It’s ADHD Awareness Month – so we thought we’d come up with some great activities and games for kids with ADHD.
What works best depends on what kind of ADHD the child has – primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination.
Experts are agreed that physical activity is very beneficial to kids with ADHD. They recommend three or four sessions or aerobic activity each week.
And games that help them with emotional intelligence and ordering the world are also a great help.
Some team games for kids with ADHD that are inattentive could be no-go because they can be chaotic and over-stimulating. Basketball and football could be just too much for them – but T-ball or cricket might be just right because they are more structured.
Meanwhile kids who are hyperactive could find T-ball just doesn’t hold their attention.
Just bear in mind that it’s best not to put an ADHD child into potentially chaotic situations if they are due a dose of their medication. Timing can be everything.
The same problem affects board games and imaginative play but – to mark ADHD Awareness Month – we’ve put together some hints and tips that might help.
Martial arts ticks a lot of boxes. It has structure that helps children with ADHD, and it develops self-control. But it’s also physically active – not just in the sense that children learn moves, but in developing flexibility and all-round fitness.
Another way to bring that mix of structure and exercise is to get them involved in Scouting or Guiding. Due to the increase in diagnoses of ADHD, awareness has grown and community groups are much more able and ready to work with children with the condition.
Leaders are trained in controlling groups of children, activities are varied and fast-changing, and a lot of them are outdoor and active. There’s also an element of teamwork, which could be challenging initially but gives the child an opportunity to improve communication and dispute resolution.
Outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing or working with animals also do any child good. But there is evidence that spending time outdoors reduces ADHD symptoms. Even getting kids out to help in the garden or just reading a book on the back lawn can have a positive impact.
Fantasy play is particularly important for young children as it helps them work out how the world works. It allows them to put themselves through situations, emotions and roles and teaches them social skills and that actions have consequences.
Of all the activities for children with ADHD, this is one of the most useful. So get down on the floor and join them on a trip into their own head. Find the toys they like to play with and join their story, opening with: “Once upon a time …”
Prompt them with ideas as the game develops. You might have to put a time limit on this activity as attention can wander. But don’t cut things short – prepare the ground by including a build-up to the end of the game in the game, something like: “It’s almost time for Ted to go to bed.”
Game for it
Simple board games can help your child learn manners, skills and some of the rules of life. These are activities for children with ADHD that can have a real impact on their lives.
Draughts, for example instills the idea that you have to take turns, as well as planning ahead. And they learn that their actions have consequences – one wrong move with one draught and … jump, jump, jump ... Mum wins!
Equally, Snakes and Ladders will teach them to expect the unexpected and how to get over disappointments quickly – as well as being so simple to play.
Treat games for kids with ADHD as a fun activity as well as a learning activity.