Doodling to improve focus and memory? That's so last year. A new wave of attention-boosting items has hit the scene, and although they may look a lot like regular toys, these sensory-soothing items are more therapeutic than trinket. If you're child struggles with focus, stress, or a case of the wiggles when it's time to get down to business, you don't need to run out to purchase the latest trend in order to streamline their attention. In fact, there are plenty of alternatives to fidget spinners that offer the same results (and don't have you adding your name to waitlists at specialty toy stores or hoping those online backorders fill ASAP).
According to Additude magazine, a publication dedicated to publishing all aspects of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), "an effective fidget toy doesn’t distract you from your primary task because it is something you don’t have to think about." The sensory input from things such as fidget gadgets creates a calming, focused effect in the brain, according to the Center of Development, Pediatric Therapies. These 21 toys for fidgety bodies can be especially useful for kids who struggle with concentrating or listening for long periods of time, or anyone who just needs a little boost in focus.
Kids can bend, twist, and twirl these special sticks into any shape they can think of. The Bendeez Fiddle ($10) comes in a variety of colors and gives little hands something to do while listening and learning.
Approach the fidgets in a new way with the interlocking pieces of the flippy chain fidget toy ($8). With more than one way to use this toy, kids can experiment with new ideas for playing with each use.
With so much tactile input, the spiky sensory ring ($12 for three) is a great form of stimulation for kids who struggle with focus. In addition to its therapy-like nature, this toy is also hypoallergenic, nontoxic, and free of BPAs, phthalates and latex.
A great alternative to spinners or squeeze toys, the fidget ball ($12) may produce a zen-like state. Made of connected rings, every ring turns over the next in a spinning pattern, creating a rhythmic play experience.
Make your own fidget item at home with a simple craft. Create a non-toxic bead bracelet or necklace that can be chewed and fidgeted with, as Mothering magazine suggested. Just make sure you use a cord or string that's can hold up against all the wear and tear.
If it's your child's feet that have the wiggles, perhaps a bouncy band for chairs ($14) will do the trick. This is great for the classroom since it allows kids to silently fidget without causing distractions.
Sometimes simplicity works best. According to Very Well, a smooth stone makes a perfect fidget toy and doesn't cost a thing. This item can be easy kept in a pocket and rolled around with fingers when some energy needs to be released.
Although it looks like something that fell off your bike, the roller chain fidget toy ($11) is made to withstand the play of heavy fidgeters. With different grooves and motions, this toy is sure to engage users of all ages.
Keep the squeeze-a-bean ($11 for three) attached to back packs, keys, or belt loops to always have a fidget toy nearby. Just squeeze a pod and a cute little soybean pops out. Be warned: this one may make you crave edamame with the power of suggestion.
As Very Well explained, all you need is a new balloon and some sand to make a fidget toy for your kiddo. This can be decorated with markers or left plain depending on preference. Just remember to tie the balloon off tight to avoid a sandy spill.
Swirl the colors around in the hourglass shaped fidget finger squash it ($12 for six) using finger manipulation for tactile stimulation. The soft texture makes this toy easy to squish and squash for hours.