Teaching Kids to Follow Directions

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Wouldn’t it be great if your children followed directions the first time? Following directions is a critical life skill children will need to be successful during childhood, adolescence, and adult years. Whether directions are given to help a child complete a task or to keep them safe, it's important that they are able to focus their attention and follow through. Just like any other skill, there are methods you can practice with your child to help them learn to follow directions.

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Motivating a Child to Follow Directions
Following Directions Listening Activity

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Social Story: Following Directions


Jack Hartmann Says | Following Directions Song for Kids | Brain Breaks | Jack Hartmann
STOP Follow Directions Song for Children, Kids and Toddlers | Patty Shukla
Listen And Move
Get Yo Body Movin - Koo Koo Kanga Roo | GoNoodle


Simon Says

Playing Simon Says is a great way for students to practice following directions! You can play the role of 'Simon' or pick a student to play this part. Students will have to follow the directions called out by 'Simon,' but only if the direction is preceded with 'Simon says'. Students who do not follow these instructions will be out of the game, which is played until the last student remaining is designated the winner.

Walk and Stop

You can use music to create an upbeat and exciting environment for young students who are just learning how to follow directions. Ask children to walk while the music is on and stop once the music stops. You can also change up the directions to make it more interesting for older students by asking them to run, jump, skip or dance while the music is playing.

Color by Numbers

Coloring by numbers is a quick and easy activity that reinforces following directions. Provide students with worksheets showing a picture that is sectioned off. Each section will be labeled with a number. Students will follow the directions you provide to properly color the picture. For example, the directions might say 'Color all the 2's red'. Free color by numbers worksheets can be found with a quick internet search or by copying a coloring book page after adding numbers of your own.

Hunting for Treasure

Students love a treasure hunt! Help them learn to follow directions by splitting students into teams or small groups and giving them each a set of clues. Students follow one clue to the next until the treasure is found at the end of the game. The treasure will only be found by those who are following directions properly and can be anything you desire, such as a special pencils, stickers or books.

Building Blocks

Begin this activity by showing students a pre-built structure made from blocks. Divide the students into pairs and provide them with a list of clearly written directions that tells them how to recreate the structure using blocks of their own. You can instruct students to work together to follow the instructions or have one student read them while the other assembles the blocks.