Nature and outdoor play may improve symptoms, especially attention, in children with ADHD. Have some fun with these five "green" activities, and learn about our wonderful outdoor world in the process!
1. Scavenger Hunt Make a list of different items to search for on your scavenger hunt. Your child will enjoy helping you create the list. Some ideas may include looking for a spider web (with bonus points if a spider is on it), four different colored leaves, five different kinds of trees, litter (be sure to pick up any litter and talk with your child about the importance of keeping our environment healthy), a rock, a bird in a tree, a bird flying in the air, berries on a tree or on the ground, etc. Your child can use a pencil to cross off items as he finds them.
2. Nut Collection Check out a book on nuts from the library, and read together with your child. Plan an outing in an area with lots of trees. Take along a pail or bag for collecting. See how many different kinds and sizes of nuts you can find. Once your child has collected a lot, look for a nice sunny spot to examine and sort them.
3. Sensory Walk Walk with your child through a park, garden or woodsy trail, and spend time feeling all the different textures in nature. You may be surprised to find out how many different textures of bark are on the trees — some smooth, some rough. Compare prickly holly leaves to pine needles to oak leaves. Hold a handful of dirt then sand then small pebbles. Your child can even close his eyes and guess the different items. Just be sure you are familiar with plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak, that are off limits to touch!
4. Nature Rubbings Pack a backpack full of paper, colored pencils, crayons and even a few snacks. Collect various kinds of leaves and make leaf and bark rubbings on the paper to take home after your nature walk.
5. Bike Ride Treasure Hunt If your town has bike trails that are in nature and off the roads, plan a treasure hunt using your bikes for transportation. Draw a map for both of you to follow. The map can take your child to different clues that will eventually lead him to a small treasure. Strap on your bike helmets and begin the fun!