Activities for ADHD Kids

Parent Q&A

  • Hi - I need a recommendation for a physical activity for my 9yo.  I was consider a martial art (which to choose?) or fencing.  I am located in Oakland and would appreciate any recommendations.

    Trampoline or swimming.

    For my son, activities with lots of running around worked well--like soccer.  Basketball, tennis and baseball were are activities he enjoyed.  It was harder for him to do activities that required a lot of stillness and discipline.  After all the sitting in school, he needed to run and get tired.  Also, look for a coach instructor that understands active kids.  Otherwise, it can be a nightmare.

    I second the swimming rec. Kids with ADHD need intense whole body movement every day.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Activities for 7-yr-old boy with ADHD symptoms

Sept 2011

I have a sweet, bright and inquisitive 7-year-old son with impulse-control/immaturity issues that have been causing him a lot of grief in structured settings, such as classroom or even camps. The issue is not necessarily the structure alone, but rather abundance of stimuli - lots of kids, lots of noises, etc. In one-on-one settings he is definitely more focused and more manageable (from a teacher's standpoint). As I said, school has been a challenge in that regard, the teachers get easily frustrated with his behavior and he's received enough criticism/reprimand to last an average child a lifetime. As a result, we've been shying away from extracurricular activities. We tried tae kwon do when he was much younger, but the teacher had to spend a disproportionate amount of time on him, leaving other kids stranded, so we discontinued with the class (and our son wasn't that into it). We tried Lego camps and despite the fact that he is REALLY good at building with Legos (the teacher had a hard time coming up with projects that were challenging enough for him), we still ended up frequently getting an earful regarding his impulsiveness. I was hoping to get recommendations for classes that you found to be excellent for a boy with these characteristics. Or more specifically, if you know (or if you are) an instructor who LOVES all kids, including ''challenging'' ones, that would be even better. He is a pretty bright kid who gravitates toward science, engineering, not so much sports or art, but we would be open to anything. anon

I could've written your post. Sigh. Its tough for our bright and boisterous boys, no? We have recently (last six months or so) started a couple of things that are really working for us. One is that we're taking swimming classes one on one. Less stimuli than all the kiddos in the pool and his swimming skills have really improved. Then recently we started taking tennis lessons, also one on one. Email me off list and let's chat more. julie

Sorry to hear the challenges your bright and inquisitive 7 year old is having. I can relate! My beautiful compassionate and intelligent 10 year old went through an extremely rough year last year in 4th grade that did a tremendous amount of damage to his self esteem and confidence and desire to learn.

My solution was to find a place where he was emotionally safe, accepted and nurtured. Like your child my son was criticized and reprimanded for behavior he was not in control of which did a TON of damage. He was also over stimulated by all the stuff in his classroom not to mention the 28 students packed into the small classroom. I actually moved my son to an amazing school that is doing wonders for him. He LOVES going to school and is happy. He no longer talks about being angry and not knowing why or feeling dumb because he learns differently. The school is known for looking at the whole child and finding solutions that work for each child. They teach them how to manage themselves, even those who are challenged doing so and practices differentiated learning, reaching children from where they are not where they are supposed to be. The classroom sizes range from 9 to 15 students, which gives the students breathing room and the teachers the ability to work with those who have special needs.

Here are some of the things that have helped my 10 year old in just 4 weeks since school has started. He was provided a netbook to use instead of having to write to address the low turn issue and the feeling of not being able to write and think at the same time. He and his teacher use a private signal to let my son know when his behavior is not working so that he can then do a breathing exercise or move himself to the break chair, which gives him the time to regroup and come back and participate in a respectable way. The teacher and the librarian have taken my suggestions about what style of books work best for him when trying to find reading material for my son instead or forcing the typically 5th grade reading material on him. The teacher used a conflict resolution process with my son and a friend within a day of an incident happening that left my son feeling hurt and unmotivated. These are just a few examples. I have many more. For life long skills that will help your child excel and learn to be accountable without being punished I highly recommend looking at Windrush School. What happens at that school is truly MAGICAL in all grades and all classes!!!! Good luck to you!!!!!!! lynne

Hi. It sounds like your child, you (and undoubtedly the rest of your family) have been dealing with a complex and likely to be ongoing situation. My son was first evaluated at age 5 for ADD--he is now 18--one excellent piece of advice from our pediatrician --this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Reading your post reminded me of the feedback I received about my son in the early days. And while classes may be helpful, I wonder if you are also exploring evaluation and if appropriate, medication.

Some in the Berkeley community seem to automatically denigrate use of ADD medications--would they be so negative about a diabetic taking insulin?? Medication made an immediate and dramatic improvement in my son's ability to participate in his''journey'', as well as school and social interactions. He himself sees medication as useful and has been involved in discussions about its utility and judging the right dosage since he was 5. The effect is so dramatic that when he has failed to take a dose one day for one reason or another, his teacher or camp counselor has recognized the difference (without knowing he was on medication). Without the medication (primarily stimulants, in various forms over the years) he is basically unable to participate in or benefit from school and social interactions.Currently we see Brad Berman for medication and periodic assessment/encouragement.

I am not suggesting that medication alone is the answer. My son also is in ongoing therapy with Betty Tharpe, MFT (510) 549-2092 who has been invaluable for my son, and our family--she is positive but clear thinking and pragmatic about what we all need to be doing. Over the years, we have also done social skills groups, etc etc. fellow marathoner