7 Games & Activities for Kids with ADHD

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Kids with ADHD have only that much patience, attention, and ways to interact with others. They need, like any other kid, help in developing social skills, improving crucial cognitive skills as well as fine-tune motor skills. 

If your kid has ADHD, the best way to learn, upgrade and develop new and existing skills is through playtime. There are tons of activities and games that you can introduce to your little one’s daily routine and enhance the quality of their playtime while teaching them. If you need help with that or inspiration here’s a list of cool activities and games that will help your little one in development.

7 Activities for Kids With ADHD

Because they can’t help but behave erratically, wanting to play with one toy only to drop it after mere seconds and pick the next one, you can help them use that energy and put it to good use with different activities. There’s a bunch of activities for kids with ADHD and they all help one way or another. What you need to do is pick the one that suits them and will benefit them the most.

Sculpting

Art does wonders for a child with a limited attention span as they really need to focus to get things done and get that rewarding feeling of accomplishment. That’s playing with sculpting ADHD toys are the right way to go in terms of activities for kids with ADHD. You can use modeling clay or kinetic sand and assign a task for sculpting for each day. The material itself is soft to touch and the entire process of sculpting is soothing for the mind. They’ll be able to express their ideas, practice their craft and have lots of fun with this activity. As each day passes, you’ll notice that they are indeed focusing their energy in their projects, that they are becoming more organized and that their behavior seems less erratic. 

Drawing

Another way to use art as a stress reliever is to draw whatever comes to mind. Your child doesn’t have to be talented, as the goal here is to express emotion and transfer it to a piece of paper using colors. So get a variety of crayons, try watercolor or anything else that your child feels like using to express his thoughts and ideas. Try to encourage your child and help by implementing shapes and new colors to his drawings. Practice makes perfect, so not only that he’ll get better at drawing but he’ll also become more organized. Start with simple shapes and objects that are already familiar to your little one. Once he masters simple shapes, try painting a landscape or anything else that’s soothing for the mind. 

Scribbling 

Scribbling and doodling doesn’t have to be meaningless. You can use this activity to help your child practice motor skills. For example, you can assign one piece of paper for one hand and the other for his other hand. This way if he’s left-handed he’ll become more proficient at using his right hand or vice versa. You can let your little one do this exercise by drawing the same objects/shapes with different hands or let him decide what do doodle and scribble with each hand. The point is that he uses both hands and finish the scribble within the given time limit or at the tempo he chooses. 

Coloring Book

You can also help your child become more patient and increase their attention span is with coloring books. The best thing about them is that there’s no wrong way of coloring shapes and characters in these books. As long as they color within lines. Also, you can pick any theme that they like whether it’s Star Wars, something from Disney movies or anything else. These books are wonderfully illustrated and they’ll definitely love coloring every page. And the result is so rewarding as seeing a finished coloring book will act as a boost for them to keep on the good work.

Swimming

There’s nothing more relaxing and beneficial for the development of young body than swimming. So if you’re wondering what activity will help your little one with their short attention span, lack of organization and patience, swimming is one of the best choices you’ll make. Start with swimming lessons and once they master all the techniques and feel completely natural in the water you can sign them up for a water-related sport like water polo or anything of the sort. They’ll have a chance to socialize, get an athletic body and have lots of fun while doing it. The best thing about water sports is that they won’t sweat and that their muscles are being massaged as they work out. It takes a lot of energy so be sure to bring snacks and fruits. 

Martial Arts

Did you know that you can try to help your child combat ADHD is with martial arts? They already have excess energy so it’s only logical that you sign them up for activity and sport that allows them to spend that energy and learn self-defense but how to train their mind and body. You can go for discipline or sport depending on what you think will suit them best. Anything from Jujutsu, Aikido, Karate, to Kung fu, Hapkido, Taekwondo will do fine. Judo or Aikido is a great starting spot for the little ones because it teaches them discipline, how to use the opponent’s energy to your advantage and besides that it’s great for socializing and meeting new friends. Also, it’s quite harmless and non-aggressive as they practice on mattresses within a dojo.  They’ll learn how to meditate, reflect on their actions and ultimately become a better person. 

Musical Instrument

If your child didn’t have the privilege to do so before, now’s the time for them to pick a musical instrument and learn how to play it. You don’t have to go straight up for the actual instrument, instead, you can pick an educational musical toy that resembles the real thing. Depending on their age you can pick whichever option. Getting the real thing will help them even more in becoming more organized, dedicated, as well as allow them to be responsible for their personal belongings. Drums are always a great choice for kids with excess energy as they can relieve stress and make music at the same time. The important thing here is that they’ll focus on mastering the instrument and by doing so they’ll learn how to fit in, build confidence, improve social skills, etc.

Games for Kids With ADHD

There also a variety of games for kids with ADHD that you can choose from, all of which are highly beneficial for their growth and development of essential skills. They are fun and engaging, but most importantly will help them focus and increase their attention span. It’s impossible to review them all, so instead here’s a list of our games that we recommend. There are at least a couple of them that will get your interest or inspire you to create your own version. 

Scavenger Hunt

This one is a simple game yet extremely fun and exciting for both of you. Next to that, it’s extremely beneficial for your little one in terms of increasing their attention span and improving focus. A scavenger hunt is a game that will keep your child entertained for hours and will always cheer him up. The goal is to hide an object in his room so that your child can find it. You can hide it in plain sight or underneath a blanket or pile of toys. As he gets more proficient at finding the hidden item you can add more stuff in the room to make the game a bit more complex. This will also help him practice his focus and determination. 

The Memory Game

There a variety of models but the concept is the same in all these games. It’s great for building focus and improving logic and memory. You can get a set featuring their favorite Disney characters, cartoon, or movie. It will motivate them, even more, to get the cards right. The goal is to pick two identical cards pair by pair. To start, place the cards on the board or any flat surface so that the symbols are facing up. Give your child a moment to memorize them and then start flipping them. They can make a mistake only a couple of times, but you can give them extra credits if you choose to. As they pick identical pairs two by two, they’ll improve their memory and boost their confidence. The game is pretty rewarding and is great for parties.

Battleship

Another great game for practicing memory, strategy, and determination. Everyone knows this one and if you haven’t played it with your little one, now’s the time. You can play it wherever you or they want. The rules are simple- hit as many ships as you can and bring the opponent’s fleet down. After a few rounds, they’ll get the idea of how the game is played and start to plan ahead, placing their boats on more strategic positions. The game is a classic and will never get old. Its fun and engaging and allows your child to create a mental map of your fleet. This immersive play allows them to focus. They’ll also become more patient and think through their actions before they make them. 

Twister

There isn’t a better way to spend a weekend with family than with a good old game of twister. And if your little one didn’t play it before, now’s their chance. A great thing about thing game is that it pins them in one spot. So instead of watching them jump from one side of the room to another this way, you’ll actually enjoy observing how they handle staying put. The goal of the game is to touch circles that are assigned by the game master. As things get complicated and space and movement become limited, one player is bound to fail and touch the ground. By playing this particular game your child will work on their social skills, competitive spirit, as well as on their motor function and hand-to-eye coordination. 

Dance Session

Dancing is a great way to recreate, boost confidence and socialize. That’s why your child should learn how to dance or at least jiggle when the music starts. If they’re shy or don’t like dancing try to make it fun and start with simple moves. Play their favorite songs and tunes and they will get the urge to move their limbs. What’s important is to encourage them and help them develop new moves or improve existing ones. Try not to push them too much as complex dance moves can be hard to perform. They will get irritated if you try to teach them all the moves at once. So pick a time of the day and introduce these dancing sessions to help them relax and enjoy. Remind them that there aren’t any wrong moves and that they should move the way the feel. And if they need correction, be gentle when suggesting different moves. 

Kids with ADHD need time to adjust and fit in, and you can help them do just that with these games and activities. Whether they need a boost in confidence, need to build tolerance or even focus, by encouraging them to play games you’ll definitely push them in the right direction. As every child is different, their ADHD manifests differently. So plan your approach, pick activities and games that will suit them and benefit the most and you’ll surely see results. It will not happen overnight, but gradually after a period, you will notice that they’ve become more social, that they don’t have difficulties performing one task for an extended period of time and that they express ideas, thoughts, and emotions almost effortlessly. If you do notice this, just keep on the good work encourage them to do the same.

Author: Mary Lynn Holden
Author: Mary Lynn Holden

Proud mom and stepmom to an adorable bunch of kids aged 7 and up. Deeply appreciates three things in life: the help of older siblings in the house, texts on parenting, and strong coffee. Shares her stories and experiences in order to help others navigate the unpredictable waters of parenting.

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