How To Engage Children With Your Presentations?

“Pay attention!” “Concentrate!” “You can take a break after just two more pages.” Nearly every parent or teacher has tried pleading to engage children with their presentations. After all, children have limited attention spans.

Grabbing children’s attention and keeping them engaged with you might seem like a daunting task. However, there are fascinating ways in which you can make them glued to your presentation. From adding visual aids, interesting graphics and stories to quizzes, polls, games, and humor, it is possible to hook the focus of children and make teaching and learning a worthwhile experience for them.

Why Can’t You Treat Children Like They Are Mini Adults?

Before addressing how to engage children with your presentations, it is essential to understand why children can’t be presented in the same way as adults.

One of the reasons children require special needs and aids to keep themselves present at the moment is their tendency to get easily distracted.

They may notice something more interesting in their surroundings and shift their attention in a flash. And before you know it, they will start gazing away, fidgeting, and flopping on the floor.

To be cautious about these situations, you can begin by inquiring about their teacher’s (or mentor’s) expectations for your presentation. Determine how much they presently understand the topic and how lengthy you should make your presentation.

This will allow them to be familiar with the particular group, eliminating a lot of the guesswork. Pay heed to their suggestions and incorporate them into your presentation.

The Art Of Starting Off On The Right Foot

The success of your presentation will be determined by how well you start with it. Add a 60-second rule to your presentation game. Make the first 60 seconds the most eye-catching you can. The following strategies can help you gain perspective.

1. Connect With The Children

Well, how do you connect with these young minds? For starters, empathize with the children. Put yourself in their (little) shoes. Try to understand their perspective, and then decide what the most essential takeaway from your conversation will be.

Don’t try to fit in with them; this rarely works with kids. Instead, imagine yourself as the kind of grownup they’d like to be.

Avoid being too flawless or scripted; they will quickly become bored or suspicious if you do. Tell them what you did, felt, or discovered, rather than explaining abstract concepts.

Make your presentation as relevant as possible by tying it to a recent topic they learned about.

Furthermore, you can start making your topic interesting to them by offering examples of things they can relate to in your introduction. Quickly get to the point, then maintain the pace.

2. Arouse Curiosity And Inquisitiveness

Children in general are curious little angels. The presenter can take the advantage of this characteristic and progressively arouse curiosity in them at the start.

This can be done by a series of statements to draw them into your presentation or simply by asking a set of questions. Even better, asking rhetorical questions. 

For example, if you wish to teach them a lesson about nature and animals, you can ask them questions like:

  • Do you have any pet animals at home?
  • Which is your favourite animal?
  • What do animals do for us?
  • Do you like playing in the parks among trees?
  • How do trees help us?

3. Use Interesting Materials And Props

Children are as fond of visual aids as anyone can be. Using objects, props, and materials during your presentations can make children even more interested in your topic, which would develop their attention.

It is also important that you make sure the prop is relevant to the topic of your presentation.

For example, if your topic is Human Anatomy, you can show them a skeleton.

A classic example of this strategy was demonstrated by Bill Gates in his Ted Talk in California. He brought a box full of mosquitoes to his talk. Now, why would someone do that?

Well, the topic of his talk was the dangers of Malaria. Interesting, isn’t it?

The audience was surprised and intrigued at the same time when they heard the topic and were able to comprehend why he brought the box filled with mosquitoes.

Just as this example illustrates, this technique has a chance of working well with children too.

To get more ideas on how to have a great start to your presentation, you can refer to our article on 50 Speech Opening Lines (And How to Create Your Own).

Making The Presentation Suitable For Children

1. Add Intriguing Visual Aids

Small kids are concrete thinkers, which implies they have a hard time comprehending anything they can’t see. You’ll need more images if your audience is younger.

Images, objects, sketches, animations, and films will all aid in communicating your point. If you’re giving your presentation in person, you can also take advantage of your own body language and movement.

Be a little more colorful than professional when giving a slide presentation.

Use jokes and well-known cartoon characters, and feel free to animate your slides to add to the presentation’s enthusiasm.

Remember to not overlook things like backgrounds, fonts, and colors. These design components can transform an uninteresting presentation into something that draws children’s attention and interests them in a topic.

Downloading templates from sites like slidesgo might uplift your presentation designs and make them visually appealing.

Here are a few templates that can be suitable for children and grab their attention.

2. Add Games, Quizzes, and Polls

What student, regardless of age, does not enjoy a nice game, challenge, or competition?

Including a mini-game in a presentation breaks up the monotony of a lecture and encourages the young learners to consider the lessons critically to help their team win.

Basic instructional games come in a variety of variations and adaptations. Pictionary, Jeopardy, Charades, Hangman,  and Bingo are examples of games that teachers can modify to their requirements.

A teacher can rapidly launch an interactive digital game by incorporating links to tools like ClassCraft or Kahoot within the presentation.

These apps assist teachers in customizing their own games by allowing them to add their own questions, information, and materials for individuals, small groups, or the entire class to participate in.

Additionally, since virtual online learning is on the rise, teachers can use various games that can be suitable for online learning as well.

Some examples of games could include:

1. Identify the sound: In this game, you can simply play a sound or audio on your screen that might be related to your topic and ask the children to identify those sounds.

For example, if you are teaching kids about animals, you can play the sound of a dog or cat and ask them to identify which animal is it.

2. Recognition and memory game: Here, you can display a picture on your screen and ask the learners to carefully look at them.

After 15-20 seconds, remove the picture from the screen and ask the kids if they remember or recall anything from the picture. You can also ask them related questions to the particular image that was shown.

3. Correct me if I am wrong: This can be an interesting game that will also help you to ensure if your kids are able to grasp what they are being taught.

Here you can state some sentences that might be true or false. For example:

  • The color of Mango is yellow.
  • These are five fingers (showing them your fingers).
  • Lion is the king of the jungle.

The above statements may be true or false. You can ask the kids to answer whether the statements given are true or false and ask them to correct you accordingly.

4. Complete the word: You can display a word on the screen with missing letters and ask them to identify and complete the whole word.

For example, if you wish to display the word ‘orange’, you can show the following sequence:

O_A_G_

There are many more games that you can come up with, which are further elaborated in the video below.

Additionally, teachers can come up with quiz questions on the spot using technological aids such as an interactive digital whiteboard on applications such as Educreations, Google Jamboards, Drawp For School, etc.

This digital quiz can be distributed to all students wirelessly, and the results can be shared with all participants for discussion in seconds.

A basic quiz’s spontaneity, unpredictability, and class involvement can be considerably increased as a result of this.

Furthermore, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to quizzes.

Even simple questions with restricted replies, such as polls, are used to reach a consensus. This could be done through a show of hands, ballots, or forming groups of learners.

To make this suitable in the world of online learning, various classroom management software, such as Google Classroom, includes built-in polling, survey, and quiz tools, as well as assignments, communication, and other educational functions.

The collecting and assessment of your work begin immediately after you submit it.

Here is a video that can help you with creating engaging quiz lessons with your kids.

Similarly, not only games and quizzes but even non-linear presentation software, such as Prezi, allows presenters to create presentations using easy-to-customize templates.

They provide a zoomable canvas (rather than slides) to allow people to share information, stories and motivate audiences to act.

The canvas depicts point relationships and suggests a flow, but not a specific direction to follow.

Here are a few templates from Prezi that can lighten up the monotony of a linear presentation.

3. Add a Good Amount Of Humor and Delight

Humor can be a beneficial technique to keep kids interested in what they’re studying. Furthermore, it reduces stress, making learning easier and more pleasurable for both teachers and students!

You can inject some laughter into your presentation by using a comical presentation template design. You could even include a funny character who appears on every slide. You can also incorporate animated GIFs, which can convey a humorous message in a matter of seconds, especially for older primary students.

Just be careful not to go off on a tangent with your humor. Always keep your subject in mind when using comedy and use it sparingly.

We have written an entire article on how you can incorporate humor in your speech. You can check that out on A Guide to Using Humor In Your Presentation to get more ideas and examples.

4. Make Your Presentation Crisp and To-The-Point

Many of the world’s best speeches and presentations, which have been heard and seen by millions, contain a lot of humor.

A great speaker will use natural charm, humor, and beautiful language to convey their arguments and get the audience interested in what they are saying, regardless of the subject.

The typical attention span of 3- to 6-year-olds  is less than 10 minutes; 7- to 12-year-olds have roughly 20 minutes; and 12- to 17-year-olds have a maximum of 40 minutes.

In other words, the younger they are, the less time you will have to persuade them of your point of view. You must get to the point swiftly and move on.

We generally make sure to equally pace our information while presenting to adults, with extended, meaningful pauses and a regulated, moderate pace. This, on the other hand, does not appeal to a young audience.

Slow implies boring to kids, and if they’re bored, you’ve lost them and won’t be able to communicate with them.

Try the one-sentence principle: in the first sentence, state your primary idea.

If you wander or talk too long, kids will get the impression that you don’t know what you’re trying to communicate and will lose all interest in waiting for you to figure it out.

With long, meandering presentations, you’ll quickly lose them, and the rest of the speech will be a battle of endurance for the few courageous listeners.

Famous presenters across history have understood the value of compressing information by employing well-thought-out sentences and short, meaningful phrases.

You will also need a set of structures or standards so that you won’t stray away at any time. This entails logically progressing from one point to the next, arriving at a sound conclusion, and emphasizing the most important facts.

To get a clear picture of how to make your speech clear, and concise, you can have a look at our video that elaborates on tips and strategies you can apply for the same.

5. Use a Language That is Simple and Suitable For Kids

Even though it is preferable to keep things going at a faster pace, this does not imply that you should speak more quickly.

Adults can speak and understand about 150 words per minute, but younger children can only process about 124 words per minute, according to studies.

You’ll have to speak more slowly and carefully as a result of this. Use short, basic sentences using one-syllable words while speaking to younger children.

Request advice from the teacher or leader on how sophisticated their language is or pay attention to how they speak with one another and adjust to fit their complexity.

Keep a close eye on your words and phrases and utilize conversational language rather than formal terminology.


Some instances are as follows:
• Instead of saying, “I like being outdoors” say, “I enjoy jumping in puddles and building campfires.”


• The phrase “1 billion euros” can be translated as “enough money to fill this room from right to left, and from the floor to the ceiling.”


• If “our study concluded with these explanations” is too complicated, consider “We found solutions to our problems.”

6. Encourage Students To Participate In Class

Your kids will not be able to drift off into a daydream if you use interactive activities. When you invite them to participate, they must sit up and pay attention. Encourage students to get up from their chairs and move about the classroom.

Request that they repeat back to your essential phrases.

Encourage them to stand up and act out some of the concepts you’ve presented. In the process, you’ll create a really unique and memorable learning experience! 

Ask help from volunteers to illustrate an action, hold a visual or prop, pass out leaflets, or even turn off the lights.

Getting children up and heading around as part of your presentation, whether it’s a simple show of hands or a game, will help them engage with your message.

Although, keep in mind and make sure that the activity relates to your message, or the kids may become distracted.

7. Make Up A Tale For Them

One of the most effective ways to begin a presentation is with a story. A well-told story will drive listeners to lean in more than anything else. Our brains are designed for storytelling, according to science.

However, the story must be succinct, with just enough detail to make it come alive. It must be genuine and have a “message,” or lesson, that supports your point of view.

8. Run Through A What-if Scenario With Them

A “what if” scenario is a great way to start your presentation. For example, starting a presentation with the topic ‘Benefits of eating healthy’, come up with the question “What if you can stay healthy all your life?”.

This might increase the interest of the children because it encourages them to envision something that lies in the future. It has the potential to increase their interest and learn more about your topic.

Make use of the word “imagine.” This word invites the listeners to visualize something in their minds. It has become a potent word with emotional appeal since John Lennon’s famous song.

9. Make Sure The Slides Are Simple, Interactive, and Funny

It’s tempting to squeeze as much information as possible onto a slide, but too much text might be confusing rather than informative.

Always keep in mind that the majority of learning occurs during a discussion of the issue rather than from reading the words on a slide, so keep the text to a minimum – just enough for students to understand the question or subject – and rely on the dialogue to flesh out crucial ideas.

Presentations are frequently thought of as a visual help. However, because PowerPoints have so much versatility, they may also be an effective interactive tool!

There are various methods to make your slides more interactive, whether it’s through “this or that” questions, a “find the mistake” challenge, or “guess the word” activities.

The example below might help you to create a simple and fun game using PowerPoint.

It is advisable to liven up the slides if you need them to emphasize your point and deliver your information more effectively.

Facts aren’t always black and white, as they say, and your presentation should reflect this. Add some color, make the content stand out, and utilize a fun animation to transition from one slide to the next.

You can also use the presentations to add extra humor to the presentation, both in terms of words and visuals. Within the context of what you’re talking about, a picture that’s utilized to provoke a positive response ought to be entertaining.

You can also add certain videos and audio that explain your concept or add to it. Children are more likely to remember something they watched as a video than something they simply read.

Additionally, sprinkling Q&A sessions between your presentations can also turn out to be quite engaging for the students.

This will not only make them gain attention but will also help you ensure that they are understanding what you are trying to explain.

To help you get an idea of how to create an interactive Q&A session on PowerPoint, you can watch this short video.

10. Make Use Of Your Body Movements

When speaking, don’t be scared to use your arms and hands; it makes you appear more passionate and confident. Moving around and taking up some space can come across as positive for the children.

They will also make more sense to what you are trying to explain when you use your body language and incorporate certain movements.

11. Practice, Practice, and Practice

Standing in front of a mirror and preparing a speech or presentation is a practice as old as mirrors – or, come to think of it, as old as human speech.

This is because you can see yourself and interpret how you will be reflected in front of the actual audience, and in this case, the children.

So, try practicing your presentation beforehand. This will help you be sure of your content and structure, which in turn can be a huge success for your presentation’s goal.

Additionally, recording oneself while preparing your presentation is one of the techniques to rehearse. You can evaluate and watch yourself in this way, identifying areas where you need to improve.

Getting aid from people you know who are good at presentations or have experience with children is even better. You might share your practice video and inquire about their impressions of your presentation.

After all, constructive feedback is always a terrific approach to grow as a person!

You can find out various other impacts of video recording yourself in our article on The Incredible Impact of Video Recording Yourself While Practicing a Speech.

Ideas to make Presentations Creative And Out Of The Box

1. Include An Audio Story

Your presentation doesn’t need to be silent and boring. A visual presentation can be transformed into an experience by adding an audio narrative.

It can either be set up as a self-playing video in which the spectator observes and listens, or it can be initiated by clicking on arrows. The video below can help you to do that.

2. Add the Stop-Motion Technique

The stop-motion technique is time-consuming, but it may make your presentation stand out. Stop-motion can be used in a variety of ways, either with characters doing actions or with items that move around and create a scene.

Stop-motion animation can also be used to make titles that move about. Anything from toys to plants can be used to write the title.

Get a glimpse of how you can create a presentation using this technique below.

3. Make The Presentation Look Like a Comic Book

For many people, comic books serve as a source of inspiration. A comic-style composition’s visual aspect may make your presentation stand out. This approach can be applied in a variety of ways.

Set up the slides as if they were bits from a comic book, with the content in thought bubbles and a pointillist texture for the background.

If you’re going to use characters, make sure they’re appropriate for the theme of your presentation.

A creative comic theme idea for PowerPoint presentation.

4. Add Cinemagraphic Templates

A cinema graph is similar to an elegant GIF. A cinema graph is a photograph with a moving segment that gives it a cinematic appearance.

This type of background can captivate your audience while they listen to your audio story or keep viewers on the slide longer so they can fully comprehend the material presented. Cinemagraphs are accessible for a wide range of themes and topics.

You can watch the video below to learn how to add cinema graphics to your presentations.

5. Use Tree Diagrams

One of the eight thinking maps that helps visualize ideas and concepts is a tree diagram. A tree diagram is used to organize and classify information. This map can aid in the creation of a presentation by ensuring that each slide builds on the previous one.

They may need to be divided into segments so that all of the information may be easily delivered. You can use these to explain concepts that have various sub-divisions.

To create a family tree in PowerPoint, we will go to the “Illustrations” section in the Insert Tab and click on “SmartArt”.

A popup window will appear where you will be asked to select the desired chart type. Scroll down to hereditary and select a chart and click ‘ok’. The graph will be placed on your slide.

6. Use Charming Images To Appeal The Children

Assume you’re making a presentation to kids about moral lessons. Why not add a fun visual element to the slide backgrounds by using adorable illustrations?

Cute creatures, fruits with cheerful faces, illustrated human child characters, and even aliens are all options. A speech bubble might also be included with the charming characters.

Charming cartoon creatures to be added in presentations for kids.

7. Use Fonts That Are Thick And Bold

Huge, hefty letters can be an excellent technique to draw attention to slide headers. You could also make the letters bleed over the edges or have the words go vertically down the side.

The thickest and boldest typefaces are those with the fewest embellishments. Use fonts with strong edges or rounded terminals on the other end of the spectrum. It’ll also help if the title is brief and sweet.

Example of thick and bold font that can be eye-catching for children's presentation.

8. Sprinkle Gifs To Your Slides

GIFs can be amusing, entertaining, and enthralling. They can also serve as a source of information. GIFs can be found on websites such as Giphy, where you can also make your own!

Whether you use a single GIF or a collection of GIFs in your presentation depends on the message you want to convey with your story.

Here is an example of a Gif from Giphy. You can go ahead and add many more of your choice into your presentation.

9. Use Quotations As a Transition Between Slides

Between a slew of educational presentations, quotes can provide a nice break. You can use them to start new parts of the content or to separate topics inside your presentation.

Your quotes must correspond to the topic of your presentation so that the viewer doesn’t become confused.

Example of an inspirational quote that can be used as a transition between slides for kids presentation.

Nailing The Ending and Conclusions

After everything is said and done, you want the students to retain the key themes and continue to think about what you’ve said long after the presentation has ended.

This is why you should let things settle down organically before concluding with a key point, quote, or even a question. Make them ponder by planting a seed in their minds. 

Refocus and summarise. Recap the most important ideas or arguments you’ve discussed. Restate your goal, or question if necessary. Reiterate what you want the audience to remember from your presentation.

Make a sense of completion and closure. Many of the same tools that are recommended for openings can be used here.

You can even utilize the same anecdote, phrase, or remark from the beginning and change it up. Other options include posing a challenge, looking ahead, or just restating your primary conclusion or advice.

Conclusion

Creating an interactive presentation can be the secret to reaching a really engaged classroom for teachers looking for new ways to connect with students. It can be fun to integrate questions and collect and analyze answers using a responsive technology solution and effective PowerPoints.

You can successfully create presentations that are engaging by including tools, images, videos, audio, and various other components. Children can benefit from the new generation of technology and become effective learners and thinkers, while also imbibing wisdom and knowledge.   

Hrideep Barot is the founder and chief writer at Frantically Speaking, a portal to help people learn everything about public speaking. The purpose of franticallyspeaking.com is to showcase the lessons that he has learned (and still learning) from his numerous stage experiences and mentors over all these years.