Are Fidgets Toys or Focus Tools?
One of the most requested items at Beyond the Blackboard is fidgets! What may have started as a fad a has emerged as one of the most consistently popular categories of items. Fidgets have evolved from the fidget spinner into fun and useful ways to play and promote focus. The list of 'pros' for fidgets is continually growing:
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Supports calm and relaxation
- Aides in physical therapy, wrist and finger strength
- Hand strength and dexterity
- Strengthens tactile and fine motor skills
- Temporarily eases arthritic pain by increasing circulation and reducing stiffness
- Solution for sensory seekers
- Promotes focus
- A healthy way to use repetitive actions to calm overactive nervous systems
Believe it or not, there is science behind fidgeting. Have you ever found yourself pacing while on the phone, chewing gum while taking a test or reading, twirling your hair, cracking your knuckles, clicking your pen, or doodling while in a meeting? Guess what? You're fidgeting! And it allows you to stay focused on the task at hand. Research shows that fidgeting can increase neurotransmitters in the brain that control focus and attention. Science has found that fidgeting can increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels enhancing cognitive performance.
Fidgeting is a healthy, natural, and normal way to adjust when activities can’t sustain attention. But fidgeting needs to be intentional in order to be effective. A fidget shouldn't distract your child from their task - it's something they shouldn't have to think about.
Fidgets your child uses at home might look different from a fidget they take to school! For example, fidgets that click might be your child's first choice, but could cause distraction in a classroom setting. Check with your child's teacher before you allow them to take a fidget to school.
Fidgets can be fabulous tools for the whole family to use at home. You could even create a fidget basket or box in the family area easily accessible to everyone. Having a variety of fidgets is like a toolbox. What might work for one thing or work one day may not work the next, so different options are a great idea!
So, how do you find the right fidgets? Think about what your child wants and needs. Think about having a variety for your child to try and use. The variety of fidgets is vast and there are so many options! Don't forget to ask your child what they like, or the type of fidgets they want!
If you can’t get to Beyond the Blackboard in person, to try some fidgets, here are some questions to ask before ordering online:
- What fidgets have you tried that you like?
- Soft and squishy or hard and prickly?
- Smooth or bumpy?
- Are noises distracting, or do you like sounds?
- Putty texture or sandy texture?
- Twisty or solid?
- One-handed or two-handed?
- Does color matter?
- Will this be distracting or helpful?
- Where/when would you use this fidget?
Let your child browse our Fidget Fun category with you. Chances are, they're familiar with a lot of our items! Fidgets are a resource that can help kids with sensory regulation and become more successful in their learning environment. Considering the number of fidgets available and the growing market, fidgets are here to stay!
Most fidgets are multi-purpose - two for one! Children can use fidgets in a learning environment, but they can also be just plain fun! Fidgets that help our kids increase focus and cognition can also be fantastic toys. Solve a Rubik's Cube or twist it and play with it in your hands.
Are fidgets a toy or a focus tool? Both!