Whether you have a special needs child or just a child that needs a little focus strategy, or method to distress, a fidget toy will help them recenter and reengage. There are a lot of fidget toys, but there are a few that really shine.
If you are not familiar with fidget toys, they offer support when kids are upset or stressed. The fidget encourages the child to focus on the movement, the sound, the texture. This allows them to slow down their heart rate and respiration as they turn their attention to the toy vs. the stressful situation. As a result, it enables them to self-regulate, or release and soothe stress.
As a toy expert over the past decade with experience in working with autistic children, fidget toys often provide the strategy kids need. You can find these in most retailers like Learning Express, Walmart, or Amazon.
We all know a classic fidget Spinner is a great option for most kids. However, I do know many schools have banned them and they do have a tendency to get into hair and get stuck. So while they are still a great fidget toy, here are some others to consider.
SENSORY FIDGET TUBES (Hand2Mind)
Each set of sensory fidget tubes comes with 1 calming glitter tube, 1 fantastic fidget tube, 1 magical reverse hourglass, and 1 soothing gravity spinner. No batteries, no electronic noises. Having one of each of the sensory tubes offers a unique experience depending on what the child needs and how they react. So you have one on hand for anything that may arise.
CHUCKLE & ROAR POP IT! (Buffalo Games)
Pop It! from Chuckle & Road provides a great sensory interaction and keeps kids engaged and little hands busy. Not only does it provide a fidget opportunity, but it also works on fine motor skills. While there are a lot of similar products in the market, what I like about Chuckle & Roar’s version is that it is washable and durable. Plus, it can also be played as a game, so it offers a lot of value. There is even a number/letter version that can be a fun tactile way to work on educational concepts for children who have processing issues or ADHD. You can find both options at Target.
DIMPLE DIGITS (Fat Brain Toys)
What I love about Dimple Digits is that they are larger silicone bubbles so even younger children can engage in sensory soothing – in addition to working on fine motor skills. My favorite is the keychain version. Kids can take it with them to school, but it is also really discrete for older kids. They can leave it in their pocket and fidget with it there without having to draw attention to themselves. The pop is more discrete than the Pop It version above – if you don’t want that bubble wrap sound effect. There are other Dimple Digit styles – like one that looks like a flower and has Spanish and English numbers. There is also one shaped like a butterfly.
SILLY PUTTY (Crayola)
With all the slime and compounds out there, it is hard to remember the original putty. However, it offers the same fidget experience, but in a small little egg shape that you can take with you anywhere. At such an inexpensive price point, it is easy to take and toss or refresh when it gets a little dirty. You can also have several stashed around the house, car, purse, etc for easy access. You can often find them in craft stores, supermarkets and dollar stores. Or you can get a bulk pack on Amazon.
BLOCKAROO (Blue Marble)
Blockarros are soft-sided foam blocks that are dishwasher safe, float in water, and click together using magnets. Plus, they rotate. While Blockaroo sets are great building blocks, they also can double as a fidget. Just take two of them and you can snap them together over and over, or rotate them. Both actions act as a fidget. Then you get the bonus of having a great building toy, pool toy, or bath toy!
This list will be updated as more toys come on the market. I know a few more that will be hitting store shelves this year! So make sure to subscribe to this blog to stay updated. You can find the subscribe button on the right!
Need some ideas for sensory toys? Check out this post!