After using the idea of an ‘attention bucket’, I looked further into the Attention Autism approach and found this inspiring video of a talk by the founder, Gina Davies.

The Attention Autism approach focuses on developing attention and listening skills and giving the children “an irresistible invitation to learn”.

‘Attention Bucket’

An ‘attention bucket’ is a bucket full of motivating and exciting toys and gadgets which will be of high interest to the children. Gina suggests that the adult in front of the children with the attention bucket must be the most interesting thing in the room so everything else must be out of sight. I am currently thinking of new toys and gadgets to put into my attention bucket but this will depend on my new class. At the moment I have wind up moving toys, light up toys, a spinning top, toys that make noises and toys with balloons (e.g. balloon cars). Here are some of the items in my bucket:

The adult with the attention bucket demonstrates one toy at a time in front of the children, for example, winding up a toy snake and then watching the snake move. The reward must be intrinsic to the activity – the enjoyment of watching the snake.  

If a child gets up out of their seat, they are gently and non verbally guided back. This is to encourage attention and listening skills. Gina suggests using 3 toys in each short session. 

With my last class I usually had an attention bucket session once every morning and once every afternoon. Attention bucket activities are also good to use to refocus the group.

Here are some of my favourite Attention Bucket resources

I have written more about the Attention Autism approach in the post: Attention Autism stage 1: attention bucket video and comments from creator Gina Davies

There is a lot of great information on Gina Davies website: Attention Autism

Please feel free to share your resource ideas for the ‘attention bucket’ in the comments below!

Steph Reed

Hi I’m Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher and Consultant. Following 10 years of teaching many incredible autistic young people with complex needs, I developed and led a School Autism Outreach Service, and have also been part of a senior leadership team as SENCo and Inclusion Leader. I now provide outreach, training and consultancy with practical support to schools, services and families using personalised, child-centered and evidence-based approaches. I also have personal experience of learning ‘differently’ and with success! I am here to support you in feeling confident and skilled in meeting diverse needs and ensuring children are reaching their potential.


Amelia · November 4, 2014 at 1:47 am

I have been taught that if you are not interesting as a teacher, you are not going to grab your students attention. After watching this video, it was even more evident to me that you as a teacher must be both engaging and interesting….one more thing on the to do list! I found the speaker in this video to be very knowledgeable on the topic of keeping your students engaged. I completely agree that when you aren’t interesting students are going to be totally distracted and not involved in the lesson. I love the idea of the attention bucket and the idea of using it at least 2 times a day. but, as it was stated, the reward must be intrinsic for the student to get anything out of it.

learning toys for toddlers · June 8, 2018 at 7:14 am

Awesome post ! Great tips provide on educational toys list. Thanks some help for sharing this! I love finding toys that are educational as well as fun!

Yanci · May 20, 2020 at 9:22 pm

Where did you purchase your bucket?

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