Quiet Games and Activities for Children with ADHD

“Odd, isn't it, how, as they gain experience, the senses become blunted. One must keep them up by making a game of it, like the boy, Kim, in Kipling. Do you enjoy Kipling?”
-A Study in Sherlock, “You’d Better Go in Disguise” by Alan Bradley (pg. 5). 
When I was a kid, puzzles fascinated me. Our family’s living room was matted with them. As my mother, Mary Jo Wilson PhD, attested to, this discovery came as relief. It added another activity that captured my full attention for hours at a time.

Beyond jigsaw puzzles, my elementary school teachers introduced logic problems in which students were given a short story or a series of bullet points that explained which characters were where and with what items (or another similar example). Think of it as a game of Clue, except that accompanying these words were grids, on which we would “x” off what we knew not to be true. See the example below:

Courtesy of SquiglysPlayhouse.com

Here, I found myself delighting in my homework. Whatever system of the brain these logic games activated, they captured my full attention. In fact, they still do today. If you pass me on a train or on a plane or on a boat (as the Dr. Seuss poem goes...), you'll find me curled up in a window seat with a workbook full of adult puzzles and games.

These are two examples of activities that benefit kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For parents who are normally overwhelmed by their kids’ excess energy, it’s helpful to have games or other projects that occupy their kids. I often write about more physical hobbies for children with ADHD, but in tandem, quiet activities can be helpful too.

Although some parents shy away from video games, as a little kid with ADHD, I could spend hours at our ‘90s computer, consumed with learning games like Reader Rabbit . Updated versions of these classics are still available today, along with others that feature Arthur, Thomas the Tank Engine, Madeline, and Sesame Street. This website lists a variety of educational titles: Children’s Software Online.
Conquering a favorite puzzle!

Reflecting on these activities today, many of them prepared me to become a writer. Like a kid with a puzzle or Sherlock Holmes with a good mystery, the skills that foster a quality writer are creativity and organization. Honing those skills takes practice, so why not start early?

What activities does your ADHD child engage in? Or as an ADHD adult, what activities did you gravitate towards as a child? Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna


  1. I just want to say, as a 23 yo female in the process of getting the diagnosis, that your blog really is amazing and it's helping me cope with all the questions that are buzzing around in my brain.
    I can see myself in most everything you write and your wiews on adhd is very much similar to how I percieve it. It's just so wonderful to find out that there are people with the same brain structure out there, as I know of none(that I know of).
    Puzzles, crosswords and such, has always caught my attention to the point that time eventually disappear and you reach total relaxation. The same goes for drawing. Drawing worlds, making stories with every line you put on the paper. I can sit and draw for a hole day. When I was a kid, I once drew a 20m roll containing a story about some elves that were on a mission finding a huge treasure and rid the world of all evil. I was on it for days and days. But everything else I did was total chaos. Today I'm studying architecture, and I'm doing quite well, convertin the hyperfocus that I have in drawing into creating real worlds for real people . The chaos is still there though, and that's why I'm getting help.i just hope I can keep my creativity as it is essential to my future.
    Just wanted to share this.

    Thank you.

  2. It's wonderful to hear from you. I absolutely share your experience of puzzles, crosswords etc... capturing my attention so "that time eventually disappears and you reach total relaxation." What an eloquent way to put it. And I do share your love of crafting fantasy stories as well!

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I love hearing about others' successes with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It sounds like you've found a passion that you can thrive with (architecture!).

  3. sometimes we forget how hard this can all be for a small child. Thanks for this insightful post. We have not had to move countries, but my kids do attend an immersion school.

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  4. Kids with autism should not be any less more happy than the regular children. They should also love actions and activities without being discriminated or remaining out. Doing autism actions have a lot of benefits to the kid and the relax of the family. It will help the kid relax and might show some possibilities in artistry, songs, or activities. daily crossword answers


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