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Activities for children with ADHD: Reduce your stress and anxiety this summer~

What to do with cooped up, fed up, kids this summer? This can be a significant challenge especially since you may have to parent them while you work — remotely or otherwise. We want to keep our kids engaged and learning, but we also need to keep them occupied. Here are some ideas…


Screens are not all bad…
Many zoos, museums, and aquariums are live-streaming interactive programs for kids. These allow children to not only watch nature, science, and social studies programming engineered to entertain and inform, but to also ask live questions and participate virtually.
These articles may help you with “1000 Things to Do During COVID-19.”
Social Media and Messenger Counts as Writing
Encourage active engagement with friends using an imaginative, storytelling games Dungeons and Dragons is one example. This can keep kids with ADHD occupied and amused for hours. You can also encourage map-making to go along with the game (social studies: making compass roses, labeling cardinal directions, constructing map keys), as well as writing and drawing. D & D starter sets come cheap, too. They can play chess. They can play Monopoly (more math). I’ve also heard good things about Trickster — an app that allows you to play live card games with friends.
You can also ask willing adults — grandparents are a good choice — to get in on the action. Chances are good that a grandma or great aunt would be thrilled to play Monopoly with her grandchildren for three hours! Then you can work, the kids are doing math, and everyone’s happy.


A Backyard could be a “Gamechanger” for kids with ADHD
Creating fun activities in the backyard for kids with ADHD can be a life saver. Some have made plans to buy a cheap above-ground pool. This obviously isn’t an option available for everyone. However, any piece of enclosed land is an opportunity for children with ADHD. Yes you may have to sacrifice your pristine yard. But the benefits for your kids and those with ADHD can be tremendous. Transform it into a vegetable garden. Turn it into a mud pit with buckets. Turn it into a waterpark with cheap sprinklers, water guns, and a slip n’ slide. Any of these activities can benefit your child with ADHD. Do whatever it takes to get kids with ADHD outside. This will keep them out of your way, exhaust them, and keep them happily occupied. All this counts as physical education. This is an integral part of camp. Why shouldn’t it be an integral part of their home education as well?


Uses Pinterest to its fullest potential
Pinterest is bursting with craft ideas for kids. There are easy paper shark hats and cootie catchers for Shark Week. Popsicle stick mini-camping scenes. Ocean slime. American flag decorations made from sticks and paint. They can build specific things with LEGOs (Greek temples, scenes from literature, etc.). They can do plant and animal surveys of the outside, fill and watch bird feeders, etc.
Could you come up with a theme for each week of summer — like Shark Week, Beach Week, Undersea Life, 2020 Olympics, etc. — and invite a group of friends to contribute activities and resources? You could then share the whole calendar of art, craft, and activity links in a shared Google Doc for everyone to use and adapt. Your kids could jump on Zoom to watercolor or fold origami with their friends, and you’d have quite a gallery of creativity by summer’s end.


A great opportunity for Skill building
Cooking is a real-life skill that children need to learn (which also often involves mathematics and reading). Laundry is a real-life skill that children need to learn. Making grocery lists is a real-life skill that children need to learn.
What about chores around the house? Those are skills your kids need to learn to function in the real world. This is important for all kids, but it’s especially important for kids with ADHD, who benefit from a little more guidance and assistance is learning how to “adult” — things like shopping, cooking, balancing a checkbook, or making a list don’t come naturally to most adults with ADHD. Instilling those habits in kids while you’re doing them anyway is a great way to stop the summer slide and help them learn something.
BTW chores will also keep them busy. One example of how to keep them motivated might include a “reward bin” filled with cheap LEGO mini-figures and stickers. Whenever your kids do a great job at a chore, they can pick blindly from it. Most parents report their rooms stay cleaner now — and they stay busier.


Consider using these ideas to keep your kids learning and moving, while also managing to finish the work you need to do this summer. Fun is a priority, but sanity trumps all. Good luck!


Adapted from ADDitude Liz Broadbent

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