160 Calming Activities for ADHD Adults & Children

Do you want your child or your loved ones with ADHD to stop feeling restless, frustrated, and angry?

I’ve got you the most modern and best calming activities for ADHD children and adults!

Our list of relaxing activities for ADHD provides sensory input, helps a child self-regulate, reduces stress and anxiety, helps them be less fidgety, and helps them stay calm.

This is the most comprehensive list you can ever find on the internet – at least, for now!

So, search this long list to get the calming activities that work best for you.

Let’s start with the preparation for these exercises.

Table of Contents

Preparing the Calming Activities for ADHD Children and Adults

Before scheduling your child for any of the activities below, we’ve got some recommendations:

1. Wake up the Muscles

Squeeze their hands, shoulders, arms, and their fingers.

2. Use Brush Along the Skin

Another essential preparation technique is to brush along the skin. You can use a vibrating massager or a brush.

Why are these Preparations Important?

It will help the child or the adult to be aware of their body, helping them be more effective and accurate in their movements.

If your child has any tightness in their hands or arm, offer them an excellent stretch before implementing these activities.

A close friend will always insist: Irrespective of the results obtained, praise efforts!

How kind that is! Praising efforts motivates, even if they don’t succeed at first.

Okay, it’s time to explore this list. Fasten your seatbelt!

160 Modern and Practical Calming Activities for ADHD Adults and Kids

1. Wheelbarrow

Jill Mays is no stranger to wheelbarrow activities. She does it regularly with her three children.

What’s her experience? She said: “All the kids love it.” Why does she do it often?

Jill says wheelbarrow activity builds core strength and helps hands get more muscular.

In addition, it requires no ADHD calming toys.

It’s straightforward and can be done anywhere.

How to Perform Wheelbarrow Activity

  • Hold the child by their hips with their hands on the floor and their legs straddling you.
  • Ask the child to move around the floor, picking up some ADHD calming toys you’ve got. Let them pick as many as both of you can go.
  • Move hands down to the child’s knees and move around the room – You can still keep picking up objects.
  • You can also hold the child by their ankle. Be sure not to hang their tummy down; instead, keep their bottom in the air.

You can think of a game to add. It will make it more interesting.

As the child gets stronger, you could go even farther. For example, if you have a staircase, you can go up any steps.

Some experts who play this game will create an obstacle course to move over or around.

2. Hands and Knees Superman

Michelle Kenway is one of the Physiotherapists with much love for superman exercises.

Hands and knees superman can be paired with attention on breathing control.

Some kids might love the competitiveness of this activity by holding a pose for a particular duration.

It suggests holding each posture for a specific period.

How to Play Hands and Knees Superman with Kids or Toddlers

  • Like superman, reach out one of your arms straight out in the air.
  • To keep the arm up, a teacher or the parent can ask the child to keep a soft toy or balance a beanbag.
  •  Try to hold it for a minute.
  • After, the child can put the arm down and lift one leg straight out.
  • Hold this for a specified time, a minute.
  • They can also learn to hold the opposite arm and leg out simultaneously for a minute at least.
  • This move will challenge their elbow, shoulder, and hand stability.
  • Then try the other side.

3. Salt Dough

I’ve got a long-standing obsession with salt dough. If you try it once, you’ll come back to it repeatedly.

Hence, it’s one of the best calming activities for an ADHD child. In addition, it can be one of the perfect calming activities for ADHD at school.

Tara revealed that while her kids think that making and playing with salt dough is all games and fun, she mentioned that they are actually learning many essential skills.

These skills include improving math skills, learning what happens when they mix specific ingredients, and how they can measure liquids and solids.

Kneading, squashing, and pulling apart the play dough, are great exercises for hand strengthening.

To add more fun, hide objects in the dough and ask your kids to manipulate them to get the toy.

For many kids, repetitive pulling and kneading are relaxing and calming when feeling irritable.

Bonus point: There are different adaptations you can find on YouTube.

4. Climbing

In the article “Why children climb,” Frost, Joe L. mentioned five reasons this calming activity is incredible.

Development, fun, learning, and adrenalin are incredible advantages of this activity.

Climbing, regardless of its form, offers proprioceptive input and resistance, especially when the climbing is done via the hands and arms.

The climbing can be that of climbing furniture or even the stairs.

So what makes the game more fun?

The more weight that goes through the arms!

Ask your kids to hang on a monkey bar or move along the bars for more challenging ones.

Alternatively, they can hang off a door or a cabin bed frame. When you choose this, supervision is highly required!

Also Read this article: Top 60+ Resources for ADHD

5. Paper Scrunching

Your child can scrunch junk mail or a large piece of newspaper into smaller balls that can fit into their hands.

Now, instruct them to try it with a hand. Of course, this will be challenging. But that’s the idea.

Another idea is to ask them to set up a target where they can throw it in. A recycling bin can be a perfect idea.

This also activates the muscle required for pencil control. While it will calm the adult or the kid down, it will even do more!

6. Clothes Pegs

Clothes pegs are fascinating for children and by extension, adults with ADHD!

Tikal agrees that clothes pegs can be an excellent source of great fun and interest.

However, he emphasized that supervision is essential, especially for kids.

And the most important point from Tikal is that this calming activity enhances motor skills.

How to Play

  • Start by cutting a piece of hard card to a head shape. The kid can draw a face on the sheet and then use the pegs to make hair.
  • Another option could be to tie strings around one or two chair legs and peg the strings. Ask your child to remove those pegs. You can introduce arithmetic.
  • In your home, peg curtains or other items that you have with all your pegs.
  • Ask your kids to move around and ask them to deliver a specific number of pegs.

For example, you could say: “I need 60 pegs in this bowl; you’ll find them on the curtains!” This is both funny and a welcome distraction.

7. Squeezing Games

One excellent resistive activity is the squeezing games. It’s easy to start and play.

First, find an empty toothpaste tube, fill it with either yogurt or liquid, and hand it over to a child or an adult so they can have fun squeezing it.

They can also fill a bottle with any liquid and let them have fun squeezing out the liquid.

Finally, they can make snake dough with a plastic bag having a hole filled with playdough.

8. Using Scissors

Attention: If you opt for these calming activities for your child, they need to be monitored.

Using scissors is both an excellent and thrilling way to strengthen hands.

The kids might begin by learning to cut dough. This step helps the kids learn how to cut the right way.   

Kids might use the dough to make a snake and then cut them into pieces!

As they advance, you can draw more complex images and become more inventive with your cutting. Thereafter, they cut out those shapes.

Items to Use

  • Aluminum foil
  • Egg boxes
  • The crinkly inside chocolate or biscuit boxes
  • Cards

Begin with junk modeling with all of your recycling items. Doing this builds attention and planning to a task and imagination that benefits kids with ADHD!

9. Tongs

You can get the Silicon Mini Tongs.

Denise Louise and Amanda Wright are great advocates of Tongs!

Wright agreed that the Tongs are great to be played with. Denise uses it for kids in the classroom.

Tongs are amazing for resistance activities. Use the tongs to hand-pick soft toys, and socks.

This can function as a scavenger hunt too.

Inform them about the items they should pick up!

You can take pictures of those items and pick them up around the house.

Adults can even enjoy these tasks. It can be a healthy way to distract themselves from problems.

10. Nuts and Bolts

Sue, a Montessori-certified mother of 3 adorable kids, speaks highly of nuts and bolts toys!

She agreed that kids could be really thrilled and fascinated at how things can be assembled and put together.

And the nuts and bolts activities are important for helping them get this concept clearly.

With years of psych experience and professional adolescents under her belt, she believed that you wouldn’t regret introducing this to your adolescence.

You can start by collecting nuts and bolts you have in your home.  

Another alternative will be to get some plastic and nuts on Amazon. They are cheap; you can get more than a pair.

The next step is to proceed by getting a card. Therefore, cut small holes and amuse your child by asking them to thread the bolt through the holes.

Thereafter, they can screw the nuts onto them. This can allow them to make some excellent 3D art.

11. Music Does Magic

A little bit of music in the life of an adult with ADHD can be effective in curtailing tension and anxiety.

How does music help? It enhances engagement, attention, and working memory.

Calming music helps deliver stress relief for adults and children.

It might be time to incorporate music into your daily life if you have ADHD or a child with the condition.

12. Board Games

Most kids love board games. Why important? It teaches kids how to be patient. They are also sufficient for faster attention spans.

Simple and easy image puzzles are excellent calming activities for kids.

Thus, parents and teachers are encouraged to teach kids board games that demand a lengthier attention span.

With board games, your kids will improve their thinking and mental ability.

You can start with chess.

13. Crafts and Arts

In the article, Healing Power of Art, it was revealed that creative activities have the power to relieve stress.

Thus, there is no denying that this calming activity is excellent for calming children, even adults.

What do your kids love? Model building, sewing, painting, sewing, or drawing?

Ask your child with hyperactivity to get involved in this; it will be very encouraging!

14. Balloon Volleyball

It might not really surprise you to find this calming activity here.

Balloon volleyball is an exciting game. How did MP feel about Balloon Volleyball?

She expressed how much her five-year-old son loved it, claiming that it’s one of the easiest balloons she’s ever played with.

Will MP get it again? A resounding yes!

It can be an excellent soothing activity for as many children as possible.

It’s also an excellent game for one child if other children aren’t around.

How to Play

  • Draw a line
  • Ask your kids to blow the balloon in the air
  •  Ask them to run back and forth over the line till the balloon lands.

15. Use Fidgets

Fidgeting increases dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals play a significant role in increasing attention.

16. Perform Stretches

17. Perform some Yoga

18. Kaleidoscopes

This is one of the ADHD calming toys that can create fascinating and beautiful patterns for pleasure.

19. Sing ABCs

20. Chew Gum

21. Request for a Warm Hug

Kids can enjoy this. Adults can do this with their spouses too.  

22. Sing or Hum a Song

23. Go for a Brisk Walk

24. Chew on a Chew Toy

25. Wear Noise Reduction Gadgets

Headphones are perfect examples. You don’t have to break the bank. Get a simple one!

26. Use Stretchy Resistance Bands

27. Use a Weighted Animal or Weighted Snake

28. Utilize a Sensory Cuddle Swing

29. Pudding Play

30. Utilize a Compression or weighted vest

31. Listen to an Audio Book

32. Use a peanut ball or yoga ball

33. Set up a dot-to-dot puzzle or a maze

34. Catching or tossing the weighted ball

35. Practice a deep breathing exercise

36. Read a book

37. Rub lotion on

38. Make music or play an instrument

39. Follow along with music lyrics

40. Draw an item and clean it

41. Engage in deep-pressure massage

42. Wear sunglasses

43. Deep-pressure massage

44. Write a journal

45. Draw a picture of yourself or someone else

46. Color pictures in a coloring book

47. Utilize essential oils

48. Suck on Candies

49. Write a short fiction story

50. Diffuse essential oils

51. Bath Epsom salt

52. Bounce a ball or several balls

53. Visit a quiet sensory location

54. Cuddle a pet

55. Use a ball tent

56. Slowly count forward and backward

57. Have a bubble bath

58. Rub beads on hands

59. Wrap up in a warm blanket

60. Use a ball tent

61. Wash hands with warm water and scented soap

62. Close your eyes for minutes

63. Deep meditation

64. Focus on what you smell, taste, see, touch, and hear

65. Blow on a feather

66. Perform mindful activities

67. Brush your hair or style it

68. Play with foam

69. Play with clay

70. Play with shadow puppets

71. Perform heavy tasks

72. Build with building toys or blocks

73. Utilize a sensory calm-down bottle

74. Crawl through boxes

75. Rip up tissue paper

76. Make funny faces in the mirror

77. Have kids play in dry beans sensory bins

78. Drink a smoothie or milkshake using straw

79. Use a straw to blow pom poms

80. Push against a wall

81. Peer at a liquid sensory timer

82. Use each hand to draw figure 8

83. Use bath time paints and crayons

84. Play with Jella

85. Lay in bed using a compression sheet

86. Have fun with silly putty

87. Squeeze stress balls

88. Play with slime – You can make one too

89. Sit on an Ergo seat or Kore stool

90. Pop bubble wrap

91. Create art using Wikki Stix

92. Squish between cushions or pillows

93. Have fun with a water beads sensory bin

94. Look at pictures in a magazine or an album.

95. Play with whip cream

96. Have kids blow on a pinwheel

97. Lie down on a bean bag chair

98. Use a lap pad or weighted blanket

99. Hug or squeeze a toy or stuffie

100. Play with play-doh

101. Suck on ice

102. Wear an eye mask

103. Take a cold shower

104. Play with play-dah

105. Practice joint compressions

106. Blow bubbles in a bowl or cup

107. Use a mini massager

108. Listen to a bird’s sound through an APP or a CD

109. Play the ‘I Spy’ game

110. Make a craft that will be memorable

111. Mount on a body sock

112. Blow bubbles

113. Play a board game 

One player for a single person and multiple for several kids

114. Trace hands with fingers

115. Sniff stickers or smell scratch

116. Hug anyone

117. Read with a flashlight

118. Sit in a sensory tent

119. Doodle on a whiteboard or paper

120. Relax on pillows

121. Exercise

122. Swim for hours

123. Play in a sensory sand table or sandbox

124. Hug yourself

125. Have fun with water toys

126. Play with kinetic sand

127. Utilize a scooter board

128. Try to balance on a balance board

129. Use a quality vibration cushion

130. Visual calming card

131. Roll a small ball over your skin slowly

132. Use a scooter board

133. Use your fingers to pain

134. Paint a picture on the wall

135. Watch a snow globe

136. Toss beans bag

137. Play with rice bins

138. Lift mini lightweights

139. Play in a dry or cooked pasta bin

140. Make scented sensory jars

141. Talk about emotions and feelings

142. Cover yourself with a super soft blanket

143. Eat a crunchy fool

Carrots, coconuts, or cucumbers.

144. Carry a weighted backpack

145. Blow up balloons

146. Write a letter

147. Use a lava lamp

148. Spin on a spin toy

149. Examine a sensory bubble tube

150. Cat’s cradle

151. Use a rocking chair

152. Smell scented sensory jars

153. Examine a sensory bubble tube

154. Use a sensory projection light

155. Wear weighted hats

156. Use a huggable massager

157. Play with super soft toys

158. Use the playground tower

159. Have kids or adults use a fiberoptic sensory light

160. Watch funny skits

Final Thoughts

Adults and kids with ADHD can really stay calm! If you are a parent, these soothing activities for ADHD can get you the best feeling from your children.

All kids are extraordinary. Because of the difference that exists among them, they are all unique.

And for that reason, we’ve got great length to get you a whopping 160 calming activities for ADHD. 

Now, the bigger task is in your hand. What do I mean?

Find out which of these activities your kids love best. If you are an adult, it’s important to get try these activities.

We want both young and old to get empowered to achieve all they desire and put their minds at.

Emphasize kids’ positives and downplay their opposites.

With these activities, adults can stay calm and self-regulate!

Welcome! I’m Trust. I’m a writer, public instructor, and mobile photographer. I’m passionate about an organized and productive life and have keen concern for folks living with ADHD and those having a slow processing speed. Join me on this journey as we live an organized and productive life!

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