Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition marked with difficulty concentrating, restlessness, impulsivity, and trouble following directions. These qualities can make it hard for your child to participate in certain activities, both at home and school. However, that doesn’t mean your child with ADHD can’t get involved in fun activities such as sports.
However, home-based activities that work best for your child will depend on the type of ADHD and primary symptoms the kid has. Generally, there are three types of ADHD:
- Primarily hyperactive/impulsive
- Primarily inattentive
- A combination of both
A majorly inattentive child might find it too loud and overwhelming to withstand team sports chaos. On the flip side, a child with a hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD may find too much to handle activities that involve a lot of waiting around, such as T-ball or softball.
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Best Activities for Children with ADHD
It’s important to consider activities that won’t set up your child for failure or loss of progress. Children with ADHD also require adults’ supervision, whether it’s parents, guardians, or teachers, as they engage in various activities. Left unsupervised, they are likely to get off track. Depending on the mix of kids they play with, ADHD kids can also get into a few more scuffles and arguments than other kids.
Overall, the best after-school activities for children with ADHD are things that:
- They enjoy engaging in or have an interest in
- Are well-supervised
- Have some physical activity or outdoor components
- Have a ratio of at least one adult to five children utmost
Whether your child’s passion is soccer, dance, martial arts, or art, psychologists advise selecting an after-school activity that gets them engaged in a structured setting.
There are several helpful activities for children with ADHD, but some of the more common options include:
1. Fast-Paced or Timed Card Games
Children with trouble concentrating often do very well with fast-paced card games that have simple rules. We’re talking about games like War, UNO®, and Egyptian War require a lot of focus on simple visuals. They also involve many rapid rewards for winning short rounds, making them perfect for kids with low attention spans.
2. Martial Arts & Yoga
Yoga and martial arts are calming activities for an ADHD child at home. These activities rank highly across the board, with many parents recommending them for kids with ADHD and ADD. They are classified as psychomotor activities, making them perfect for kids with a sensory processing disorder.
Such types of ADHD games teach kids mental focus, social skills, and self-discipline while developing gross motor skills. Martial-arts training particularly emphasizes self-control, and it’s very structured. It also allows the child to gain physical exercise, which is beneficial for kids with ADHD.
Scouting offers numerous benefits to children with ADHD, just the way all other children do by providing education and fun. But, be wary of the lack of structure in some scouting events since they may be a problem for kids with ADHD.
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4. Board Games Involving Exercise
Board Games involving only 2-3 people are great indoor activities for ADHD children. However, the games should incorporate physical exercise and offer rewards for recurring positive reinforcement. They are the best kind of games to use during family fun nights for kids who find it hard to sit still. Twister®, for example, can teach your kid to balance and focus while twisting into complex positions until all participants fall over with laughter!
5. Timed Creativity Exercises
Studies have shown that kids with ADHD and ADD can just be as creative as regular kids. More often, their biggest distraction is the inventive ideas in their minds. Creating an avenue for creativity can be a perfect activity to do together. Great examples of creative activities are creating nature portraits with leaves and making single-line sketches with pencil and paper. Be sure to set the timer to about 10 minutes. Your ADHD child will strive to develop something creative within a short period and achieve fulfilling results without lifting their head.
6. Improvisation and Play Acting
Improvisational acting is all about coming up with and acting out random spontaneous stories. It is fantastic for improving neuroplasticity in kids with attention issues. Your child can practice living in the moment and handling various emotions that come with the fun and failures of improvisation plays. Mental health experts believe that improvisation comedy can help children of all ages develop self-esteem, social skills, and concentration.
One simple improvisation exercise known as Mirroring involves working in pairs. Two participants sit face to face with each other, with one actor mimicking everything the other is doing. It could be anything like facial expressions, making animal noises, scratching the head, and much more. Your imagination is your only limit, and you can rest assured of having a good laugh throughout the exercise.
7. Team Sports
Team sports are effective in building social skills and providing physical activity. However, it’s a good idea to pick sports like basketball or soccer with a consistent activity level instead of baseball, which may leave participants with too much downtime.
8. Art or Music Classes
Art activities for ADHD students are great for children with a specific interest. However, they don’t often go well with ADHD kids who have already spent all day sitting and striving to pay attention at school. Art may be much better than music since it allows more freedom to be creative, whilst music requires rehearsing and going over certain things repeatedly.
Why Certain Activities Are Not Easy for Kids with ADHD?
Just 15 minutes of undivided attention can make a huge difference in a child’s development trajectory with ADHD. Unfortunately, even the simplest activities can overwhelm a kid with ADHD or trigger sensitivity. Some games have just too many distractions for a kid with concentration issues to enjoy.
When a child has ADD or ADHD, they’re grappling with a Sensory Processing Disorder. As a result, they find it hard to connect daily sensory information with the right motor skills. This makes the child feel overwhelmed, anxious, or experiencing ‘meltdowns.’ The goal of home-based activities should be to encourage optimal development of your kid’s sensory-motor skills. The best activities for kids with ADHD are those that:
- Build confidence and success
- Strengthen the techniques learned in behavioral therapy
- Burn physical energy
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Children with ADHD Must Get Outside
Many studies suggest that the more “green” a child with ADHD encounters in daily activities, the better they develop and improve concentration. In fact, many children with ADHD show a reduction in ADHD symptoms after engaging in outdoor activities.
Always spend quality time with your child in green environments whenever possible — such as gardens, parks, backyards, and farms — to improve ADHD symptoms. Other outdoor activities that a child with ADHD can participate in include:
- Walking for at least 20 minutes
- Gardening or other yard work
- Hiking or backpacking
- Outdoor sports
- Working with animals
Although going green can be a challenge in a metropolis, your child can benefit enormously by taking the greenest route to and from school. They may also head to a park or after-school facility with a lot of grass or trees for play. Regardless of the activities you choose, you should have a plan to include homework completion. The best bet is to have a schedule that allows for a brief break for snacks and relaxation, followed by time for homework and then chosen outdoor activities.
Cut Screen Time for Children with ADHD
Allowing a child with ADHD to spend several hours in front of the TV can be counterproductive. Although it can be tempting just to let your kid chill and watch TV, play video games, or surf online, resist by all means. Several screen times have been linked to heightened symptoms of ADHD. A recent survey revealed that ADHD children who spent one hour or more playing video games exhibited more ADHD symptoms throughout the day as compared to those who did not.
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Ultimately, you understand your child best, and your child similarly knows what activities interest them. Finding the best after-school activity that will engage your ADHD kid is a welcome challenge. Just ensure that the activity is structured and well supervised to reap maximum benefits and enjoyment.
At Mango Clinic, we offer quality ADD & ADHD treatments that are effective and convenient, thanks to our telehealth platform. Our experienced doctors take a conservative approach with the diagnosis of ADD & ADHD symptoms. We always consider your lifestyle when addressing symptoms. Contact us today or click the banner below to schedule a consultation and get the proper treatment for your child!