Planning, organization, time management, and self-control. These are just a few of the extremely critical executive functioning skills that we use every day to accomplish tasks and be successful. We use them so regularly that we may forget their importance. But to kids and teens (and yes, even adults) who lack these skills, the struggle is real.
What are Executive Functioning Skills?
Executive functioning skills are the abilities in our brain that help us to accomplish daily tasks. They include skills like planning, organization, task initiation, time management, and attention. It’s helpful to think of them as life skills, as they are the foundations of what helps us be successful in completing tasks and reaching goals.
Read more here on each of the executive functioning skills and how they each play an important role in our lives.
Executive Functioning Activities
Executive functioning skills can be strengthened and built up over time. Here are a few free printable (and some digital) activities you can use to teach your learners about executive functioning skills and why they matter.
1. Executive Functioning Free Workbook
Use this free printable executive functioning workbook to teach and give some basic practice with some of the skills. This is a great lesson to start you off if you aren’t quite sure how to introduce executive functioning skills to your learners.
2. Executive Functioning Home Activities
Executive functioning skills are life skills! Use this free printable executive functioning poster with a list of ideas that kids and teens can practice at home. They include meaningful tasks like planning a meal together (planning), having a conversation (attention), and tidying up a room (organization).
3. Executive Functioning Skills Poster
Hang this executive functioning poster up to reminder adults and kids about each of the executive functioning skills. This can help you remind kids and teens about using them in the moment. Bonus: This poster doubles as a coloring page. Just use the black and white version to have kids color as you discuss many of these important skills.
4. Organize the Room Activity
Use this hands-on activity to teach organization. Just print out the pages, cut out the items, and add them in the room where they should go. This lesson opens up the conversation about staying organized, why it is important, cleaning up after yourself, and much more.
5. Study Skills Checklist
In order for kids to do well, they have to know what is expected of them. This free printable study skills checklist helps kids and teens read through several study skills that matter most, from keeping binders organized to taking notes. This can be a helpful starting point when discussing study skills for success.
6. Problem-Solving Task Cards
While these free problem-solving task cards focus on social situations, these are perfect practice for planning, flexibility, and self-control. Simply put, problem-solving situations force us to active executive functioning skills in our brains.
7. Motivation Workbook
Use this free motivation workbook to help young adults think about task initiation, developing goals, and accomplishing tasks. The activities go over understanding what motivation is and how to develop strategies for staying motivated, even when it comes to tasks you might not want to do.
8. Homework Folder
Setting up a homework folder is a critical step in getting kids and teens organized during the school day. Use this printable homework binder directions page and cover page to get started.
9. Executive Functioning Escape Room
This free executive functioning escape room activity is a puzzle challenge that allows kids and teens to practice attention and working memory at the same time. Kids and teens will love unlocking the challenge. It’s also a great way to see how escape room activities work for your learners.
10. Executive Functioning Self-Assessment
One more bonus activity is this executive functioning self-assessment, available for free for Pathway 2 Success members in the free resource library. Use it to help kids and teens assess themselves how their executive functioning skills from organization to self-control and everything in between. Grab it in the free resource library or learn here about how you can join.
More Information on Executive Functioning
If you’re looking for more information, resources, and free ideas, I have them here for you. Read up on more executive functioning skills with the blog posts below:
- Executive Functioning Skills Explained
- Games to Improve Executive Functioning Skills
- 15+ Executive Functioning Strategies Teachers Can Use
- 5 Daily Struggles for Kids with Executive Functioning Challenges
- Interventions for Attention Challenges
- Interventions for Organization Challenges
- Practicing EF skills with Play Activities
- Using Task Cards to Teach Executive Functioning