If you’ve seen children entranced by a spinning object in their hands or squeezing a squishy toy, then you’ve encountered the fascinating world of fidget toys. Not only are they captivating and fun, but fidget toys for kids also serve an essential purpose in promoting better focus, calming nerves, and improving sensory processing.
Fidget toys come in various shapes, sizes, and textures, each offering unique sensory experiences designed to occupy children’s hands and minds. They range from spinning tops, known as fidget spinners, to cubes filled with buttons and switches, known as fidget cubes. There’s a wide variety to choose from, such as squishy mochi toys, tactile marble and mesh fidgets, and even magnetic toys that can be shaped and reshaped into various configurations.
These toys are particularly beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, or sensory processing disorders. However, they can also be enjoyed by all children as they offer an effective way to concentrate and calm down. These little tools provide big benefits, making them a popular choice in homes, classrooms, and therapy sessions.
Join us as we delve deeper into the world of fidget toys for kids, exploring their benefits, different types, and how to choose the best one for your child’s needs.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Fidget Toys
Promoting Focus and Concentration
One of the primary benefits of fidget toys is their ability to improve focus and concentration. But how exactly does a toy do that? Well, when we engage in a light, non-distracting physical activity, such as squeezing a stress ball or spinning a fidget spinner, the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain are increased. These chemicals are responsible for maintaining alertness, focus, and concentration. By quietly fidgeting, we give our brains just the right amount of stimulation to keep these chemicals flowing and our attention sharp.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Fidget toys are excellent tools for managing stress and anxiety. When we’re nervous or anxious, our bodies naturally want to move. It’s a part of the fight or flight response. Fidget toys provide an outlet for this pent-up energy, allowing us to channel it into harmless, repetitive movements. This can help to calm our minds and make us feel more relaxed. In addition, the simple act of playing with a tactile object can be soothing and comforting, similar to how a child finds solace in a favorite blanket or toy.
Aiding in Sensory Processing
For individuals with sensory processing issues, like those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), fidget toys can be incredibly helpful. These toys provide a range of tactile, visual, and auditory stimuli that can help in regulating the sensory system. They offer a safe and effective way to explore different sensations, which can lead to better sensory integration.
Improving Fine Motor Skills
The use of fidget toys can lead to significant improvements in fine motor skills. Manipulating the toys requires various actions like gripping, twisting, pulling, and pinching that strengthen the muscles in the hands and fingers. This can lead to improved hand-eye coordination, agility, and manual dexterity.
Supporting Emotional Regulation
Emotional regulation is the process by which we influence which emotions we have, when we have them, and how we experience and express them. Fidget toys can serve as a form of self-regulation tool by providing a physical activity to help distract and soothe during times of emotional distress. By focusing on the toy, an individual can shift their attention away from a stressful situation and onto a neutral or positive stimuli.
Encouraging Active Learning
When it comes to learning, active engagement is key. Fidget toys can help achieve this by stimulating the brain through physical activity, which in turn increases alertness and attention. They also can help learners manage their energy levels by offering an outlet for restlessness, which can enhance their overall academic performance.
Promoting Mindfulness and Grounding
Lastly, fidget toys can aid in the practice of mindfulness, which is the act of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. The tactile stimulation from the toys can encourage individuals to focus on their physical senses, grounding them in the present moment, and reducing feelings of overwhelm or distress.
Our Guide to the Best Fidget Toys
Fidget toys come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. Some offer a quick, satisfying snap or pop, while others provide a slow, soothing rotation. Let’s dive into a detailed analysis of some of the best fidget toys out there.
Busy Board House
These Busy Boards Houses are motor skill activity centers that appeal to children of all ages because they’re made with everyday items such as Zippers, latches, knobs, handles and wheels are just the beginning, the possibilities are endless.
A fidget spinner is a small, ball-bearing device that the user can rotate between their fingers. This spinning motion and the balance of the toy offer an enjoyable sensory experience.
Fidget spinners are arguably the most famous of the fidget toys. They gained massive popularity for their ability to provide a quick and satisfying sensory experience. The consistent motion can have a calming effect on the user and can help increase focus and attention.
A fidget cube is a small handheld device (about the size of a dice) with different tactile features on each side. This includes buttons to press, switches to flip, and dials to turn.
Fidget cubes are great because they offer a range of tactile experiences in one compact device. They can be used in a discreet manner, making them perfect for situations like classrooms or offices where quiet fidgeting is needed.
Sensory rings are circular fidget toys that you can roll up and down your fingers. They are usually made of woven mesh or other textured materials.
Sensory rings can provide both a tactile and a visual sensory experience. The motion of rolling the rings can be calming, and the texture of the rings stimulates the tactile senses, promoting focus and attention.
Tangle toys are a series of curved plastic pieces that connect and pivot at multiple joints, allowing you to twist and turn the toy into various shapes and designs.
The endless configurations of Tangle toys can provide hours of fidgeting fun. They promote fine motor skills development and can help with stress relief by providing a distraction for overactive hands.
Pop Its are silicone toys covered in small “bubbles” that can be popped in and out. It’s like reusable bubble wrap!
The simple act of popping can be surprisingly satisfying. Pop Its provide a satisfying tactile and auditory experience that can help relieve stress, increase concentration, and even provide some fun!
Thinking Putty is a silicone-based substance that can be stretched, squished, twisted, and molded.
Thinking Putty is fantastic for tactile stimulation and can be very soothing. It offers endless opportunities for hand exercise, reducing stress, and stimulating the creative side of the brain.
Mochi toys are small, soft, squishy toys usually designed to resemble cute animals or food items. They’re made from a type of thermoplastic known as TPU, making them incredibly stretchy and durable.
Mochi toys are great for tactile stimulation. Their squishy texture and the resistance they provide when squeezed can be very satisfying. They’re also small and quiet, making them ideal for discreet fidgeting in a classroom or office setting.
Metal Fidget Toys
Metal fidget toys come in a variety of forms, including spinners, cubes, and puzzle-like interlocking pieces. They’re made from durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum.
The cool, smooth texture of metal fidget toys can be very soothing. The weight of the metal can also provide satisfying sensory feedback. These toys are often more durable than their plastic counterparts, making them a good choice for individuals who may be rougher on their fidgets.
Magnetic Fidget Toys
Magnetic fidget toys are comprised of small, magnetic pieces that can be connected, shaped, and re-shaped into various configurations.
Magnetic fidget toys offer endless possibilities for creative play. The act of connecting and disconnecting the magnets provides a satisfying tactile and auditory experience. These toys can also promote fine motor skills and spatial reasoning.
Slug Fidget Toys
Slug fidget toys are long, flexible toys often made of rubber or silicone. They’re typically brightly colored and segmented, similar to a caterpillar.
These toys are great for tactile stimulation and can be twisted and manipulated in a variety of ways. The act of bending and flexing the toy can provide a sense of comfort and control, which can aid in stress and anxiety reduction
Advent Calendar Fidget Toys
An Advent calendar fidget toy set offers a great variety, making it an excellent option for those who enjoy having many different types of fidgets. The anticipation of opening a new toy each day can also provide an added layer of enjoyment and excitement.
Flippy chains consist of two interlocked rings and a chain. They are usually small enough to be concealed within one’s hand and manipulated with fingers.
The simple movement of flipping the chain and feeling the connected rings provides a smooth and repetitive sensation. It’s an excellent toy for those who need something unobtrusive, making it a popular choice for classroom and office environments.
Infinity Cube Fidget Toys
Infinity cubes are small cubes that can be folded and unfolded in endless loops. They’re often made from metal or plastic.
The continuous folding and unfolding motion of the infinity cube can be very soothing and help to relieve stress and anxiety. This toy also encourages fine motor skills and offers tactile and visual
Marble and Mesh Fidgets
Marble and Mesh Fidgets are small tubes of mesh that contain a marble. The user can push or manipulate the marble back and forth through the mesh.
The act of moving the marble provides tactile feedback and can be both calming and focus-enhancing. They’re small, quiet, and easily portable, making them perfect for discreet use.
Wacky Tracks are snap-and-click toys made of links that can be formed, bent, and shaped into endless configurations.
Apart from promoting fine motor skills, these tracks are also great for fostering creativity. The snapping sound coupled with the tactile sensation of shaping the tracks can be satisfying for many users.
Squeeze Balls or Stress Balls
Typically made of foam or gel-like substances, these balls return to their original shape after being squeezed.
The act of squeezing can help reduce stress and anxiety. They’re beneficial for strengthening hand muscles and can act as a physical outlet for pent-up energy or tension.
Peapod Sensory Toys
They are small silicone pods containing three peas. When squeezed, the peas pop out, and they can be pushed back in.
The repetitive motion of popping the peas in and out can be very satisfying. They’re small and silent, making them perfect for inconspicuous use.
Puzzles and Brain Teasers
These are toys or sets of interlocked pieces that challenge the user to solve a problem, separate the pieces, or find a specific configuration.
They not only act as fidget tools but also stimulate cognitive functions. Engaging with them can help improve concentration, patience, and problem-solving skills. The satisfaction derived from solving a puzzle can be a significant mood booster!
These are necklaces, bracelets, or other forms of jewelry made from safe, non-toxic materials designed for chewing.
For individuals who have a habit of chewing on items like pens, nails, or clothing, chewable jewelry can be an excellent substitute. They provide a safe and acceptable way to satisfy the oral sensory need.
Final Words From Me
In the exciting world of fidget toys, there is truly something for everyone. These diverse, engaging, and multi-sensory toys offer numerous benefits that can greatly improve a child’s focus, calmness, and overall sensory processing. From the visually mesmerizing spinners to the tactility of squishy mochi toys, the subtle movement of flippy chains, or the creative potential of magnetic fidget toys, there’s a fidget toy to suit every child’s unique needs and preferences.
- Are fidget toys good for adults?
Absolutely! While they’re often marketed towards kids, adults can also reap the numerous benefits of fidget toys.
- Can fidget toys help with anxiety?
Yes, they can. Fidget toys can help manage anxiety by providing a distraction and releasing pent-up energy.
- Where can I buy fidget toys?
Fidget toys can be bought from various online retailers, toy stores, and specialty stores.
- Are fidget toys safe?
Generally, yes. However, make sure to check for age recommendations, choking hazards, and product quality before purchasing.
- Are all fidget toys the same?
No, they are not. As we’ve explored in this article, there are many different types of fidget toys, each offering unique benefits and sensory experiences.