Fidgets: Are They Tools or Toys?

Fidgets: Are They Tools or Toys?

Fidget toys are manipulatives designed to reduce restlessness and help kids focus. Fidgets include spinners and fidget cubes, squishy balls, fuzzy rings, tangle puzzles, putty and many more.

Spinners and push pop fidget devices were initially billed as tools for kids with attention or sensory challenges, such as those diagnosed with ADHD and autism. They were designed as a therapeutic outlet, to help calm anxious kids and provide aid in their need to be constantly moving. Fidget tools can help kids with sensory processing disorders tune out other sensory stimuli and focus. They may also help with their breathing and calming nerves, especially for children who are highly anxious.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “killing two birds with one stone”; and if you haven’t, please ignore the unnecessary violence in that sentence - it’s not as bad as you think. It basically means to achieve two things by doing a single action, like dropping off the mail as you bring your kids to school. And although it may not seem like it, fidget toys are a great example of this. 

Fidget toys are manipulatives designed to reduce restlessness and help kids focus. Fidgets include spinners and fidget cubes, squishy balls, fuzzy rings, tangle puzzles, putty and many more.

Spinners and push pop fidget devices were initially billed as tools for kids with attention or sensory challenges, such as those diagnosed with ADHD and autism. They were designed as a therapeutic outlet, to help calm anxious kids and provide aid in their need to be constantly moving. Having something to manipulate deals with your body's need for movement so that your brain can focus on the task at hand.

Fidget tools can help kids with sensory processing disorders tune out other sensory stimuli and focus. They may also help with their breathing and calming nerves, especially for children who are highly anxious. 

Many studies have shown fidgets can also help break bad habits, such as biting nails and sucking their thumb, and can help in curbing compulsive behaviors in kids who struggle with OCD. 

However, because of the rise in popularity of fidgets, many manufacturers have geared their marketing to the “play” aspect, positioning them as a "fun toy" as opposed to serving their initial purpose of being a sensory tool.

While children who have diagnosed ADHD or other types of sensory disorders are allowed to use these manipulations during class, kids without these conditions, and who don’t require the tools in order to focus, can become easily distracted at the idea that there is a new “toy” available. 

On the plus side, the growing popularity of fidget toys means that they are more readily available for all kids who may be stressed or struggling in school; and, given the current situation with the pandemic, these mental health struggles have been much more common in all children, even those without an ADHD, autism or mental health diagnosis. Many children reported using fidget toys during online schooling helped them to focus and provided them with a quick reset or break for their brain before returning to the lesson at hand. 

Below we’ve listed some of our favourite figet toys for kids, all available in store or online! 

 

Go Pop - One of the most popular fidget toys of 2021 and a tictok phenomenon, the Go Pop is a mini round game board that has small circles that can be popped in and out. This can be used as any game and the rubbery material can be washed easily and is very hygienic. It makes very little noise, so it can be used for quiet play anywhere, and is easily portable to bring anywhere, especially because it’s water resistant! Aside from the classic circular Go Pop and it’s various colors, there are also ones that glow in the dark, glitter, mini (keychains), and fun holiday shapes like a Christmas tree or a Santa hat! 

 

Pop Tube - A pop tube is a compressed tube that makes a “pop” noise when stretched! Because it compresses, it’s a great pack up and go toy and can be twisted, connected, and bended into many different shapes. They are also open-ended toys, and can be used to build all types of things for other games. Each tube is sold separately and you can choose from six different colors! 

 

Dimpl - This high quality white plastic frame is decorated with five multicolored buttons made of food based silicone. Like the Go Pop, these bubbles can be pressed in and out. Rated as one of the top toys of 2019, it’s safety tested, easily washable, waterproof, and a great environmentally friendly toy guaranteed to last through countless hours of play and is designed to encourage sensory, fine motor skills, and cause learning effect in infants and toddlers.

 

Snapperz Rainbow - Grab. Snap! Smile. Repeat. With this aesthetically pleasing rainbow fidget toy that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, two suctions compress together and cause a “pop!” noise that appeals to the sanses. Measuring 2 ⅓  inches in diameter, this toy is a fresh take on the idea of a “stress ball” in the form of a cube. When kids are feeling overwhelmed, encourage them to give this cube a quick squeeze to release the tense muscles. 

 

Whether you agree with the usefulness of fidget toys, or feel that they are more a toy than a tool, there’s no denying that we can all use a little stress relief. 

 

To check out these fidget toys, and many more, check out our collection of sensory toys at Chickadee Kids Co at 2178 Mountain Grove Ave in Burlington, or visit our various selection online!

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