Let’s be honest.
Kids with ADHD get bored. Reeeeeeally bored. And it happens a lot quicker for them than it does for other kids.
Anyone who’s ever been the caretaker of a child with ADHD knows exactly what I’m talking about. You plan fun activities, exhaust yourself trying to get everyone ready, load your stuff in the car, and then once you get there, the child only enjoys the activity for about three minutes.
Before you know it, they’re making mud pies out of dirt and rain-water and copious amounts of dog poop.
This week, I wanted to give everyone some practical ideas on how to have fun with an ADHD child. Maybe you’ve tried these before; maybe some of them are new ideas for you.
Either way, they should be easy for the adults, entertaining/stimulating for the kids, and the perfect excuse for everyone to nap afterward.
[Note: Not all activities are suitable for all children. Choose activities according to your child’s capabilities and interests!]
1. ENCLOSED playgrounds/parks
Choose playgrounds and parks that have enclosures or boundary lines. ADHD kids struggle with impulsiveness and inability to follow safety rules. Save everyone the stress and go to places that will more easily keep them safe.
Especially if you have multiple children that will run in opposite directions.
2. Indoor sports
Bowling. Skating. Rock climbing. Laser tag. Swimming. Basketball.
Really, almost anything will do. The point is just to get them moving.
The more they move, the more they’re stimulated. The more they’re stimulated, the more fun they have. The more fun they have, the harder they nap.
3. Outdoor sports
Sports teams can be difficult for ADHD kids because they have a hard time staying on task. Individual sports, however, can be incredibly beneficial to them!
Try tennis, badminton, croquet, cross country, racquetball, golf, or karate. Do whatever YOUR child would thrive at.
4. Kid zones
Most of these places only have one entrance/exit, which is closely guarded by an employee. They also stamp kids’ hands so that children are sure to leave with the same parent. This is the ideal situation for kids who “don’t know a stranger.”
Chuck E. Cheese. Arcades. Jump zones (trampoline places). Bounce houses (full of inflatable climbers). Gymnastics facilities (they often have certain time periods throughout the week where people can pay to let their children play on the equipment).
5. Climbing centers
Places to eat that also have play areas. Chick-fil-a. Burger King. McDonald’s. Really the list is endless.
Also, a lot of malls now have climbing centers that are totally free! And they’re squishy so kids aren’t likely to get hurt on them. Win, win.
6. Dance parties in your living room
Crank up the music, stop stressing, and let them dance out some energy.
7. Play in the rain
If you have a fenced-in yard, you pretty much have the world at your fingertips. Even if it’s raining, that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors.
When they need to expend some energy, put them in old, ratty clothes and go play in the rain. The kids absolutely love it. And a lot of times, the rain is warm outside so there’s no downside to it.
A little water never hurt anyone!
When you get inside, just throw the wet clothes straight in the washer and be done with it.
8. Laser tag
Most kids over the age of four can enjoy this one! If you have the resources to do it every once in a while, it’s a really fun getaway.
9. Go carts
This one’s only a “sometimes” activity, but holy cow is it fun. The adrenaline rush it gives ADHD kids is more than worth it!
Older kids only (obviously), and expensive, but enjoyable all the same. Not much preparation, but a whole lot of fun.
Guaranteed to exhaust all the kids!
11. Playing the drums
Okay, so you may not have a drum set lying around. But a lot of people do! And there are cheap sets out there for around $25.
If you have a younger child, they won’t care what the quality of the drum set is. Try buying one for their next birthday and putting it in the garage. It entertains them and wears them out, while also stimulating their brains.
Can’t afford a drum set? Get on YouTube and watch a video of “STOMP.” You can make anything into an instrument if you’re creative enough.
12. Strategy games
Bubble pop. Dominoes. Mah Jong. Old Maid. Crazy Eight. Board games.
The list goes on and on.
Babies love painting in the bath tub (there are special $1 paints for this). Younger kids LOVE finger painting. Older kids love painting on mugs/ceramics. And teens love being given real canvases to work with (you can buy them for as cheap as $2).
Painting is such a great way to expend some of their mind’s energy without putting pressure on them to concentrate. They can get distracted and still create something beautiful.
Plus, it releases creative juices and makes them feel validated in themselves.
Enjoy these ideas and post any other ideas you have in the comments below!! I know there are more out there.
Let me know about your experiences!