To help you plan a great summer of quality family time, here are five fun outdoor activities for children with ADHD.
1. A Picnic in the Park
A European study revealed that traffic noise in a classroom increases the severity of ADHD symptoms by around 25 percent. However, the same research also revealed that “green space” actually decreases the effects of the condition. A great location for any outdoor activity is the local park — particularly if it’s quiet and a good distance from the nearest highway.
Restaurants and grocery stores are often too much for children with ADHD to handle. So pack a picnic before you head off, and plan a few fun games, such as soccer and Frisbee. Children with the condition often thrive in environments without walls, so be sure to give them some freedom to explore a little.
2. Team Sports
Depending on the specific nature of your child’s ADHD, team sports and group activities might be more beneficial than individual sports. Games such as soccer, basketball and volleyball can help to build confidence, improve communications skills and encourage teamwork.
While the sport you choose is up to you and your child, try to avoid sports that feature a lot of downtime — such as football and baseball. Soccer is a great option, as the action doesn’t stop every few moments. Basketball is another great option, since the action is fast and players have to keep their eye on the ball at all times.
3. A Scavenger Hunt
Head to a local park or an area of countryside you’re familiar with. Then create a list of objects from the natural world for your children to collect. On the list could be things such as tree branches, rocks, flowers and leaves. Start the clock, and send the children on a mission to collect all the items as quickly as possible. You can add teamwork and communication to the scavenger hunt by pairing children together. However, avoid making this a competition. Every child should be a winner.
4. Follow the Leader
You can adapt this activity quite easily, whether you like to spend summer days at the beach, in your local park or in areas of great natural beauty. If all goes well, children with ADHD can get a lot out of this activity — including improved social and communication skills.
Choose one child to be the leader, and get all the other kids to line up behind them. The leader must walk around randomly, performing clear actions with their arms and legs. Ask the children in line to follow and copy the actions of the leader. Make this non-competitive by rotating leaders and ensuring no one is penalized for missing a move.
5. A Day at a Petting Zoo
Nothing grabs the attention of children like animals. If you have a dog, you already know what a calming influence it can be on your child during times of stress. A day at a petting zoo allows children to feed and stroke animals they’ve never seen close-up before. In many cases, the animals have a calming influence on kids, which is perfect if you’re supervising alone. Your children will also get to learn a lot about the natural world.
Only you will know what’s best for your children when it comes to outdoor activities. ADHD affects different kids in different ways, so tailor your days in the great outdoors to the needs of your child.