21 Activities for Children with ADHD

The activities for children with ADHD that I will explain in this article will allow you to reassure them, help them to concentrate and improve their well-being, which will affect the personal and collegiate life of the infants.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has not been free from controversy.

Many have questioned its existence and others argue that its prevalence has grown over a few years ago.

Activities for Children with ADHD

It constitutes, together with childhood allergy, the most frequent pathologies within the children’s sector, which is why it offers future research challenges regarding this disorder.

Activities for Children with ADHD


What processes should we take into account when working with children with ADHD?

In ADHD there are deficits in executive functions, which is why we should take into account when designing activities to work with them.

One of the difficulties, for example, is inhibition. Thus, the subject with ADHD can not stop acting when he should, can not interrupt his actions, can not protect his thinking.

People with ADHD have no internal sense of time, live in the moment, are not able to use their past to think about the future and prepare for it.

They also have difficulties in working memory (operational memory), which is what allows us to keep the information in our brain at the time we require it.

On the other hand, regarding internal language, people with ADHD can not speak to themselves or use language as a guide.

This leads to their inability to follow instructions and rules to do what they are ordered, so they will have difficulties in understanding, to understand what they hear, read and see.

With this ability people are able to foresee the probabilities of response, anticipating the consequences in each of the possible variables and finally choose one.

Regarding emotions, children with ADHD show their emotions and desires more than the rest of individuals, so feelings such as anger, frustration and hostility, must be controlled and channeled so that their social relationships are healthy.

This explains why there are children with ADHD who will develop Defiant Oppositional Disorder.

Motivation is another key point for the understanding of this disorder, those who suffer from it can not motivate themselves, so there is a lack of persistence towards the objective, manifested in the form of motivation deficit.

The ability to play with oneself mentally is the one used to plan and solve problems.

Children with ADHD have diminished their ability to solve problems. They are not very fluent in their language and actions, and if, for example, we ask them what they read a few days ago, we will get disconnected, unorganized or unfounded thoughts.

A greater capacity for emotional self-control, greater capacity for organization and planning of behavior, which greatly reduces the possibilities of acting impulsively and therefore of making mistakes.

Executive skills offer a broader view of the problem. They explain, for example, excessive speech.

21 activities to work with children with ADHD

  1. Play Memory

A good exercise to work the lack of attention that children have is to play Memory.

For this, depending on the child’s age, it can be adapted to their needs and in different degrees of difficulty.

It is about generating cards in pairs (with photographs, drawings, numbers …). There must be two equal cards. You can make them yourself adapting it to the child’s tastes, so that it is more interesting to you.

For this, after having a lot of pairs of cards, what you should do is shuffle them and place them down.

The game is that, with all the cards shuffled face down and in turns, the child must lift one of them and look at the drawing that there is (for example, a car) and then raise another (which can be, for example, a balloon).

The child must pay attention to the placement of the cards and look at the drawing of each card, so we train the attention deficit.

When in his turn he is able to lift two cards with the same drawing, he saves them and continues playing. The game ends when all the cards have been lifted. And the person who has saved more pairs of cards wins.

  1. Simon

Simon’s game also serves to pay attention, which is one of the biggest deficits presented by children with ADHD, besides working with impulsivity.

It is an electronic game in which the quadrants of colors are illuminated in a random way and emits a sound of their own.

The child must wait for the device to stop executing the sequence and afterwards, he must introduce the sequence shown in the correct order. This game allows the child to develop the capacity for self-control and memory .

One of the advantages of this game is that there are different levels, as you go right sequences increases the speed of execution.

There are also applications for the Tablet that allow you to work in the same way. Some of them are: Neurogames – Effective learning made fun!

They are created by the child neuropsychologist Jonathan Reed. Among them we can find the “Impulse control” or “memorize”.

  1. Tower

One of the games that also serve to work impulsivity is “the Tower”.

It is a game of physical and mental ability, where participants must remove blocks from a tower in turn and place them on the top until it falls.

This game has one of the advantages of board games, as is the establishment of shifts.

In addition, the game requires the child to stop for a moment by inhibiting his impulsiveness and to plan his next move.

The child must carefully remove the piece, working fine motor and eye-hand coordination.

  1. Relaxation techniques

To reduce the hyperactivation of children with ADHD, relaxation techniques can be used .

For children, for example, the most appropriate can be those of Koeppen, which is an adaptation of the famous Jacobson’s Relaxation Technique but suitable for children.

Children, in general, tend to activate and play, but also require moments of relaxation and calm, and more children who have the symptom of hyperactivity.

The Koeppen relaxation technique is based on tension and distention, so that focusing on different parts of the body (arms, hands, face, nose …) is making children notice the tension and later relaxes it, so that be able to tell the difference.

  1. Mikado

The Mikado is an old and fun game very useful for children with ADHD, since it allows them to work fine motor skills and impulsivity.

This game consists of a group of very thin sticks with bands of colors in the corners.

To start playing, all the clubs are joined and placed vertically, letting them fall on a surface. At that moment, and in turn, you start playing.

The sticks will fall in a certain way and in turn they should be removing sticks without the other sticks move. When you have managed to catch all the clubs, you will add who has more points.

  1. Mindfulness activities

Mindfulness for children is an extremely beneficial activity, since it allows them to work on attention and reduction of hyperactivity.

Mindfulness is based on awareness and full attention, which allows to exercise attention, in addition to achieving a state of calm and well-being that counteracts hyperactivation.

  1. Puzzles

The puzzles, adapted to the age, can also be a very fun activity to work with children with ADHD.

The puzzles allow them to focus on a task and work on attention and motor skills.

  1. Drive a straw

The game of the straw is fun and useful to work attention and impulsivity. For this, you need continuous paper, a marker, some balls made of paper and a straw.

For this, we will take continuous paper and draw a road with curves. With the paper balls, we will place them on the road and blowing with the straw we will try to get the child to take the ball along the road.

  1. Search objects hidden in sheets with distractors

A good activity to work with children is to look for objects inside sheets that have many things.

Look for pictures with very complete drawings (for example a city where there are many buildings, different shops, people on bicycles, animals …). The more elements the drawing has, the more difficult the task and the greater the demand.

It is about encouraging the child to look for certain elements, for example, “how many buildings do you see in the photograph?”, “How many cats are there?”, “Find the bakery”, “find the girls with long hair”.

This will help the child focus on a task and maintain attention.

  1. Labyrinths 

Another easy, fun and useful activity to work attention and planning are the labyrinths.

To do this, he achieves different labyrinths and with instructions such as “pay attention and remember that you can not crash the lines of the edge of the labyrinth”, “do it with calm and attention, start here and find the exit of the labyrinth”.

The child should pay attention to the task and plan how to do it to find the way out.

  1. Maps

A simple activity that allows children to work is maps. You can adapt it to the child’s difficulty and it will also allow you to study and revise school concepts.

For it, you only need maps: of the own Autonomous Community, of the Country, of Europe, of the World or also a ball of the world.

To do this, you are asking the child in front of the map to find you a specific place, for example, “find Malaga”, “find Paris”, etc.

In this way, the child must pay attention to the task to solve what is being demanded.

  1. Physical activity

Physical exercise is a very good activity for children with hyperactivity. To do this, make physical exercise and sports.

Point the child to a sport that interests him and allows him to interact with other children.

Also, allow him to do a lot of physical activity: offer him activities where he can move: go to the park, trips to the park, go rollerblading …

  1. Self-instructions: stop, think and act

To work self-instructions, the premises are “Stop, think and act”. It is a cognitive technique that aims to work with children impulsivity.

It is about selecting at the beginning, for example, an inappropriate behavior that usually repeats: “get up from the table while eating” or “get out of class while doing an activity”.

The self-instructions should be adjusted to each child, seeing what is necessary for each one. They should be told mentally and applied to impulsive behavior.

For this, the self-instructions are useful so that when the child notices the impulse to get up he should think: “Stand up. What do I have to do? Right now I have to be seated. I can get it I’ll be sitting a little longer. “

In this way, it is intended to delay a little more the impulsiveness of doing that behavior at that particular moment.

  1. Work with the Stroop effect

The Stroop effect is very useful for working impulsivity. It is a task where the color does not correspond to the word.

For example, the word YELLOW is written in red, the word RED is written in blue or the word GREEN is written in yellow.

It is about the child saying the color in which the word YELLOW is written, that is, he should say “red”, but he will tend to read the word, so he must inhibit and say it correctly.

  1. The turtle technique

To work with impulsivity, the turtle technique can also be very appropriate.

We have to tell the child that at certain times, we are going to become a turtle and must know how the turtles behave.

They can walk with their heads and legs on the outside but when they feel that someone is threatening them, they hide and reveal only the shell.

We must tell them that they can behave that way. Thus, when he feels he can not control himself, he can become a turtle and hide inside his shell.

You are urged to think nice things, to let anger or unpleasant emotions fly and to relax.

  1. Similarity games

To work the attention, we can print and laminate many images with different colored drawings.

We will print a lot of images or figures in red, others in blue, green, yellow …

When we go to work with the child, we will mix them all and we will go asking for a series of slogans. For example, “give me only the cards with red objects”.

If they are geometric figures (we include large circles, small circles, large blue squares, small green squares …). We can make all combinations and ask the child for specific slogans.

For example: “give me only the small triangles”, “give me the big blue circles”. Obviously, this task will be adapted to the level that the child has.

  1. Bingo

Bingo is also a very appropriate activity to work on, given that we give the child a series of numbers that we read aloud and he, with different cards, must focus attention to find out if he has the number that has been extracted.

If you do not pay attention, it’s very easy for you not to be able to continue the game.

  1. Strategy games

Many strategy games allow the child to work attention and concentration. In this sense, for example, you can use the domino, the tic-tac-toe, the chess or sink the fleet.

  1. Find the differences

The games to find the differences are also very useful to work the attention. To do this, we present the child with very similar drawings but they have small differences and we encourage you to find where the differences are.

In this sense, variations can be made. For example, we establish a starting drawing (a star) and vertically we establish 8 different stars beside it, one or several can be exactly the same and the others with some difference.

We ask the child to find which stars are the same and which are different. This exercise can be done with very diverse objects.

You can also set series of numbers, for example: “3 4 5 6” and next we can put “3 4 5 6” or “3 5 4 6”, “4 7 4 6” and ask the child to select the ones that They are the same and they are different.

  1. Listening tasks

These tasks are intended for the child to listen carefully to something and then answer some questions we have asked.

It is worth telling stories, descriptions, invented stories, jokes, riddles … anything that comes to mind, and then we can ask you questions to focus your attention.

We can also ask you to describe the environment in which you are or different illustrations: where everything is located, the colors, the space in which they are …

  1. Tasks to complete

There are many tasks to complete that allow you to focus your attention. We can present an image that lacks a component and its task is to say, indicate or draw what it is.

You can also present some drawings as a model and a series of incomplete versions of the drawing. Your task is to see and report and then finish the parts until they are identical to the original drawing.

Another useful activity is to order bullets, for example, since the child has to focus his attention and find out what happens in the story by ordering them.

Here you have a video-summary of the main activities:

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder with a neurobiological origin. It is a disorder characterized by levels of impulsivity, lack of attention and activity that do not suit the child’s developmental age.

These children have problems in the regulation of behavior, when adjusting to standards, and therefore have difficulty adapting to the different environments in which they develop (school, family, relationships …).

They are children who tend to perform below what would be expected for their abilities and accompanied by other behavioral problems and emotional problems.

ADHD should not be conceptualized as a behavioral disorder, but rather as a cognitive disorder of executive functions.

Thus, people with ADHD have a deficiency of self-regulation, a deficit in executive control, which basically implies difficulty in the self-regulation of behavior and in organizing behavior from the present to the future.

Symptoms of ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders are defined by the presence of three symptoms. These are:

– Attentional reduction

– Hyperactivity

– Impulsivity

When we talk about lack of attention, we refer to different aspects such as:

– No attention to detail

– He forgets daily activities

– It is easily distracted by stimuli external to it

– Lose or forget things that are necessary

– Can not maintain attention in the activities that it enhances

– He does not listen when he is spoken and he has difficulties to follow conversations

– Do not follow instructions

– Forget conversations where you have to make a lot of mental effort sustained

Regarding hyperactivity, we refer to:

– It is uneasy

– He gets up from the seat when he should be sitting

– It goes from one place to another when it should be I want to

– Speech in excess

– Acts without stopping as if driven by an engine

– Has difficulty playing quietly

And regarding impulsivity:

– Has difficulty waiting for his turn

– Interrupts and annoys other children

– Answer the questions before they are finished.

Characteristics of children with ADHD

Behind the majority of children diagnosed with ADHD, there is an academic performance lower than that expected due to their chronological age and intelligence. This can be explained by the symptoms of the disorder itself.

Hyperactivity, impulsivity or attentional difficulty are not good allies for an adequate learning process.

In addition, ADHD is often associated with learning difficulties or disorders, especially in the areas of reading, narrative skills, writing, calculation or mathematics.

For example, it is estimated that 50% of children with ADHD have problems in learning to read, write or mathematics that negatively affect academic performance and the level of education they achieve.

As time passes, the prevalence of people with ADHD has been increasing, which has not been without controversy. The age of diagnosis has also decreased.

Long ago the prevalence was around 4-6% and some data suggest that they are between 10-20%.

The Clinical Guide to ADHD aims to affect between 3-7% of school-age children.

It has been indicated with prevalence of males versus females, something that is being left aside and is currently considered to be similar in both sexes, predominantly in women inattention and in males hyperactivity.

Also Read: Dyscalculia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

It has also been considered as exclusive of the infant-juvenile stage, something that is also not true given that it remains in the adult stage.

Children with ADHD can show symptoms at an early age, but it is discovered and treated more often later, between 7-9 years of age.