Recommended Games and Activities
- A Bit of Banter Jr. – good use for conversation skills
- Taboo – to develop vocabulary, schematic thinking and expressive language
- Outburst Junior - to develop vocabulary, schematic thinking and expressive language
- Imaginiff Jr. - great for developing episodic memory and abstract, inferential thinking skills
- American Girl 300 Wishes – great for social skills, forming opinions and making decisions
- Break the Safe - amazing collaborative social skills game: you will need to find on ebay
- Oodles of Doodles - to develop vocabulary, schematic thinking and visual imagery skills
- Stare Junior – for episodic memory, attention and schematic thinking
- Whoonu - great for social skills, forming opinions and making decisions
- Sync Up - great for social skills, schematic thinking and expressive language
- Remote Control Impulse Control, Franklin Learning Systems - a great game for teaching impulse control and self regulation
- Apples to Apple - develops verbal organization and semantic feature analysis skills
- Pictionary and Pictionary Man - develop visual-motor construction and formulation of "future picture" thinking
- Scattegories - develop verbal organization and word retrieval skills at the word level
- TriBond Junior - develop flexible thinking and verbal organization skills at the word level
- Rat A Tat Cat - reinforce visual-sptial skills and working memory
- Charades for Kids - to facilitate nonverbal expression and gestural communication
- Blokus - to develop visual-spatial, visual working memory and problem solving skills
Independant games foster attention, organization and problem solving skills.
- Rush Hour
- River Crossing
- Cover Your Tracks
Legos and vast number of other manipulatives are offered in stores now that can be used for building freestyle from imagination to building sets that foster visual-spatial, organization and bottom-top style of problem solving. Try using household objects, toys or spaces as models for building. Most Lego manuals can also be downloaded from the internet if a child has an abundance of legos, but would like more specific directions for building objects and schema sets.
Clays are soft, pliable building materials also offered in various colors and can be painted, which offers another medium for helping kids develop these construction skills.
Role-playing can extend well beyond preschool and kindergarten. As kids get older in the middle school years, they can be given ideas for putting on plays or shows with character scripts, settings and costume/props. High schoolers may enjoy directing younger students to develop plays and shows. This kind of play develops problem solving, executive function, social thinking and expressive language skills. Role-plays can occur indoors or outdoors with props developed for the setting. Read books related to some schemas to provide vocabulary and ideas that would be helpful for developing scripts. Cooking and baking activities are ideal for increasing expressive language and verbal organization skills, as sequences are naturally involved. Try having your child “teach” you how to make some dish they have learned in order to increase verbal sequencing skills. A step by step sequence of pictures can be drawn, written and assembled to make individual cookbooks. Give props from home to role-play from books or favorite series that your children enjoy, subjects or themes learning at school, and from the following schemas:
- Magic Shows
- Magic Tree House
- Fairy Series
- Fashion Show
- Beauty Parlor
- Entrepreneur Activities: Lemonade stand, car washes, snack shacks
Arts and Crafts
There are numerous websites and crafts available at stores, but crafts that can be made as a part of other projects can maximize vocabulary, planning and thinking skills. Art classes can be a great way to get children motivated in trying to shift to art activities at home.
Learning musical skills can be some fun ways to spend leisure time. Singing, drums, and piano are relatively inexpensive if play instruments are used and manuals with audio direction are provided. If students can take some classes, it may stimulate some more interest in spending time away from the “screen” and they can develop a skill that can become a part of fun social times with friends.
Gross Motor Activities
Gross motor activities are a natural part of most children’s playtime. These activities have health and social benefits that are important for their overall well-being but are also important in developing executive function skills. As a child or teen engages in team or individual activities, they develop schema, social and organizational skills. If your child or teen does not show an interest in team sports, the following independent activities have been found particularly beneficial for children with attention and learning difficulties:
- Rock Climbing
- Karate and other self-defense classes - highlight mental control and body-mind connecton as well as following directions
- Horseback Riding - many programs offer theraputic riding classes and these enhance self-awareness, problem solving, perpsective talking, social skills and following directions