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Games for improving kids processing speed

Posted at 1:18 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 15:18:16-05

Children with different types of processing issues often struggle with taking tests, reading, remembering facts and details, staying organized and following instructions. Many times children understand the subjects taught in school, but it takes them much longer to process information than their peers.
This is especially difficult for children that are required to take exams that require speed in order to progress to the next level. Tests like the DIBELS, determine how fast a child can read. As a result, children read so fast that they skip words, say the wrong words, and don`t comprehend the details of what they read.

Children with processing speed deficits may show some of the following traits:

• Needs extra time to make decisions
• Has trouble starting homework
• Takes longer to complete homework
• Hates changes in routines
• Avoids reading and multi-step math problems
• Forgets to bring materials home from school
• Does not finish tests within the allotted timeframes

If your child has trouble completing verbal tasks because they can`t process information through their ears or auditory system, parents can create visual charts so they can use their visual processing skills instead. To improve your child`s auditory system, encourage them to take music lessons.

Processing Speed Activities

To exercise your child`s processing speed, here are a few games and activities that will help.

Memory Experiment

This game is fun and exciting for children and can be done multiple times. Use a tray or cookie sheet and place several fun, colorful items on the tray (for example, Legos, spoons, action figures, Christmas ornaments, pencils, toy cars, push pins, whistles, beads, etc.). Have your child look at the objects on the tray for 60 seconds and memorize as many as possible. After 60 seconds has passed, cover the tray and have your child write or verbally tell you all the objects they remember on the tray. As they master this activity, cut down the amount of time they have to memorize the objects (maybe 45 seconds instead of 60). This allows your child to develop faster processing speeds and forces them to remember and process what objects are on the tray before their time is up.

Visual Arrow Game

Tape four arrows to the ground in a circle and have your child stand in the middle of the circle. One arrow to the left, one to the right, one in front and one in back of the child. When your child is ready, call out commands using the arrows (for example, turn right, turn left, turn back, turn left again). You can also call out the commands by color. They must listen and process which direction to turn when the command is given. When they master processing one direction at a time, call out three commands at a time before they begin the exercise. This gives them the opportunity to remember what comes next and what patterns to follow.

Smiley Face Bean Bag Game

This activity helps children visually process colors and numbers. Start with three bean bags in a row (all different colors). Have the child look at the bean bags for 15 seconds and have them close their eyes or turn around. Take one bean bag away and ask them if they remember which bean bag is missing. As they get more proficient, add more bean bags to make it more challenging. You can also take one away and put another in its place or you can move the bean bags around and ask them what order the colors were in before they closed their eyes.


This is a fun card game that was created to help your child`s processing speed. Divide the cards in half, keeping one deck and giving the other deck to a friend. Put two cards down on the table in front of you face up. Pick up three cards in your hand from the deck that is in front of you. Match one of the three cards with the other cards in front of you using number, color or pattern. The goal is to get rid of your entire stack of cards as soon as possible.

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