We all fidget, some more than others, but when the topic of fidgeting is brought up, you might be amazed at the magnificent effects it produces. Fidgeting is our bodies’ way of letting go of unsettled impulses. Foot tapping, hair twisting, and nail-biting are all examples of typical fidgeting.
While many people believe that these actions are detrimental to learning, many researchers estimate that if these fidgeting habits can be controlled, they can actually improve their ability to learn. (1)
Many adults and children utilize fidget toys. The grownups utilize these items to distract themselves from their anxiety and the loop of worrying thoughts. At the same time, parents encourage their kids to use fidget toys to manage the child’s hyperactivity and anxiousness.
What are Fidget Toys?
Fidget toys are self-regulation tools that can aid in the improvement of attention and focus. They have a soothing impact on anxious individuals and increase active listening. These are utilized to improve tactile input and stimulate movement, both of which are important for students and professionals. (2)
These toys come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from squeezable stress balls to bending sticks, etc. However, the aim is the same regardless of the sort of toy used, that is, to improve focus and increase learning capacity. When the hands are active and channeling expanded energy, individuals may better focus on what they are attempting to learn. (3)
Moreover, people who suffer from high-functioning anxiety are prone to have difficulty focusing. They have an insatiable desire to be on the go, making it difficult for them to concentrate on a single activity. Taking too many pauses, tapping the feet, and other similar behaviors are all examples of behavioral disturbances that can impact productivity and efficiency. (4) Consequently, fidget toys can also help alleviate anxiety.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, many testify that these fidget toys help divert them from impending anxiety or panic attacks.
Types of Fidget Toys
Some of the most popular types of fidget toys on the market that are acknowledged to be effective are listed below.
Wikki Stix- Calming Fidget
Wikki Stix allows individuals to feel calm to maintain focus in various ways, including bending, twisting, and shaping them into balls. Extra-fuzzy pipe cleaners, plastic nuts and bolts, spiral bracelets, and weighted lap cushions are a few more calming-fidget choices.
Klicks- Alerting Fidget
A sound, color, or brightness can really help some children with ADHD focus. So if your child needs that level of activity, a fidget like Klicks can keep them occupied. They can twist, bend, pull apart, and clasp the colorful puzzle pieces together. Pop Toobs, color-changing light-up balls, and spinning tops are other types of alerting fidgets that can also work.
Chewelry is mainly intended for kids to aid in the development of biting and chewing abilities. However, it can also help people who concentrate better when they keep their mouths busy with something such as a pencil, their nails, or the sleeve of their sweatshirt. Pencil toppers and silicone jewelry are other viable options. Chewing gums are can also be an effective alternative. (5)
This traditional toy is ideal for those who can concentrate better when their hands are occupied pushing, tugging, or squeezing objects with giving. Kneaded erasers, ponytail holders, stress balls, corks for pulling apart, squishy toys, and magnetic balls or disks are some other resistant fidgets.
Touching different textures might help some individuals focus. Anything sticky, gooey, slimy, hairy, or scratchy may work. A tactile fidget is something like a koosh ball. Play foam, kinetic sand, rubbery squeeze toys, pop beads, and Velcro strips are among other options.
The weight and motion of whirling spinners might help some individuals with attention or sensory processing issues. Furthermore, some individuals find the movement and tactile stimulation to be distracting.
Effectiveness of Fidget Toys
Improved Concentration and Attentiveness
Individuals with anxiety who can regulate or direct their movements can also strengthen their attentiveness and concentration. Movement and sensory input are essential for learning and performing tasks because they demand people to engage both the right and left hemispheres of their brain. (6)
Furthermore, several case studies have proven that fidget toys may be used to manage anxiety and learning. Research concentrating on the influence of fidget toys showed that children given stress balls had increased academic success, particularly kids with ADHD. Similarly, it has been claimed that fidget toys might assist patients in coping with pre-surgery anxiety due to their distracting abilities. (7)
Anxiety, acute stress disorder, and other illnesses such as ADHD can affect any part of the body, but they negatively impact the hands and fingers. For example, numbness, agitation, trembling, and cramping are all symptoms of an anxiety episode. Fidget toys, although, are not a solution for these issues, but can be used to relax because fidgeting is a calming mechanism. Moreover, fidget toys are a fun method to keep one’s hands occupied.
Act as Distraction
Fidget toys are slight distractions that can help you focus and be more productive by granting your mind a rest and enabling you to concentrate. People are concerned that fidget toys can lead to distraction from significant aspects of life. However, it is crucial to remember that symptoms of anxiety, stress, or illnesses like ADHD can be just as distracting and destructive.
Fidget toys can be a minor distraction that has significant advantages, such as calming you down. Consequently, it can boost learning and productivity by increasing alertness and focus.
Improve Academic Performance
It has been observed that directed movement can help students learn more effectively. With a fidget in their hands, students report being able to focus better on what is happening in the classroom. Furthermore, a fidget may be a suitable option for a youngster who chews clothes, rocks, or needs to tap a pencil constantly to concentrate better. (8)
Stimulate the Brain Stem by Creating Movement
Controlling fundamental bodily processes, including breathing, heart rate, and awareness, is one of the brain stem’s significant roles. Also, whether or not one is awake or sleeping. Some children’s brains can wake up but cannot stay awake, while some require assistance even to wake up. Movement is a crucial method to activate the brain stem, and fidget toys can help effectively it. Fidgeting can aid in alertness by conveying information from the brain to the body. (9)
Who Benefits from Fidget Toys?
Fidget toys are highly beneficial to toddlers with Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (10) Some neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, are depleted in ADHD. Traditional ADHD drugs operate by raising the amounts of these substances in the brain. However, physical exercise, including fidgeting, can help children with ADHD concentrate better, retain more, and enhance cognitive function by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels. (11)
Patients with stress and anxiety have trouble concentrating. (12) Taking too many pauses, tapping their feet, and other poor body language behaviors are examples of behavioral disturbances. Fidgeting has been shown to assist some people in burning off anxious energy and divert their attention away from the anxiety-inducing stimuli. As a result, it can help with concentration. (13)
Fidget toys can distract. These toys can assist with everything from soothing anxious children to helping adults cope with the effects of persistent anxiety. It is also a technique for people to cope with the consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in their daily lives. Having a portable fidget toy in your hand, whether at work, on the bus, or in any public setting, is an immediate source of comfort and relaxation. In addition, fidgeting can assist with PTSD symptoms by allowing people to focus on the patterns generated by fidget toys instead of flashbacks, panic attacks, or a repetitive cycle of negative emotions.
Fidgeting can also benefit individuals with anxiety disorders like Relationship Anxiety by helping them to redirect their focus away from their spouse’s behavior and allowing them to relax.
Best Fidget Toys for Anxiety
Here is a list of some of the coolest fidget toys that have received a lot of positive feedback and are well-known for their effectiveness. So let us get started with the products and benefits they offer.
1. Sculpture Building Blocks – Stress Relief Toy
This stress reliever toy works by reducing stress during working hours. It comes with a 5mm set of 1000 construction magnets that will put your patience and ingenuity to the test. You have no restrictions on how you may create and decorate shapes and buildings. This fidget toy can improve your brain and creativity. If you enjoy geometric patterns, this is most likely the ideal toy to alleviate your stress and anxiety.
2. Tangle Jr. Original Fidget Toy
The Tangle Jr. is available in three distinct colors, all of which are vivid and lively. You may combine them all to make your game more thrilling and entertaining. It is suggested for both adults and children, especially those who want to disconnect and get rid of technological devices.
Tangles are designed to keep your hands occupied while you are doing nothing. They are based on constant movement, which gives the body and brain a soothing sense. In addition, you will be able to create a variety of patterns once you start experimenting with them. As a result, your creativity and intellect will be boosted.
3. Chuchik Fidget Cube Toys
Chuchik’s wooden fidget toy is ideal for people who wish to stay attentive and less diverted during work or study hours. It is generally marketed as a stress and anxiety reliever, but it also alleviates the symptoms of autism, ADD, ADHD, and OCD. Besides, you may play with it anywhere and at any time because it is lightweight and portable.
This toy may be used for a variety of activities. Flip, roll, glide, spin, and click are all possible. It lowers tension and decreases irritability while also relieving stress and enhancing concentration. If your mind becomes agitated, simply fidget with this fidget toy, and you will be able to find calm instantly.
4. Forever Spin Titanium Spinning Top
Spinning tops are intended to improve your concentration and creativity. They keep your cognitive process and creativity alive, especially if you are sitting at your desk. This Forever Spin fidget spinning toy is a sophisticated item that will complement your well-organized workspace.
You may push yourself to beat your spin times to make your game more exciting and thrilling. Spinning tops not only promote relaxation and tranquility but also enhance in-hand movement and hand-eye coordination.
5. Infinity Cube Fidget Toy
This item is suitable for both children and adults. It is an excellent method for releasing tension and relieving stress and anxiety. If you are looking for a toy to help you with your nail-biting, leg-shaking, and other fidgeting difficulties, this is the ideal toy for you.
This cube toy can also enhance the flexibility of your fingers. Furthermore, it helps you improve your fine motor abilities. You may use it anywhere, at any time.
6. Tom’s Fidgets Flippy Chain Toy
Different colors are available for this chain fidget toy. It is constructed of stainless steel to not rust or break while splitting rings and connecting chains. This product can help you escape smoking addiction, manage stress and anxiety, and relieve tension at events or social gatherings.
Fidgets of Tom Flippy Chain is marketed as a toy that is both silent and engaging. This toy manufacturer is recognized for its product’s non-distracting quality. As a result, you may fidget and play as much as you like without attracting undue attention from others around you.
7. Crazy Aaron’s Super Scarab Thinking Putty
This product is made of non-toxic silicone that does not dry out quickly. It is available in a variety of colors, sizes, and fragrances. It may be stretched, bounced, torn, or sculpted in any manner.
Although this product is specifically designed for children, adults may also use it as a stress reliever. According to the manufacturer, it improves awareness, attention, and concentration. Its primary goal is to assist cognitively and physically challenged people in overcoming their disabilities.
8. Pilpoc the Fube Fidget Cube
The soft silicone rubber buttons on this fidget cube are constructed of durable plastic. It is primarily played through clicks; however, you can always turn off the sound for specific situations. It is also quite portative, allowing you to carry it with you wherever you go.
There are 12 sides of this toy, each featuring a different fidget activity. This is the perfect fidget toy for you if you want to keep yourself relaxed and comfortable or if you want to increase your ability to concentrate.
9. Spiky Sensory Finger Rings
This is a fascinating fidget toy that provides a nice change from the typical ones. It can be placed on your finger and rolled back and forth. The product is built entirely of high-quality stainless steel, making it suitable for both adults and children.
These spiky finger rings are suitable for acupressure as well as stress reduction. Acupressure aids in the movement of good energy throughout the body. It can also help with high-functioning depression, discomfort, and nausea.
Tangle is a favorite fidget in classrooms and other peaceful places because it does not produce noise. Instead, it consists of interconnected, curved parts that may be reshaped, disassembled, twisted, and reconnected.
It can help both children and adults. The toy could be amusing and comforting to children. It may help young people and older individuals relax or relieve tension. This fidget toy assisted many people in coping with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other forms of suffering.
Fidget toys appear to have constructive use. There is more research to be done, yet they are not just a passing trend. They represent an age-old phenomenon that virtually everyone has experienced at some time in their lives – just observe your own behavior while working at a desk or attending meetings or doing your daily chores. Fidget toys have been more popular as a means to improve attention, reduce restlessness, and manage anxiety in recent times. (14) Experts are divided on their effectiveness, yet many people claim to benefit from these toys.
Fidgeting may be an excellent technique to relieve tension and anxiety. Fidget toys give essential sensory input in a less disruptive or socially demonizing manner for some consumers. Fidgeting, according to some, negatively impacts individuals and students due to its distracting qualities. However, if it is utilized in a controlled manner, it can contribute to various beneficial results.
Fidget toys, in general, can be highly beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues. Despite that, additional evidence is needed to prove the toys’ usefulness conclusively. Nevertheless, these toys are suitable for people of all ages, genders and have proved to be very effective, particularly for children and students. (15) The potency of these toys might wane over time; thus, switching toys from time to time is recommended.