30 Fun and Engaging ADHD Activities for Kids
September 11, 2023
The Best Activities for Kids with ADHD | After-school Activities | Outdoor Activities | Energy-burning Activities | Collaborative Activities | Indoor Activities | Using Forbrain
Kids with ADHD face unique challenges when it comes to focus, impulsivity and hyperactivity and often have endless energy to burn. This can make it harder for them to sit still, pay attention at school, manage their emotions, handle social interactions, and achieve their full potential in life.
Whether you’re a parent, guardian, therapist, or educator, you can help your child better manage these symptoms by regularly playing ADHD-friendly games and activities..
These will help your child burn off their energy, improve their focus and concentration, boost creativity, enhance their cognitive skills, social skills and collaboration while boosting their confidence and showing them what they can achieve.
We’ve handpicked a selection of the thirty most effective ADHD games and activities, as chosen by our team of experts here at Forbrain. These are suitable for children of all ages, even those who can’t stay still and can be played with the whole family, both indoors and outdoors.
The Best Activities for Kids with ADHD
Children with ADHD are energetic, creative, and enthusiastic when they find something that sparks their interest, boosts their confidence, and feels fun or rewarding.
When you look for the right games and activities for ADHD kids, look for something that caters to their unique needs, accommodates their energy and attention, and helps them focus, express themselves, build social skills, help them deal with frustrations and enhance their cognitive skills.
We’ve created a list of the best ADHD games and activities for your ADHD child to get you started, including after-school clubs, games, indoor activities and more. Choose something that interests your child and then give it a try!
Enroll your ADHD child in an after-school activity and you can help them build their skills, explore their interests, and potentially use that boundless energy in a safe and structured environment. Why not try one of these six ADHD-friendly after-school activities with your kids?
1. Martial arts
Martial arts are one of the most popular ADHD activities for kids because it allows them to burn off some of their energy, and teaches them discipline, focus and self-control. By following their teacher’s instructions, working in a group, and facing challenges, you’ll help your ADHD child see their diagnosis as a superpower when you enroll them in a local class.
One study from the University of Manouba confirmed these benefits for ADHD kids, finding that “(those) who received the TKD (Taekwondo) program had a better cognitive performance in terms of selective attention than those in the control condition after the training program.”
If you want to help your child view their ADHD as a superpower, this should be your number one choice.
2. Team sports
Although kids with ADHD often prefer solo sports because they lack focus and are easily distracted in a group, team sports can provide the opportunity to build social skills, learn how to work as a team and make new friends.
Learning rules and strategies can also promote focus and attention and the regular exercise they’ll get will help manage hyperactivity.
3. Music classes
Learning to play a musical instrument like the piano, drums or guitar can be a powerful emotional outlet and stress reliever for kids with ADHD
When they learn to play, they’ll discover how to express themselves, improve emotional self-regulation, memory and brain function and boost their dopamine levels.
4. Art class
Did you know that creating art helps individuals with ADHD work through their emotions, resolve conflicts, manage their behavior, reduce their stress levels, and gain new insight?
When you enroll your ADHD kid in an afterschool art class, you’ll provide them with the perfect setting to deal with their impulsivity, restlessness, and distractibility, plus they’ll have a real sense of achievement when their artwork is finished.
5. Drama club
Children with ADHD usually thrive when they attend drama club because it encourages them to attend regular practices and group meetings, collaborate with their peers and unleash their creative side. They’ll also boost their confidence and self-belief as they see that they can concentrate, learn lines and be fully present in their physical bodies.
6. Dance club
One of the most effective ADHD activities for kids has to be dancing and many (especially those with high energy levels) naturally love to dance.
Whether you choose ballet with its precision and focus, high-energy street dance or something more contemporary, dance will give your ADHD child an outlet for their energy while teaching them how to focus, memorize steps and problem-solve. Check out the after-school dance classes available near you and choose a style that fits your child.
Children with ADHD benefit enormously when they can run, explore, and play freely in the great outdoors. They’ll burn off energy, ease their hyperactivity, improve their hand-eye coordination skills, and build confidence by taking part.
7. Play a ball game
Ball games are great ADHD activities for kids because they’re easy to do anywhere and help keep your child active while improving their coordination.
Why not grab a football or tennis ball and head to the park or, if it’s raining outside, inflate a beach ball and encourage them to play at home? You can even get creative, invent ADHD child-friendly games, or get the whole family involved.
8. Do some gardening
When you do an ADHD activity like gardening, you’ll give your ADHD child the sensory input they need. It’s also a physical activity that helps them use their energy and creativity and see tangible results.
Whether you ask your child to plant seeds, pull weeds, move twigs, or rake the soil, they’ll feel a huge sense of achievement, enjoy time outside, boost their dopamine levels and ease any sensory processing issues.
9. Play in the sandpit
Playing in a sandpit is a great activity for the ADHD child because it provides more sensory input while giving your child a chance for creative play.
Although usually associated with younger children, everyone enjoys sifting, digging, and building with the sand, even teenagers with ADHD. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach, head there to combine this sensory play with healthy fresh air and outdoor time.
10. Make a den or treehouse
Is your ADHD kid feeling overwhelmed? Create a den or treehouse together where they can retreat, calm their emotions, and enjoy the quiet time they need when they’re struggling to manage their emotions. Encourage them to build it themselves or help and they can use their creative skills and imagination, boost their confidence, and relax.
11. Relax in a hammock
When your child is getting hyperactive, hang a hammock in your garden and encourage them to enjoy it. The gentle swinging motion provides excellent sensory input to help calm those fidgety moods and they can relax, unwind, and even read a book or watch the clouds while they sit there.
12. Go for a walk
Studies have shown that being in nature[vi] can help us feel calmer while also encouraging physical activity, making it an excellent activity for a child with ADHD. Best of all, it’s free, instant and helps keep your child’s brain engaged. Take regular walks in your local park or green space and encourage your child to explore and discuss what they are seeing.
13. Visit the park or playground
When you have 30 minutes to spare, grab some sports equipment like a frisbee or football and head to your local park. You’ll help your ADHD child to burn off their energy and they will also enjoy a rich sensory experience thanks to the different sights, sounds and smells.
If it’s raining outside, why not take them to an indoor playground so they can still get the activity they need to keep their symptoms under control.
14. Go for a bike ride
Aerobic exercise such as cycling, riding a scooter, or running is a great ADHD activity because it helps burn energy, boosts fitness, improves coordination skills and gets your child outside. Even if you don’t have much time to spare, encourage your child to take their scooter or bike on outings with you (if safe) so they can still have fun and stay active when there are less exciting things to do.
15. Do a scavenger hunt
Keep your ADHD child active and improve their problem-solving skills by creating a scavenger hunt. You can use any space, whether it’s your home, garden, park, or beach, and then create the perfect scavenger hunt for your child to enjoy. If your child is older, why not try geocaching- an exciting treasure hunt designed for the 21st century?
16. Walk the dog
ADHD kids can benefit significantly by walking or playing with a pet because they get the emotional support and reassurance they need, can burn off energy and can learn how to take responsibility. If you don’t have a pet at home, why not offer to walk your family, friends, or neighbors’ dogs so they can get the benefits without needing to own one?
Energy-burning games & activities
Get your child up and active with these engaging, fun, and energy-burning games and activities for ADHD. Each of these can be done just about anywhere, come rain or shine and are affordable, fast, and fun.
17. Jump rope
Simple and affordable, jumping rope is a great ADHD activity for kids because it encourages them to use their energy while building their hand-eye coordination and focus. Start slowly, encouraging them to master the skill first before building their endurance and abilities.
18. Try circus skills
Both fun and challenging, circus skills are a great ADHD activity that helps build muscle, coordination, focus and flexibility plus there’s something for every taste and ability including juggling, tightrope walking, trapezing and even acrobatics. Look for a circus skills class near you or get started at home with some simple props like balls, a hula-hoop, and a slackline.
19. Make an obstacle course
When your ADHD kid is getting fidgety, set up an obstacle course with pillows, exercise balls, hula hoops, jumping rope or any other props you have lying around. This ADHD activity will help get them moving and help boost their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, and most importantly, have fun!
20. Use a balance board
If you have the budget, invest in a balance board, and encourage your child to use it. Highly effective and simple, studies have shown that it can stimulate the part of the brain that is connected to where ADHD differences occur. This helps to ease symptoms and even helps boost reading comprehension and fluency.
21. “Simon Says”
Want your child to follow instructions better and stay active? Simon Says is a traditional game that you can play with your ADHD to help them use their bodies and have fun. Here’s how to play it:
- One person gives some instructions about what to do such as ‘Simon says touch your nose’ and then everyone else needs to copy.
- Repeat this several times with different actions, for example “Simon says jump up and down”, then “Simon says curl up small” and so on.
- If the person giving instructions only says “Jump up and down”, not, “Simon says jump up and down”, everyone should ignore them and stay still.
- If someone carries out this action, even though they weren’t told “Simon says” first, they are out of the game.
- The winner is the person who listens carefully and follows the right instructions.
22. Hide and Seek
If you’re looking for an ADHD game that provides hours of fun, consider playing Hide and Seek. One person needs to close their eyes and count to ten while the other finds somewhere to hide. When the countdown has ended, the other person needs to find where the other is hiding. What better way to have fun and use that energy?
Enjoy activities together with your ADHD child and you will foster bonding, creativity and social skills while helping them improve their focus and concentration.
23. Cook together
Find a child-friendly recipe to cook with your ADHD kid or get them involved in meal prep to build their skills, have fun, and learn the art of teamwork. Cooking is also a great way to encourage creativity, build confidence and teach them how to follow instructions better.
24. Read a book
Reading a book with your child is a fantastic way to spark their imagination, build their creativity and boost language skills and is also a great ADHD vocabulary. By reading together or using the patented Forbrain headset, you can also help your child calm their hyperactivity and improve their attention issues, even before they start school. Find books that your ADHD will love and read them together!
25. Building blocks
Pull out the construction blocks, Lego or other similar toys and encourage your ADHD child to get creative and you’ll see their concentration, focus and problem-solving skills improve while they get creative. Whatever building materials you choose, make sure they’re age-appropriate and be ready to offer creative ideas on how to get started.
When it’s raining outside or you simply want to keep your ADHD child busy, why not try these indoor activities and see how much fun you can have? We’ve included a handful of ADHD activities here to get you started alongside others earlier on in this article. Choose one, adapt it to the unique needs of your child and see the benefits.
26. Balloon games
If you’re looking for a cheap, fun, and engaging ADHD activity for kids, balloon games could be your perfect option. Simply blow up a few balloons and encourage your child to interact with them by hitting them across the room, playing games or even grabbing some rackets and playing indoor balloon tennis.
You’ll help them burn off energy, improve their hand-eye coordination and keep them active. We love this ADHD game activity because you don’t need much space and can enjoy it whatever the weather is doing.
27. Play board games
Playing board games with your ADHD child is a great way to foster a wide range of skills including teamwork, taking turns, focus, attention and patience while also providing the mental stimulation that they need. Dust off your Scrabble board, plan a family night and see how their language skills improve.
28. Play tape games
Carpenter’s tape is a cheap and effective tool you can use for an ADHD activity that will provide hours of fun. Simply use the tape (the more colorful, the better) then use it to draw out an obstacle course or mark targets on your floor.
Encourage your child to use these markings however they want, whether that’s aiming at them with their Nerf gun, following the course or even playing with their toy cars. This is a great sensory activity that helps build hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills and it’s great fun too!
29. Get organized
Make cleaning up into a game and you can encourage your ADHD to get more organized, have fun and get help taking care of your home. Here are a few suggestions:
- Do a timed cleanup: Set a timer for five to ten minutes and see how much you can tidy up.
- Fill a basket: Find a basket for each family member, tell them what item you want them to find (such as toys, clothes, etc.) and then see who can fill the fastest.
- Color cleanup: Choose an area of your home, give your child a basket and a color and see how many items they can gather of this color.
30. Do a project together
Working on a project with your child can help them to use their energy, and creativity and improve their focus while bonding with them. Why not start a new crafting project together, dress up, create a storybook or head to the kitchen and bake some cakes? Always choose a project that is age-appropriate and helps you meet your ADHD child’s complex needs.
Using Forbrain to Help with ADHD
Forbrain is an auditory stimulation headset that can help your child better manage their ADHD while boosting language skills, cognition, and impulse control. Using advanced auditory feedback technology, the device helps the ADHD child hear their voice clearer and improve their pronunciation while helping with attention, focus and self-regulation.
You’ll see real benefits when you use it for just 10-20 minutes per day for a few weeks alongside the ADHD games and activities we share here.
Find out more about Forbrain and how it can help your ADHD child here.
Whether you want to help your ADHD child burn off some energy, improve their skills of focus and concentration, enhance their creativity and language skills, boost their social skills, or simply have fun, try one of the ADHD activities and games on this list.
Remember that every child is unique so not every ADHD activity or game on this list will work for your child. However, through trial and error, you’ll find the most suitable, enjoyable, and beneficial activities for your child.
By doing so, you’ll help them better manage their challenges, see their ADHD as a superpower and fulfill their potential in education and at school, especially when used alongside the Forbrain headset.
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