Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BEST Executive Function Games, Apps and Activities

Before we can learn more about the best executive function resources, it is important to understand what executive function actually is.

Executive function
is the term used to describe a set of mental processes that helps us connect past experience with present action. We use executive function when we perform such activities as:

1. Managing time
2. Paying attention
3. Switching/changing focus
4. Planning and organizing
5. Remembering details
6. Speaking/acting appropriately to avoid saying/doing the wrong thing
7. Doing things based on one's experience
8. Multi-tasking

Executive function skills allow us to focus our attention, filter distractions, and switch mental gears. The ability to manage time effectively is also part of executive function.

These skills enable us to follow through and finish our work on time, ask for help when needed, wait to speak until we are asked or called on and seek more information when appropriate.

These planning, organizing, strategizing skills, along with the ability to pay attention and remember details impact us each and every day. Typically, those with ADHD have difficulty with executive function. It is part of the ADHD array of challenges. On the other hand, it is important to state that those with executive function disorder do not automatically have ADHD.

With that said, these executive function skills are learned and are typically not totally intact until after the teen years. Knowing this can help us realize that the instruction of planning and organizational skills is very important for children. Keeping this in mind should also help us be more patient when children forget to either do their homework or turn it in, as those executive function skills are not totally intact until the mid-twenties.

When one has poor executive function skills, learning can be considerably more difficult. Activities to build those executive function skills change and become more complex as an individual grows.

To help build or improve executive function effectively, consider the use of games, apps and other activities. These types of resources are more apt to grab the interest of an already-challenged attention span AND better engage an individual. Of course, the resources used must be age-appropriate and, whenever possible, should appeal to the individual's learning style, as well.

For this reason, and because of some recent email requests at the beginning of this new school year, we have gathered together a collection of these executive function resources to help our readers who care for and provide services to children with these challenges. We hope that if you are a parent, teacher, or one of these caregivers or support persons, you will discover all you need in the list that follows here.

For additional information and resources for executive function skills, please visit our related article entitled Brain-Training Games & Apps to Improve Executive Functions.

BEST Games to Help Improve Executive Functions

8 Fun Games That Can Improve Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills
by Lexi Walters Wright at

Family Games that Improve Executive Functioning
by What Do We Do All Day

Games to Improve Executive Function Skills
by Pathway 2 Success

BEST Apps to Help Improve Executive Functions

3 Apps That Lead to Improved Executive Functioning Skills
by Jennifer Sullivan and Ron Samul at eSchool News

Apps and Games That Can Improve Executive Function Skills in the Classroom
by Leah Watkins at LearningWorks for Kids

FREE Webinar Replay: The Right Way to Train Your Brain: How to Improve Processing Speed and Executive Function with Games and Apps
with Randy Kulman, Ph.D., and James Daley
FREE hour-long webinar, downloadable slide presentation and strategies from ADDitude via email.

BEST Activities to Help Improve Executive Functions

Activities to Improve Executive Function Skills
by Bonnie Terry Learning

20 Activities To Improve Executive Function
by Dr. Lynne Kenney

Activities Guide: Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence
from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus, attention, and improved executive function, please visit: ---Tools for struggling readers of all ages!

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC and Pixabay