Posted: 10:09 pm Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Best games to fill summer hours and strengthen executive function 

By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

The Atlantic.com featured a great list of games that can help kids strengthen their executive function. The brain’s frontal lobe controls executive function and helps a person achieve goals. Often kids with ADHD also have issues with their executive function.

From WebMD: 

Executive function includes the ability to:

  • manage time and attention
  • switch focus
  • plan and organize
  • remember details
  • curb inappropriate speech or behavior
  • integrate past experience with present action

When executive function breaks down, behavior becomes poorly controlled. This can affect a person’s ability to:

  • work or go to school
  • function independently
  • maintain appropriate social relationships”

From The Atlantic:.com:

 “Kids with weak executive function face numerous challenges in school. They find it difficult to focus their attention or control their behavior—to plan, prioritize, strategize, switch tasks, or hold information in their working memory. As a teacher and a parent, I’m always looking for fun ways to shore up these skills in my students and my children.”

“Dr. Bill Hudenko, child psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, uses board games in his practice to diagnose and strengthen these much-touted executive function skills. He also encourages parents to play these games with their children at home.”

Here are some of Dr. Hudenko’s favorite games to strengthen executive function:

 * Swish

“Children with executive functioning deficits often struggle with the heavy working memory demands of mentally rotating the cards and sequentially identifying additional card matches. This game also is particularly helpful for developing an appropriate balance between impulse control and increasing processing speed as the child is trying to be the first to identify a “swish.”

Quarto!

Quoridor

Set

* Chess

The article explains each game and then also offers adaptions. I have never heard of any of these except for chess but I think I would like to order one or two.

Have you heard of any of these games? Do your kids like them? Can you see how they would help strengthen executive function?

4 comments
RealKat
RealKat

Is that "Geisel" School as in Dr. Seuss?

Lord Humungus
Lord Humungus

Give the kid a stick and put him in the backyard. Let him get bored - creativity flows to ease boredom.

RealKat
RealKat

Other than chess, I'm drawing a blank as well. I wonder how old these are - or if they were only released lately. Interesting.