My oldest son, Red was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade. Since that day we have tried a variety of tools to help him concentrate better in school and at home. Now we have a variety of fidget tools that he likes to use depending on whether he is at home or at school. At home, he can use just about anything he wants, but at school, he needs to be respectful of other students and not use something that is too noisy.
Then there’s me. I have not be diagnosed with ADHD, but if it walks like a duck. I also have battled anxiety for much of my life and have found that I also have certain fidget behaviors. Between the two of is, we have tried a lot of tools over the years.
My son and I prefer different types of fidgets. He prefers to use both hands to manipulate things where I am more of a one handed fidgeter. Over the years, we have tried different types of fidgets from stress balls to toys and everything in between. Of all of those things, the following fidgets have been the most successful for us.
Rubik’s Cube style toy
This one is my son’s favorite, hands down. A friend of his gave him this SKRABI Rubik’s Cube style toy and it has gone everywhere with him since.
He prefers the SKRABI to the more well-known Rubik’s Cube because it has a smooth, fluid motion that the Rubik’s Cube does not. It is also stickerless so, to him, it has a more pleasant feel in his hands. The only downfall to this fidget is that it’s for home only. He was bringing it to school and his teachers started to complain about the noise, so we made a compromise and got him a different, quieter fidget to bring to school.
The Tangle Jr. is the compromise I mentioned above. This fidget is the most versatile in our collection, and it’s quiet! You can purchase the smooth Tangle Jr., which is my son’s favorite, or you could get it in a few other textures. Depending on your preferences, you or your child may like the fuzzy or textured ones better. The good thing is, they are inexpensive so you can experiment with them to find the one that suits you best.
Bike chain fidgets
The bike chain fidget is my favorite. I have small hands so I am able to stick these on my fingers and roll the bands or smaller metal rings as well as roll the whole thing between my fingers. These fidgets remain in my pocket most of the time, but since they are made out of keyrings, you can keep them on your keys or on a backpack zipper. I got mine from Fidgetland a while ago and I think they still have the best selection, but now there are other brands popping up for less on Amazon.
This is a great video to show you how these fidgets work if you aren’t familiar:
Before he had the Rubik’s Cube, my son had the Rubik’s Twist. This was actually his very first real fidget toy, though it wasn’t meant for that purpose originally. He got this as a gift for his birthday or Christmas from a family friend and it quickly turned into a calming device. It does have the same drawback as the Rubik’s Cube in that it squeaks a bit so it’s not ideal for school. For home, though, this is a great option.
As a pen clicker, I really like the fidget cube. I don’t personally use all of the parts of the cube, but I really like the switch, clicker buttons, and little rollerball. It’s nice because it’s small enough to carry around everywhere but not as annoying (to others) as incessant pen clicking. Even if you’re not a pen clicker like me, there are a lot of fidgety behaviors than can be satisfied with this little $8 cube.
More types of fidgets
- Worry beads
- Fidget spinner
- Pencil top fidgets
- Squeeze-a-Bean Soybean Stress Relieving Keychain
- Bouncy bands
- Wooden fidget puzzle
- Wacky Tracks Plastic Fidgets Snap and Click Puzzles
- Roller chain fidget
- Monkey Fidgetz
- Gel stress ball
Now that conditions such as ADHD, autism, and SPD are becoming more understood, there has been a greater acceptance in the use of fidgets. Because of this, there are more tools available on the market. It is important to note that these are not toys. While they may be fun for people without any of these disorders to use from time to time, for those of us who need them to help with concentration or for calming, they are tools and should be used as such.
Depending on what kind of fidgeter you are, there are so many different kinds of fidgets available these days and they are generally pretty inexpensive. You could also use other items or make your own if you are so inclined. Try a few and see what works best for you or your child.