If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, chances are you’ve heard of fidget toys. More specifically, you’ve probably noticed that fidget spinners have become all the rage with kids from elementary school through high school – and that some teachers are going as far as to ban spinner toys in the classroom – but what few people realize is that fidgets weren’t originally designed to be distracting, annoying fads for kids.
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Quite the contrary, actually.
Fidget toys can benefit kids and adults with neurological and developmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and sensory processing disorder (SPD) in so many different ways!
So, what is a fidget toy?
Often dubbed as stress management toys, fidgets are self-regulation tools that provide sensory and tactile input to help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety while simultaneously improving levels of concentration and focus. They also help strengthen the muscles in the hands needed for motor skills like handwriting.
How do fidget toys work?
Fidgets offer relief for children and adults who have trouble sitting still. By providing quiet body movement, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain remain active, which increases focus and keeps distracting thoughts (i.e. worries and anxieties) at bay. Fidget toys also keep fingers and hands busy, which can help keep nervous habits to a minimum, which also has a positive impact on one’s ability to concentrate.
Who can benefit from fidget toys?
I think we can all benefit from fidget toys to a certain degree, and while they may be all the rage with young kids these days, they are most beneficial to those who struggle to sit still due to stress, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, OCD, ASD, and/or SPD.
What are the best fidget toys for kids?
With so many different fidgets available, it’s hard to know which ones are the best. Fortunately, they aren’t overly expensive to purchase, and since every child has their own unique needs and respond to sensory input differently, my best advice is to buy several and test them out to see which ones your child likes the best. Try to avoid fidget toys that are loud and distracting if you’re looking for a tool to help your child in the classroom, and watch out for cheep knock-offs!
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Here are 11 of the best fidget toys for kids based on my own personal trial and error.
1. Flippy Chain Fidget Toy: Allows for smooth rolling and twisting movements for little hands, making this the perfect fidget for quiet venues like school, library visits, and church.
2. Fidget Cube: This one is a HUGE hit in our household. It’s perfect for kids with lots of energy as it helps them focus, and it also does wonders for those who suffer from anxiety, ADHD, and OCD as it helps promote a sense of calm. I particularly love the spinning feature. As a high-strung Type A personality, I find it very soothing!
3. Tangle Jr.: If your child has trouble sitting still, this is a great fidget toy to consider. Tangles are meant to be taken apart, allowing your child an easy way to express her creativity while simultaneously keeping her hands busy when she’s trying to sit still. Perfect for travel, doctors offices, etc., Tangles offer a great way to keep kids quiet without the use of electronic devices.
4. My Fidget Friend: This fidget is great for self-regulation and many teachers and therapists recommend this as a tool to help kids with ASD, ADHD, and OCD. Sliding the marble within the sleeve back and forth helps promote focus and concentration while also alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety, and it’s super portable to boot!
5. Toysmith Wacky Tracks: While I wouldn’t recommend this as a classroom fidget, Wacky Tracks are another great way to keep restless kids busy when they need to sit still. The chain can be bent into countless different shapes, allowing kids to use their imagination while also keeping them calm.
6. Fidget Pad: This is very similar to the Focus Cube, but it’s more compact and fits easily into a child’s pocket. I also love that it has a small cord/handle so you can attach it to your child’s belt/belt loop for easy access in school and while on the go.
7. Hand Fidget Spinner Toy: As much as I’d like to, I simply couldn’t write a post featuring the best fidget toys for kids without including the hand fidget spinner toy! While many schools have banned these toys as they’ve gained popularity, they really do offer a great way to help kids (and adults) with autism, ADHD, OCD, and SPD relieve feelings of stress and anxiety while also improving focus.
8. Roller Chain Fidget Toy: If your child likes to spin, this fidget toy is a great option. Kids can easily slip the chain links over their fingers and then twist them around and around. It’s a great way to create sensory input without the noise and distraction of other, more popular spin toys.
9. Fidgeto Sensory Fidget Bracelet: If you’re looking for a fidget toy your child can wear on his body, this may be the answer to your prayers. Fidget sensory bracelets offer a quiet way for children with ADHD, autism, anxiety, stress, and SPD to fidget discretely while they’re in school.
10. Sensory Fidget Stretch Toys: Perfect for tactile stimulation, you can pull, bend, squeeze, and stretch these fidget toys, making them another quiet way for kids to fidget in a classroom setting.
11. Monkey Stringy Balls: If you’re a parent who grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember Koosh Balls, but I bet you didn’t realize they are perfect for fidgeting and providing sensory and tactile stimulation to young kids!
If your child struggles to concentrate due to feelings of stress and anxiety, or suffers from a neurological or developmental disorder like ASD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, or SPD, fidgets are an excellent self-regulation tool to help promote focus in classroom settings. We hope this collection of the best fidget toys for kids will give you and your child the tools needed to
succeed at school and at home!
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