Fidget toys are probably fun for everyone…a lot of us would pick one up to examine what it can do for a few minutes. For someone with mental illness, (particularly ADHD for example) fidget toys can help success in school, work and other tasks. I love fidget toys; they’re one of my (many) weaknesses and I’ve been forming a bit of a collection. The short attention span of ADHD makes me cycle through them fairly rapidly so it’s a good thing I have diversity. You’ll see my collection below, though I might be missing some. (I lose stuff. A lot. And then find those things a long time after.) I’ve become an authority on fidget toys so here’s a review of sorts. I’m not getting any commissions though I wish I were. I could use the money, haha.
Why do Fidget Toys Work?
First off, they’re not just a kid’s toy. Yes, they can largely be considered toys, but their practical use elevates their status to a veritable tool-at least for some. Fidget toys don’t work for everyone. They can be a negative distraction and get in the way of work and learning. However in the hands of someone who needs it, a fidget toy can make a sizeable difference in terms of productivity. In other words it’s easy to look down on them but I don’t think they should be so easily dismissed. I’ve discovered first hand how much comfort and help they can afford.
If you’re the kind of person who swings a foot when seated, clicks a pen repeatedly or twirl a pencil, you’ve already discovered the power of fidgeting. For someone who can’t sit still, this is a brilliant idea. For someone who can, fidget toys are likely to be a hinderance. It depends on where you already stand.
The right fidget toy can offer just the right amount of stimulation to allow the rest of you to stay still and concentrated. It can also help people stay calm in anxiety-inducing situations. Think of it this way…if someone has to fight the desire to get up and move around, that takes a lot of mental effort. In a case like this a small fidget toy can isolate that need for movement to one hand, allowing the rest of the body to be still. This is why I recommend fidget toys for those who need them and not for just for anyone. A fidget toy can bring someone up in productivity if they have difficulty to begin with but down if they don’t.
Fidget cube: One would think that this is the best; after all, it has 6 options for fidgeting. The truth however is that many features end up feeling unsatisfying. You might as well have one or two ‘sole-purpose’ fidget toys instead that you really enjoy. That’s been my impression anyway. The indentation to run your thumb over is pointless, the buttons aren’t my thing, I like the dials and the ball bearing, the rotating disc is decent, the joystick is fun but pops off sometimes and the light switch is fun but honestly gets old pretty quick.
Fidget Spinner: This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever gotten. It’s not in the photo because I probably put it somewhere far away. I NEVER use it. Maybe it works for others and I’m glad, but my attention span for this useless and underwhelming object lasted 5 minutes at best. It probably doesn’t help that my hands are fairly small and it was hard to spin the gadget normally. Zero stars for this one guys…I don’t recommend it but you’ve likely held one already and don’t need my saying so.
Squishy ball: I got this squishy ball at the dollar store and I really like it. The inside is filled with what feels like putty so it’s not a regular stress ball; you can sort of shape it and I find it very satisfying. This is my newest fidget toy.
Chain-Link: My second newest fidget toy and one of my faves, this thing swivels in a few directions and generally just feels good in the hand. Options are limited but that’s ok, it moves in enough directions for me and can be used with one hand which is important.
Clicky-Thing: That’s what I call this fidget toy…well, that’s what I call mine. I’m sure there’s a real name for it but the name caught on in our vast population of 6 (that includes 2 doggos). When I’ve lost it (which happens too often), I say that I’m looking for my ‘Clicky’. Yup, I’ve personalized it a little because it sounded cute. Go figure. Anyway, I really like this one and not just because it was a Christmas gift from Aaron. The clicker, (maybe that’s the real name), is objectively satisfying. It does make a bit of noise which adds to the fun, but the two rubber ‘bubbles’ can also be ‘clicked’ silently. I feel very comfortable with this fidget toy in my hand and sometimes use it while studying, watching something, at work when I’m doing marketing and even while driving. I don’t usually do that though.
Ball Magnets: I really like the smooth feeling but playing with the magnetism actually distracts me instead of helping me focus on the task at hand. Still, they’re fun to play around with if you’re doing something mindless like waiting for an appointment. The clicking sound when they snap together can beis obtrusive
Blocks: This was my very first fidget toy dating all the way back to my first stay at the Douglas which was in 2017. I still use it which is a good testimony. what I like the most about this is the variety; trying to make as many different shapes as possible. (I must’ve formed over 10.) It’s kind of a brain teaser/puzzle so it works really well to help me be patient. It’s also quiet which is very practical.
Sensory ring: I like how small and unobtrusive this fidget toy is; it can easily go unnoticed. Despite how simple it is, I find the unique feeling of the wire when rolled along a finger to be soothing. Being able to wear it as a ring is also practical. If you’re looking for something with moving parts though, this isn’t the fidget toy for you. I find it a little too basic for my needs but for a cheap Dollar store fidget toy, I’m happy.
My car: Driving is an ultimate fidget for me…it’s my happy place; I love the road and I’m usually more in the moment (which is good considering…) It sounds funny to call a car a fidget toy because it’s obviously not, but for me it has a similar purpose. When I drive the present moment provides enough intellectual stimulation to keep me focused.
What Makes a Good Fidget Toy?
- It ideally makes little to no noise, especially if it’s to be used in class or at work with others around. We wouldn’t want to distract other people, that would be ironic.
- It shouldn’t be complicated or require too much focus…we want something that takes up very little attention and serves to create only a tiny diversion. The goal in the end is to focus in on the task and no longer need the fidget toy.
- The proper fight toy shouldn’t be too big either. It needs to be portable and handheld. Ideally it fits and can be used in one hand only so the other is free to take notes for example.
There you have it! Now, time for a little update. What happened since my last post? I remember we left off with waiting for results from Companion Paws.
As it turns out, Mia would’ve passed for personal therapy designation but not visiting. This means a retake of the test requesting only one designation. (A way to make more money, I’m sure.) also Mia would have to be spayed which is a bit of a dealbreaker for me so I got refunded for the course (step 2). I haven’t given up on the idea but I’ll hang on to my psychiatric note for now and wait for the rest. There’s already a lot going on and I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. (As usual.)
We also went to the award gala at John Abbott and though I was very nervous, I’m glad we went. I feel very touched and privileged to be recognized for what I’m trying to do. It feels really good and I’m grateful.
Well, have a wonderful weekend everyone and Happy Mother’s Day!