Fun Activities for Kids with ADHD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), approximately 5% of American children, ages 3 to 7, are diagnosed with ADHD.
Do you suspect that your kid has ADHD? And, are you looking for ways to reduce his or her symptoms, and improve his or her attention, focus, and concentration? If so, you have hit the ADHD treatment lottery because this article will teach you fun activities that will entertain and enlighten your ADHD kid. So, what exactly is ADHD? Well, ADHD is the abbreviation for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it is a fairy common, chronic neurological-behavioral condition that is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It typically arises during childhood, but it can also surface during adolescence or adulthood. Note: When it presents during childhood, it typically persists well into adulthood.
Although the cause of this condition varies from person-to-person, biological (genetics and hormones) and environmental factors appear to play a role in its development and progression. Truth-be-told, kids with ADHD have specialized needs when it comes to activities. More specifically, these activities should accommodate high energy levels, and short attention spans. When selecting a fun activity for your kid with ADHD, choose one that is both hands-on and structured. Your kid will also most likely thrive from an entertaining activity that comes with individualized instructions. So, are you ready to learn fun activities for ADHD kids? If so, keep reading! Listed below are fun activities for kids with ADHD:
Once Upon a Time
Kids, especially young kids, love to fantasize and play “pretend” games. If your kid has ADHD it is especially important that he or she use his or her energy and creativity when playing games. Why? Well, because it will hold his or her attention, and improve his or her concentration and focus. If possible, enhance the “pretend play” by adding dolls, toy animals, miniature cars, and action figures to the games or scenarios. Encourage your kid to “think outside of the box,” and imagine different scenarios. One game that you may want to try with your kid is “One Upon a Time.”
This game inspires your kid to daydream, visualize, invent, and imagine. It also helps your kid remember things and pay attention. So, every morning, afternoon, and/or evening, sit down with your kid and create a scenario (a variety of actions). Then, ask him or her to “act” what he or she created. Make sure the scenarios or games are simple and child-friendly. For instance, if your kid is into Marvel superheroes, create a scenario, with your kid’s assistance, of course, that involves Iron Man, Spider Man, The Avengers, Captain America, Wolverine, X-Men, etc.
Ask your kid to pretend that he or she is one of the characters. Next ask him or her to “act” out a scenario involving his or her character. And, if possible, join in on the “pretend play” be taking the role of a “sidekick,” assistant, villain, or accomplice. Your participation will help improve your kid’s social skills and ability to interact with others. Note: Kids with ADHD often have poor social skills, and a hard time developing and maintaining healthy relationships. In reference to the example listed above, if your kid is a Marvel superheroes fan, allow him or her to take the role of the superhero, while you assume the role of the villain.
Ask your kid questions to stimulate his or her imagination. For instance, “What happens next?” “Why did you do that?” This will not only keep your kid’s attention, it will also keep the scenario moving forward. If your kid starts to lose interest, try redirecting him or her back to the story be adding a plot twist. Note: Kids with ADHD have shorter attention spans, so you may want to break the “pretend play” down into 10 to 15 minutes segments. As your kid’s symptoms ease, try gradually lengthening the time to 15 to 30 minutes.
Into The Wild
Another fun activity you can do with your ADHD kid is “Into the Wild.” First, you will want to limit your kid’s time on the internet, especially if he or she is a preteen or teen. Allow him or her internet access for only 30 minutes to 1 hour a day, and encourage him or her to spend time outdoors – playing, thinking, helping out with yard work, waking the dog, and/or completing homework assignments (if the child is older). Note: Research suggests that ADHD symptoms improve when the individual spends time outdoors. Exercise can also ease ADHD symptoms in some people. So, instead of taking your rambunctious kid to the gym to burn off excess energy, why not take him or her to the park?
Throw a Frisbee with your kid, encourage him or her to play on the playground equipment, or shoot a few hoops together. The key to stimulating your kid’s interest and keeping him or her entertained is to make it fun, exciting, and/or challenging. In other words, get your kid up and moving (i.e. jumping, doing cartwheels, running and/or playing childhood games with friends). If your child is a preteen or teen, take him or her on “adventures” like: camping trips and hikes. Furthermore, create a challenging “treasure hunt” in a park, or during your camping trip.
“What Am I?”
Another cool activity to do with your ADHD kid is “What am I?” This game is an interactive group activity that sparks your kid’s creativity, keeps his or her attention, and encourages peer interactions. Begin this game by gathering up a group of kids. Write down various animals on individual sheets of paper. Place the sheets in a bag or hat, and ask each kid to pull one out. Instruct the kids to keep what is written on their sheets a secret, and separate the kids into two groups (i.e. teams). Ask each kid to “act” out what is written on his or her paper, and instruct the other kids from the presenter’s group to guess what the presenter is “acting” out.
Give the group 60 seconds to guess. If no one in the group can guess the animal, then the other group will get a chance to answer the question. The group that figures out the animal gets the point. If no one gets the animal, then tell the kids what the animal is, and move on to the next kid. Note: Allow the kids to discuss the possible choices amongst themselves (within their groups). The game should be played similar to “Family Feud.” “Who Am I?” will not only keep your kid entertained, it will also “calm” his or her ADHD symptoms.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Batt, J. (2015). Great activities for kids with ADHD. Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/gallery/activities-for-kids-with-adhd
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Data and statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/basics/definition/CON-20023647
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