You might think that fidget toys are a new phenomenon, but the really are not. It is just that they are currently being brought into the mainstream. We were first introduced to them by Mini’s occupational therapist a few years back and we now have quite a selection, so I thought I would share with you what we have, how and why they work for us.
The best fidget toys for children as tested by Mini
Mini is a fidgeter, he can not sit still. Never has been able to and this used to result in him looking for stimulation and he would swing on his chair, snap pencils, chew on things, pull zips up and down and lots of other things. When he has a meltdown or gets anxious he often keeps flipping the light switch on and off. Fidget toys or fidgets as we call them are a great way of keeping his fingers busy and his mind relaxed enabling him to concentrate more. No longer do we find the buttons on the remote control pulled off, instead he sits with one of his fidget toys. He clicks the switch on his fidget cube rather than a light switch constantly so I have stopped worrying about him blowing the house fuse.
But we have never just kept the fidgets for Mini. We also let Maxi use them and you will often find MadDad using one that he has in his coat pocket that he was looking after for Mini. I even have one on my desk! In addition to being fantastic tools for children that need them, they can also just be a fab toy for all children. If you are looking for DIY fidget spinners then we have a great round up here.
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Our Top Fidget Toys for Kids
Mini’s Hairy tangle has stood the test of time. Each Tangle is made up of a chain of curved sections that twist and turn into endless configurations. Each section can be taken apart and snapped back together. You can get smooth tangles (UK Link/US Link) and textured ones (UK Link/US Link) too, however, the hairy one is his favourite. The texture of the hairs really appeals to him. Yes, it can get dirty, but I just wash with soapy water and it is as good as new. I have just ordered him a tangle fuzzy (UK Link/US Link), so I will let you know what we think of it once he has had time to explore it. Tangles are great as they are silent.
Mini’s fidget cube has really made such a difference for him and us. They are six sided and have clicker buttons; a joystick; a light-switch; a flat, worry stone-like surface; gears and a rolling ball and a spinning dial. Some make e a clicking noise and some don’t. They are pocket sized and MadDad always has one in his pocket for Mini. You can also get fidget dodecagons (UK Link/US Link) which are larger and have twelve sides, so are better for bigger hands.
Fidget spinners are huge in our house, however, I do not let the boys use them in a classroom setting. We have a number of them, so I am going to say which we like and why. The metal tri-spinner is great for smaller hands as it has a smaller diameter and therefore can be spun without catching the skin between the thumb and forefinger. Just make sure you get different colours for each of your children!
This was the style of the first fidget spinner that we bought and they are really durable and come in a massive variety of colours and you can also get light up ones too. Ours have been dropped a lot and still work well.
We all have one of these flipping chain fidgets. They are super simple, quiet and small, but they really work and we find ourselves using them a lot. Mini uses his in the classroom as it is small and silent. MadDad uses his whilst on the phone in the office!
We have these in all our coat pockets and in my bag. Simple, inexpensive and perfect for those moments in a queue or the car when the kids just need something to calm them.
There is a hole in the ball with no smaller ball inside, you move a smaller ball to the empty hole and continue to mix up balls. Then You have to work out how to restore the colour ball into corresponding colour holes. Even if you do not want to match up the colours, this gives great feedback and Mini loves the size and feel of it and it keeps him occupied.
The Magnetic Ball Cube is not for kids that put things in their mouth or for younger children. So I would say over tens only for these. Both the boys love these and use them to make shapes bracelets and such.
What doesn’t work for us and why
Any sort of filled stress ball or toy – he pops them. Seriously, within seconds. He has so much strength in his hands they never last and I find myself cleaning up the various fillings!
The same goes for the stretch dolls, stretch string and expandable plastic balls. The wooden fidget toys just end up snapped in a few days. The same goes for those plastic snakes!
Rubix cubes are a no for Mini as he gets angry that he can not do them, although Mini finds them really relaxing.