When my nephews demonstrate a developmentally appropriate executive skill (for example: delaying gratification, complying with parental requests, and managing emotions), I like to ask them "How exactly did you do that?"
Certainly, this question indicates the adult's curiosity in the child's experience, and serves to draw their awareness to their specific strategies in these areas. But even better, I get to hear some great answers. You can learn a lot about executive functioning by talking with someone who's in the early stages of mastering those important skills.
So this past weekend I noticed some real progress in my 8-year-old nephew's capacity for patient waiting (I had not seen him for a few months, which is an eternity in brain development in someone this young!). And I asked him how he has learned to be so patient. After a moment's reflection, he replied,
"fishing, waiting for the tides, and zoning out!"
Could you write a better prescription for teaching a person to develop patience? Think for a moment about the requirements of those three activities:
Unlike video games which provide almost-certain and immediate reinforcement, fishing is an activity which may or may not prove rewarding, and only after a period of preparation (packing the supplies and driving to the location) and waiting. And waiting. Yep, anglers know patience.