At Home EF Activities

#7 Executive Function @ Home Activity

All Ages
Piece Together Some Puzzles!
Areas developed: Attention, Flexible Reasoning, Working Memory, Processing Speed, Spatial Memory, Patience & Impulse Control

People with ADHD tend to have difficulty with attention, organization, and processing speed. This makes solving problems more difficult and time-consuming.

Take time today at home to work on some puzzles! Puzzles are great for engaging your brain in different ways to solve problems. There are so many puzzles to engage the brain in different ways. Crossword puzzles help strengthen organization and planning skills, while word searches help strengthen your pattern recognition and much more!

Puzzles are great for all ages! Weak executive function can often be attributed to having memory problems, not being able to find the right word, or having slower processing speed. There are other cognitive changes that occur due to the aging process. Your brain is like a muscle, and you can keep it strong by practicing puzzles all the way through adulthood.

Don't forget everyone's favorite - the Jigsaw Puzzle!
In our high tech world of iPads and X-boxes, sitting down with your child to put together a puzzle might seem antiquated. In reality, however, it is a tried and true method of strengthening the cognitive skills necessary for strong executive function, especially if you start early.

Modern manufacturers make puzzles appropriate for ages as young as 3, and starting early gives a child a strong foundation in negotiating low-stimuli activities before technology like cell phones or computers come into the picture. Plus, it gives you an excellent way to spend quality time with your child, where you can be actively engaged with them.

Most importantly, puzzles develop working memory and spatial memory, by which the child absorbs the shape, appearance, and positioning of various pieces, and uses that information to gradually construct a larger whole. Not to mention the sustained focus and patience it requires, which helps develop the ability to control impulsiveness. These skills are important for every age.

There are puzzles for every age. Puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers have anywhere from 4 to 8 pieces. The pieces themselves are large with colorful images children find appealing: from dinosaurs to spaceships. Appropriate age categories are printed right on the box, so as your child's ability increases, you can try puzzles of greater and greater complexity.

With such a large variety of puzzles, you can find the right puzzle for anyone. It can be a scheduled family night, every night before bed, or done with your morning coffee. You can do puzzles alone or with the entire family. Remember, if you work together on a puzzle you will also be working on communication skills.

Puzzles require you to be attentive, activate your memory, and have mental flexibility. By incorporating them into your daily schedule, you can train your executive function daily!