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
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
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
- 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
- Do jigsaw puzzles or build models to develop spatial skills.
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
- Pitch a tent in the backyard for a close-to-home camping
- Take a walk in the woods, to a local park, through the
- 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
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
- Some libraries offer craft programs, music and art programs
and specialty classes from learning babysitting skills to computer
- Museums, zoos and local art associations also often have
- 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.