairs as the game continues. Mismatches mean players return the images to the table and hide the photo or face of the card for the next player to try for a match.
3. Quick View
The quick view game fills a tray with related objects and uses a cloth cover to hide the items. The game requires players to uncover the tray for a minute and then write down the items displayed on the tray after recovering the items. The contest begins with 10 small objects and gradually increases the number of items each round of play until the tray is full. Select items of different sizes and textures to add interest to the game. Ask the teenager to compete against family members or friends to add excitement to the contest. The person correctly recalling the most items wins this game.
4. Photo Puzzles
Photo enlargements of teens, friends or family backed with cardboard and cut into puzzle pieces help teenagers learn to concentrate on important details. This game requires teens to cut a large photograph into puzzle pieces of irregular shapes and then reassemble the photo using the pieces. The teenager must focus on the details of the individual cuts and the overall photo image to complete the puzzle. Once the teen completes the puzzle and remembers the basic shapes of the pieces, add a timer to the game to encourage quickly focusing on the shapes and configuration to beat earlier completion times.
- University of Washington: Neuroscience For Kids
- American Psychological Association: Sleep Deprivation May Be Undermining Teen Health
- PBS Online: The Emotional Life -- What's a Struggling Teen?
- Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publications: The Sleep Teenager
- Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publications: 7 Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp at Any Age
- Victoria State Government Better Health Channel: Eating Tips for Teenagers
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images