Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several months, chances are you’re familiar with fidget toys. Fidget spinners are one of the hottest toys among kids of all ages right now, and fidget cubes, flippy chains, and roller chain fidgets aren’t far behind. Stores can barely keep up with the demand for these hand-held fidgets and while teachers are banning them from their classrooms, kids are taking it to the next level and learning how to make a fidget toy themselves.
And they’re doing a pretty impressive job!
The internet is filled with photos and tutorials showcasing how to make spinners and other fidget toys, and if you’re the parent of a child with a neurological or developmental disorder like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and/or sensory processing disorder (SPD) who relies on fidgets for focus, you might have mixed feelings.
One the one hand, it’s great that fidget toys have reached a new level of acceptance among kids, but once the school board starts banning them from the classroom, those who legitimately require fidgets to concentrate in a school setting suffer. Fidget toys are confiscated, parent-teacher meetings take place, IEPs are adjusted, and when fidgets are permitted for certain students and not others, it makes them stand out even more.
And let’s face it: when our kids are different or have challenges other kids don’t necessarily understand, we desperately want them to fit in.
But this fidget toy craze isn’t all bad.
With more and more kids learning how to make fidget toys of their own, they are putting their creativity to work.
They are opening up a door that should be embraced instead of challenged.
Does this mean fidget toys should be allowed by every child in the classroom? NO! But through proper management, I feel teachers can put a positive spin on children’s interest in fidgets and create an excellent learning opportunity out of it.
We’ve pulled together 17 DIY fidget toys for kids to make below, but first, let’s take a deeper look at the science behind fidget toys.
What is a fidget toy?
Often dubbed as stress management toys, ADD toys, toys for ADHD, etc., 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.
Tell me how to make a fidget toy of my own!
If you want to know how to make spinners, we’re found some pretty impressive DIY versions, and we’ve also gathered together other options to get your child’s creative juices flowing. Perfect for an at-home project or a STEM activity in a classroom setting, these DIY fidget toys will NOT disappoint!
1. How to Make an Epic DIY Lego Fidget Cube | Lemon Lime Adventures
2. Ninja Fidget Spinner DIY | Red Ted Art
3. DIY Fidget Spinner | All For The Boys
4. DIY Soda Tab Fidget | Schooling a Monkey
5. Soda Bottle Top Fidget Toy | Instructables
6. Make Your Own Fidget/Stim Toy | Rare Wolves
7. Keyring Fidget | Stim Toy Box
8. LEGO Fidget Spinner | Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
9. Rings and Chain Fidget | Instructables
10. Tinkering Trees | Left Brain Craft Brain
11. Fidget Spinner STEM Challenge | Momgineer
Whether your child wants to know how to make a fidget toy to help him focus and concentrate in the classroom, or just to make him look cool amongst his peers, I encourage you to share these DIY fidget toys for kids with him. As parents and teachers, we should never stifle our children’s creativity, and who’s to say your child won’t go on to invent the next hot fidget toy to help kids with ASD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, SPD, or anxiety?
Martin Farquhar Tupper once said, ‘Invention is activity of mind, as fire is air in motion; a sharpening of the spiritual sight, to discern hidden aptitudes.’ Along those same lines, Jonathon Swift also said, ‘Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age.’
Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?
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