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Keeping Summer Boredom at Bay: ADHD Camps and Other Things to do in Summer

For parents of Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD children, summer time is a dual-edged sword. School - and all of its trappings for Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD children - is out. Now parents are faced with the daunting task of trying to fill three months of free time.

"Iím bored" is a phrase all children will utter at some point during the summer. That phrase can come within weeks or even days of school end and summer vacationís start for Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD children.

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD tend to become bored more easily and need high stimulus activities. If these needs are not met, their impulsivity and high energy levels will get them into trouble. Children who take a summer break from ADHD medications without using an ADHD herbal remedy or other ADHD remedies are especially prone to the high levels of energy and trouble that almost always follows.

With careful planning and mindful attention to the Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD childís high need for stimulation in mind, parents can incorporate enriching and educational summer experiences to keep their childís mind busy and their hands out of trouble.

Residential ADHD camps or local day camps, summer school for the Attention Deficit Disorder children, a focus on fun learning during the summer months and planned family activities are some options for keeping youngsters busy throughout the summer.

Structure is highly important to Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD children, though the summer months are notorious for lack of structure. Although you do not need to maintain the rigidity of school months, maintaining a semblance of structure during the summer can help Attention Deficit children.

Many parents find summer activity calendars helpful for outlining planned activities. The best laid summer plans are those that provide a balance of structured time as well as free time.

Summer ADHD Camps:

The camping experience - whether a day sports camp or month-long residential camp - is part of the childhood experience. Although ADHD does complicate the summer camp experience, there are still a wide variety of camping options available.

ADHD camps specifically geared to the ADHD child might be one option. The ADHD camp offers specialized treatment to ADHD children and typically incorporate behavioral intervention and social skills training in the camping curriculum. Most ADHD camps are residential camps ranging in time from one week to one month.

There are a wide variety of ADHD camp options throughout the United States. The Learning Disabilities Association of America has a directory of residential ADHD camps. When looking at an ADHD camp, research the campís philosophy on structure and discipline and the ADHD camps staff to child ratio.

Granted, an ADHD camp is not for everyone. They can be cost prohibitive for many families and some children simply might not be able to manage the change well.

Local day camps are options for younger children who are not yet ready for overnight or extended time camps. If your child is already accustom to day camps, it may be time to try a three to five day sleep-over camp.

Churches, local park departments, athletic clubs, Boys and Girls Scouts and YMCAs, Boys and Girls Club often offer summer camps. Summer camps can range from the standard outdoor camping fare to academics, sports, technology and other specialty camps.

When considering ADHD camps, include your child in the decision making process. Having a say in where he or she will be spending a portion on their summer will cast a more positive attitude on camp. It might also be helpful to coordinate camp times with a friend or an older sibling if the ADHD child is shy or not very outgoing.

Summer School

Although Attention Deficit Disorder children may not relish the thought of attending summer school, the Attention Deficit Disorder child can benefit greatly from summer school programs.

The few extra weeks of school during summer school can help the Attention Deficit Disorder child in retaining lessons learned in the previous year and get a jumpstart on the next school year.

Summer school programs tend to have smaller class sizes and more relaxed attitudes - ideal classroom combinations for the Attention Deficit Disorder child. More individualized instruction and flexible teaching methods are also benefits of summer school that produces greater benefits for student learning.

Keeping the Educational Edge

Children who struggle in school look forward to putting an end to the uncomfortable task of learning. Although children have three months away from the school bell, they should not take time off from learning.

Studies show that most students lose reading skills over the summer. However, children who read during the summer months actually gain skills. To help your Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD child, encourage reading at every opportunity.

Most public libraries offer summer reading programs and special activities for children. Many libraries will allow children with reading disabilities to participate in summer reading programs with taped children's books or will allow the parent to read books to the child. Participating in library summer reading programs helps keep everyone on the reading track.

Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD children can quickly forget the lessons learned during the school year. Use these tips to help your child maintain his educational edge;

  • Visit the local library weekly to restock books. While you are at it, pick up books on ADHD to help you better understand the disorder.
  • Establish a weekly "No TV" night to give everyone in the house undistracted reading time.
  • Be a reading example by reading with your child or while your child is reading his own books.
  • Let your child choose his own books. It is okay if your child chooses books below his reading capacity. Summer is relaxed reading time. You want your child to enjoy.
  • Read outside, at the beach or the park.
  • Use computer software programs designed for summer learning enrichment.
  • Keep a summer journal, write letters or e-mail to friends or relatives who live out of town to keep writing skills fresh.
  • Incorporate math into daily activities. Practice fractions by cooking, estimate driving distances for family trips or across town. At the grocery store, have you child mentally calculate costs.
  • Do jigsaw puzzles or build models to develop spatial skills.

Summer Activities

Unstructured fun time is the hallmark or summer. Sprinkle some of these summer activity ideas in between the structured activities to keep boredom at bay;

  • Every town has a history. Learn yours.
  • Find and visit a state or national park near you.
  • Collect fireflies in jars by night and insects by day. Teach children a respect for nature by releasing the critters back to the "wild."
  • Pitch a tent in the backyard for a close-to-home camping experience.
  • Take a walk in the woods, to a local park, through the neighborhood.
  • Let your child plan a field trip. Give them a set dollar amount and time allotment and see what they come up with.
  • Let your child plan dinner. Have your child plan a meal, make a grocery list, select the needed items at the store and help prepare the meal.
  • Develop daily chores to encourage responsibility. This will not fall under the "Summer Fun" category for your child but is a valuable lesson that children should learn. Make a chart of daily chores - making the bed, feeding the dog, washing dishes... - and when they are expected to do the chores.
  • Make a summer scrapbook to document the summer. Include trip souvenirs, ticket stubs, pictures...
  • Seek out academic-related activities in the community. The local library likely has a summer reading program and added enrichment activities during the summer months. While at the library, check out available ADHD books. Local museums, zoos and community organizations also may offer events.
  • Take out a summer membership at the YMCA or other athletic and fitness facility.
  • Use community resources. Most cities and towns spring to life during the summer months with outdoor concerts, festivals and park programs.
  • Some libraries offer craft programs, music and art programs and specialty classes from learning babysitting skills to computer skills.
  • Museums, zoos and local art associations also often have summer programs.
  • Stock up on art supplies: Pull out the crayons, markers, paints, glitter, glue, construction paper...whenever boredom hits.
  • Bake cookies, brownies or other easy to make treats. The "Energy Bar" recipe below is a healthy and easy to make recipe. Cooking and baking requires organizational skills and the ability to read and follow directions. Most kids love doing this because they receive a tasty reward at the end.
  • Create a put-put golf course in the backyard using tin cups, paper cups, sand traps, beach buckets - a baseball bat and tennis ball if you do not have clubs.
  • Make a photo album: Buy disposable cameras and turn your child loose to document his life. Beforehand, pick up a few books on childrenís photography at the library.
  • Grow a garden: Plant herbs in a small window box or a full-fledged garden on a plot of land on the back 40. Combine science learning with the project to add to the experience.
  • Plan fields trip with an educational theme. No matter where you live, chances are there is a noteworthy attraction within an hourís drive. Families who live in urban areas will have a greater sampling of events but there are still ample opportunities for families who live in smaller towns or in rural areas.

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