The What and Why of Fidget Toys

Fidgeting. We all love a fidget – from clicking our pens to twirling our hair. There’s something strangely comforting and, on occasion, therapeutic about a good fidget. Despite how much it annoys those around us, we all find ourselves at the mercy of a good fidget. So it was only a matter of time before someone noticed the gap in the market and created some handy distractions.

Fidget toys have become a bit of a craze amongst the young and older generations of our society in modern times. Both demographics are acquiring new-fangled gadgets, either by buying the latest toys from the booming market or even fashioning their very own fidget toys at home before taking them along to school or to work. But what’s all this about?

WHAT ARE FIDGET TOYS?

Before we talk about the why fidget toys are becoming increasingly more important to so many demographics, we need to answer the fundamental question – what on earth are they? Basically, fidget toys are interactive tools or materials that offer no end goal other than to provide a comforting sensory experience. They can come in a plethora of different colours, shapes, sizes and textures, engaging our touch, feel, hearing, sight and smell whilst promoting movement. More than anything, they occupy the mind and can help users focus, or calm them during points of acute anxiety or stress.

Stress balls have been popular for years, particularly in offices, as go-to fidget toys for adults, but now, with so many more people finding their minds and hands wandering, there have been many more simple and inexpensive self-regulating contraptions invented.

WHY ARE FIDGET TOYS BENEFICIAL?

Fidget toys are beneficial in a number of ways that vary depending on the person using them. For example, whilst fidget toys for adults may be used to destress, fidget toys for ADHD children can both help the child expend energy and hone their attention on important things such as instructions and education.

These toys can improve tactile systems mainly, acting as a method of regulating attention and modulation in any given environment. Often times, this kind of interaction is a sign of an individual searching for something that they may not be receiving from their environment. With this increased level of tactile interaction, they achieve a higher state of alertness as a result of the neurological input. This means that the more hyperactive kids, for example, play with, say, fidget spinners, the more they are alert and able to adequately organise their thoughts.

There are other toys that provide a similar sensory input action, such as play dough, but many are also likely to be distractive (which is why fidget spinners have been banned in many classrooms). Effective fidget toys will improve concentration by helping the brain to filter extra sensory information. So somebody who finds it difficult to block out the distractions of their environment can use fidget toys to help filter the sensory information to only focus on toy in their hands.

Studies have also shown that sensory input and movement can have a substantial learning enhancing effect. It is thought that this movement stimulates both hemispheres of the brain making it a valuable element for learning. Whether it’s fidget toys for those with ADHD or fidget toys for adults, these studies have shown an increased level of cognition in the subjects involved that has been illustrated in the work they produce.

POPULAR FIDGET TOYS

Fidget Spinner

Fidget Spinner

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, we’re sure you’re well aware of fidget spinner. These zippy star-shaped spinners are attached to a central weighted disc that you hold onto using your finger and thumb whilst using the remaining digits to generate some mean spins. These hypnotic toys come in various palm-sized decorations and can cost as little as £2, but they really do make for awesome fidget toys for anxiety.

Chewellry

Chewellry

Like fidget spinners – only for the mouth. Hear me out. Chewellry are fidget toys that can help to improve biting and chewing skills in young kids. But it also occupies the mind, helping children to better concentrate. Think of it as acceptable gum chewing because your teachers wouldn’t allow it otherwise. They come with different plastic centrepiece designs or could be a simple as resembling a fancy phone cord that you wrap around your neck as a necklace, or your wrist as a wristband.

Fidget Cube

Fidget Cube

This is an amazing fidget toy for anxiety sufferers, but it can also be really helpful for anybody who has idle hands that just won’t remain still. The unique selling point for the fidget cube is that it is multifunctional, catering to several fidgeting needs including clicking, gliding, flipping, rolling and spinning. This is a safe, durable and satisfying toy for both children and adults that can be bought with just a tenner.