Does your child regularly misplace homework? Is homework forgotten or not turned in? Do they lose focus easily and have difficulty sustaining effort? These are all indications of executive functioning difficulties commonly seen in kids with ADHD and learning issues.
If you are a regular reader of the LW4K blog, you’ve learned about many ways to use games and apps to improve executive functions. Our mission is to find technologies that help kids practice self-management skills like organization, planning, and self-awareness. We use our extensive research and expertise to develop strategic teaching principles that transform game play into real world skills. We use games and technology so that we can catch kids where they are, hanging out in front of screens and talking with their friends. Why not take something that they like and make it better for them?
There are other places kids spend their time. While none of them compare to games, apps, and social media, that’s not all kids are made of. Really. It’s not. Recently we’ve written about using books, sports, and board games as tools to improve executive functions. And there’s another screen-based medium, movies, that can be used to improve executive functions.
Movies have many characteristics that make them into great teaching tools for executive functions and many other skills. These include:
- The multimedia component that engages viewers
- The ability to share the movie experience readily with family and friends
- Repetition, as kids will watch a movie they enjoy many times
- Themes that can be seen across movies, as children can learn about the same skills from many movies, increasing opportunities for transfer
- High levels of stimulation and excitement that keep kids focused and attentive
Parents can also incorporate movies into their family routines for fun and learning. To learn other methods of making movies into a teaching tool check out “How to use Movies to Improve Executive Functioning Skills.”
Here are five great movies for improving organization, planning, and other self-management executive functions:
The Hunger Games
Middle School and up (violent scenes)
The Hunger Games tells the story of a futuristic country where representatives from each “district” must battle in The Hunger Games for their government’s amusement. Katniss, the main character, must use careful planning and organization skills in order to survive the games.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Middle School and up
In the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry finds himself a participant in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a deathly competition among representatives from three wizarding schools. In order to make it through the challenges alive, Harry must strategize plans and approaches with the help of his advisor, Professor Mad-Eye Moody.
Because of Winn-Dixie
Elementary and up
In Because of Winn-Dixie, young Opal has just moved to a new and unfamiliar town with her father, a preacher. With her newly adopted, trouble-making dog Winn-Dixie by her side, Opal must face some big life changes as she adjusts to her new home. Watch her demonstrate flexibility as she meets new people, makes new friends, and overcomes difficult times.
Kung Fu Panda
Elementary and up
In Kung Fu Panda, kids can watch the main character, Po, demonstrate self-control skills as he transforms from clumsy panda to kung fu master. Po’s dedication, integrity, and personal management help him to act appropriately.
Preschool and up
An instant classic, Frozen is more than a cute Disney movie but can also teach children about managing their feelings, impulses, and actions. Elsa must learn to harness her magical powers in order to live alongside her sister, Ana, and the rest of her friends and family.
Featured image: Flickr user Susana Fernandez