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.
Open the brain for creativity while keeping hands busy is a double win. Your kid will love Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty ($16) for the relaxing nature it induces and you will love that it keeps them happy and busy for long stretches of time.
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.
With soft nodules on the outside and tons of microbeads on the inside, the therapy bead ball ($4) is perfect for squeezing, stretching, or rolling across the palm of the hand.
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.
8Chewable Pencil Topper
Safer and less damaging than chewing on pencils, hair, or clothes, a chewable pencil topper ($6) will do the trick for those who like to keep their teeth busy.
Use them to paint with or wear them for pressure and tactile therapy — a pair of spikey gloves ($11) are great in either the home or classroom for getting sensory systems in sync.
10Bouncy Foot Band
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.
Fidget toys can be stylish too and the perfect example is this zipper bracelet ($11) which comes in an assortment of colors and can connect to other zipper bracelets with the clasp.
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.
Provide focus while at school or working on homework with a Desk Buddy sensory ruler ($18). This can be kept on top to the desk to keep busy hands occupied while learning and thinking.
Roll the marble all around this soft, handheld toy to help with the fidgets. Boinks soothing fidgets ($9) are durable and machine washable (and can also be purchased in bulk).
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.
Aside from being straight up adorable, the magnet worm fidget toy ($7) is fun and soothing to use. Pull this little guy by his head and tail and he pulls himself back together on his own.
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.
Hands stay busy when they pull it, twirl it, squeeze it, or tie it in knots. The stretchy string fiddle ($2) is more a great way to provide sensory input while trying to facilitate more focus.
There are endless possibilities when playing with Tangle Jr. original fidget toy ($9 for three). Pull the pieces apart and reattach them however you wish to create a variety of shapes and figures.
20Homemade Squeeze Ball
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.