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Enjoying Summer with ADHD Kids

A lack of routine or structure can make the holidays more challenging for all families, but especially those where there are children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here are some ideas for activities you can do and tips for how to keep you and the kids sane!
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Enjoying Summer with ADHD Kids


A lack of routine or structure can make the holidays more challenging for all families, but especially those where there are children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here are some ideas for activities you can do and tips for how to keep you and the kids sane!

Stick to a routine

Without the structure of the school day, kids with ADHD may struggle and many will still need a routine in place. However tempting it may be to let them stay up late and then stay in their pyjamas all morning, it’s better to stick to a basic routine where the same things happen at the same time every day. This will also ease the transition back to school at the end of the holiday period.

Create a timetable 

Having a timetable in place will help you to be organised and will help children to feel prepared. It needn’t be complicated and if you create it with a child, giving them certain choices, they will feel more in control. You don’t have to create an amazing colour-coded masterpiece (although you can if you want!). Simply spending a minute at the beginning of every day (or week) discussing and noting down what you’re going to be doing is sufficient.

Keep them moving 

Children with ADHD usually struggle with sitting still for long periods of time. So try to keep the children moving and active where possible. For younger children, this could be as simple as setting up an obstacle course in the garden or going for a walk.

If the weather is not great, try searching for child-friendly workouts on YouTube. Joe Wicks became a household name during the 2020 lockdown. His New Kids Workouts are 5-10 minute videos designed to get children moving (they’re also much easier than his 2020 workouts!) Cosmic Kids Yoga produces a new Yoga Club video every week; each one combines a theme with yoga and mindfulness practice.

It can be harder to motivate older children, especially teenagers to participate in anything active. As much as you can, encourage them to meet up with friends outside.

Attend local events

After a difficult couple of years, most venues are now fully operational and keen to attract visitors. This means there are lots of events going on that your children may enjoy attending. It’s well worth checking out local publications and online information to keep up to date with what’s going on near you. 

Visitor attractions and events that are busy and noisy, can be overwhelming for a child with ADHD and/or sensory issues. Here are a few tips to avoid crowded places:

  • Visit popular indoor attractions on sunny days, when other people are outside.
  • Plan ahead and go to attractions as soon as they are open or later in the day. You may want to phone ahead and ask places when they are quietest.
  • Where possible, take your own food. New places have unfamiliar food and you don’t want to spend unnecessary time in queues.  
  • Find out what’s on at your local libraries. Many libraries do summer activities and reading challenges.

It’s also a good idea to see if there are any suitable holiday clubs and activities available in your area.

Use technology

Make use of technology for the kids to have a bit of downtime or to learn about something new. Technology can be a great resource, however, like anything it is best in moderation, so it is sensible to limit the amount of time spent using it where possible. If you need some ideas for ADHD child-friendly apps, then read our blog The Seven Best Apps To Help Kids With ADHD Thrive.

Learn new skills or set challenges

Why not teach the kids a new skill or set them a fun challenge? This is especially important for kids with ADHD who can become easily bored and restless. Some examples include cooking, gardening, skateboarding, trampolining or even DIY. These are great life skills and can help to develop their knowledge in a wide range of areas. These types of activities can sometimes lend themselves to short projects that span a few weeks.

Pinterest is an amazing resource of ideas if you need some inspiration for summer projects to do with your children. There is everything from craft ideas, recipes, physical games, gardening projects and much more. You can explore Pinterest here

Summer Holiday Activities For Kids 2022 has lots of ideas for activities and days out.

Ask your child

This may seem like an obvious one, but ask your child if there is anything that they’d really like to do this summer. Depending on what they say you may need to compromise, or break this down into smaller chunks but ultimately, if they want to do something, they will be more engaged in it. It’s important to communicate together well and to evaluate how things are going. Remember to keep checking how your child is feeling. Ask them regularly what they are enjoying doing.

Keep up the education

If you can, try to keep your child learning over the summer holidays while they’re not at school. Practical learning is great for children with ADHD. They may be able to use maths during activities such as baking or learn new facts about nature when you’re out and about. Remember, home is not school and a child mustn’t feel under pressure to learn. However, if you can find a way for them to learn that is based on their interests, they’ll learn a lot more. There are some good tips about unschooling here. This approach to learning involves finding learning opportunities in everyday situations.

It’s okay to have quiet days

It’s important to remember that a child with ADHD can be easily overwhelmed and hyper-sensitive to change and too much excitement. Sometimes parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to keep the kids going to places and doing activities every single day. Going out day after day is just too much for some children. It’s absolutely fine to have quiet days when you just stay at home and relax. You know your child best and if this is the best way to keep your home life harmonious, then do it!

Remember not to compare your family to other families. We are all unique and have our own way and reasons for doing things the way we do them.

Give yourself a break

It can be really difficult to suddenly have the kids at home all day every day. The summer holidays can seem to go on for a very long time. Make sure that you manage to get some alone time to yourself and that you’re not just a slave to your children. If you’re juggling work with childcare then it’s extra important for you to have some time just for yourself. It’s your summer too.

Be flexible

Children with ADHD can be unpredictable and things don’t always go to plan. If plan A doesn’t work, be prepared to change tactics and try something else.


Every child has a different set of needs and managing siblings can be tough. You may have more than one child with ADHD or other additional needs to contend with. Siblings falling out with each other can be extremely challenging for the whole family. If you can, try to give siblings a break from each other and let them take it in turns to choose activities. Time alone with one parent is often highly valued by children who usually have to share their parents. Of course, it’s not always possible for everyone but it’s worth trying if you can. 

Many of these tips are applicable if you go away on holiday too. A key takeaway is not to compare your family to other people’s. Ignore what other people post on social media highlighting their idyllic family time. It can be difficult to fill unstructured time for kids with ADHD. Remember you can only do your best and no parent gets it right all the time.

Further help and guidance

If you would like further support with managing symptoms for you or a loved one, then contact us at the ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via We offer private ADHD assessment for children (and adults) and ADHD treatments. We will be open throughout the summer holidays.

Updated June 2022

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We have been diagnosing and treating people with ADHD since 2009.

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