In celebration of ADHD awareness month, we’ve been covering the potential benefits and concerns of video game use with children diagnosed with ADHD all throughout October. From covering the latest research on ADHD and video game use, to showing parents easy ways to use popular games like Minecraft to teach executive functioning skills, there are many positive ways for parents of ADHD children to responsibly incorporate games into their kids’ Play Diet.
One topic we’ve touched upon is the benefits exercise and vigorous play offers children with ADHD. Research shows that physical activity can affect brain chemistry in a positive way, boosting children’s capacity for Focus and Working Memory through the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors), proteins in the brain that can help enhance memory and attention. Basically, exercise boosts the production of brain fuel, which sticks around for a while even after the exercise is done. This makes exercise and active games a smart play time activity for children, especially when it takes place before tackling attention-demanding tasks, such as homework or studying.
Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best active games to play with your child. There are many options to consider, so feel free to dive into each game’s PlayBook for more usage tips and recommended activities.
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Best Active Games for Kids with ADHD:
1.) Wii Sports / Resort:
Wii Sports — the original motion-based game compilation that came packed in with the Wii — is still a lot of fun, and its sequel, Wii Sports Resort, offers even more games and updates. With a revamped version of Wii Sports set to hit the Wii U in the near future, gamers will have a whole new way to experience this modern day classic. Recommended games include Boxing, Swordplay, and Tennis.
The Kinect for Xbox 360 offers active, motion-based gameplay without the need for an actual controller. The compilation of sports titles included in Kinect Sports & Kinect Sports: Season Two are quite varied, so for the most exercise, we recommend playing Boxing and Tennis. And keep an eye out for the next installment in the series, Kinect Sports Rivals, coming to Microsoft’s next console, the Xbox One.
3.) Kinect Adventures:
While Kinect Sports aimed to take traditional sports games and re-imagine them for controller-free gaming in the living room, Kinect Adventures aims for a more exciting and over-the-top experience. Players rush down rivers, ride over zany roller coasters and partake in a variety of other wacky activities. For a vigorous play session, we recommend taking part in Rally Ball, River Rush, and Reflex Ridge.
4.) Sports Champions:
Sports Champions is Sony’s answer to motion-based sports games, offering a mix of sports-based games meant to showcase the capabilities of their motion controller, the PlayStation Move. Sports Champions includes the games Table Tennis, Archery, Bocce Ball and Disc Golf, but for a real workout, we recommend playing a few competitive bouts of Gladiator Duel against other players.
5.) Fruit Ninja Kinect
The Xbox 360 version of the mobile hit game incorporates Kinect motion controls to allow kids to slice and chop their way through hordes of fruit simply by swinging their arms. Fruit Ninja on Kinect really ramps up in difficulty as players progress, making the Kinect verison a great way to encourage kids to be active as they play.