Home » Blog » Lesson Plans » Elementary Executive Functioning Games

Post Image
Lesson Plans

Elementary Executive Functioning Games

Executive functioning skills are crucial for planning, focusing attention, remembering instructions, and juggling multiple tasks successfully. For elementary students, developing these skills is not only essential for academic success but also for thriving in daily life. By integrating the following elementary executive functioning games into your lesson plans, you can provide a fun and effective way to boost these critical skills.

Understanding Executive Functioning

Three main types of brain functions are important for executive functioning: working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. These functions allow individuals to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention to and remember details, and manage time and space. For elementary-aged children, developing these skills is foundational for learning, behavior, and navigating social interactions.

The Power of Games in Learning

Games are a powerful tool for learning, especially when it comes to developing executive functioning skills. They offer a hands-on, engaging way for students to practice these skills in a safe, supportive environment. Furthermore, the beauty of using games is their ability to be seamlessly integrated into classroom activities or speech-language therapy sessions, requiring minimal preparation while yielding significant learning outcomes.

Lesson Plan: A Week of Elementary Executive Functioning Games

Day 1: Memory Masters

Objective: Improve working memory through a simple card game.

Materials: A deck of cards

Activity: Shuffle the deck and lay the cards face down in a grid. The goal is for students to find pairs of matching cards, turning over two at a time. To succeed, they must remember the locations of previously turned-over cards. This game can be played in small groups or as a class, with students taking turns.

Day 2: The Planning Path

Objective: Foster planning and organizational skills.

Materials: None

Activity: Create an obstacle course in the classroom using desks, chairs, and other available materials. Before navigating the course, each student must plan their path and verbalize it. This activity encourages students to think ahead and strategize, key components of executive functioning.

Day 3: Simon Says, “Focus!”

Objective: Enhance inhibitory control and attention.

Materials: None

Activity: A classic game of “Simon Says” challenges students to pay close attention and control their impulses. The leader gives commands starting with “Simon says” for actions to follow, and commands without this phrase should not be followed. This game tests and improves students’ ability to filter out distractions and follow instructions.

Day 4: Creative Constructors

Objective: Boost cognitive flexibility through creative problem-solving.

Materials: Building blocks or any available materials for construction

Activity: Challenge students to build a structure that meets certain criteria (e.g., a bridge that can hold a specific weight, the tallest tower possible). This activity encourages creative thinking and adaptability, as students may need to revise their strategies based on the materials and rules provided.

Day 5: Time Managers

Objective: Develop time management and planning skills.

Materials: Timer, list of tasks (simple classroom chores or academic tasks)

Activity: Students are given a list of tasks to complete within a set timeframe. They must decide the order of tasks and estimate how long each will take, adjusting their plan as necessary. This game simulates real-life planning and time management challenges, preparing students for more complex tasks.

Bonus Game- Executive Functioning Bingo From Everyday Speech

Play individually or as teams with this fun and engaging web game! Students will talk through various strategies (shown as visual icons below) and either answer questions about how to apply them or view video modeling clips demonstrating the skills.

Unlock your material for this lesson by signing up for your free trial today – no credit card required!

Sign up & get your poster now!

Instant access to thousands of no-prep social skills activities, over 800+ video lessons, and engaging games designed to enhance learning and development.

Sample Video

Students learn best from watching real students their own age model skills. Try out this sample video lesson. We offer our entire Social-Emotional Learning platform free for 14 days here!

Related Blog Posts:

Free SEL Elementary Video Lesson to Teach Executive Functioning

Free Executive Functioning Material

Free Executive Functioning Worksheets

Post Image


Better doesn’t have to be harder!

Social Skills Lessons Students Actually Enjoy!

Be the best educator you can be with no extra prep time needed. Sign up to get access to free samples from the best Social Skills and Social-Emotional educational platform.