Fidget Toys for ADHD
People with ADHD often have difficulty focusing on one particular task for an extended period. This can cause problems when it comes to school or work, and may result in fidgeting in a subconscious attempt to regain concentration.
It is not uncommon to see people with ADHD tapping their feet or chewing their pen as they work. This fidgeting is not useless and is actually believed to boost the release of the neurotransmitters that are involved in managing attention.
Fidgeting can help reduce boredom, block out distractions and even boost productivity. However, it is important that this fidgeting is done deliberately in order to really help. That’s where fidget toys for ADHD come in. Fidget toys provide sensory stimulation and can help ADHD in a number of ways.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Fidget Toys for ADHD?
Fidget toys are tactile objects that are usually designed to fit in a pocket or the palm of your hand. They are available in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures, and can be used to improve attentiveness for people with ADHD.
The most important feature of a fidget toy for ADHD is that it should provide some degree of sensory stimulation. Fidget toys are usually designed to be squeezed, stretched, twisted, bent or moved in some other way. However, some fidget toys can be used to massage the hands or simply feel satisfying to hold.
Do Fidget Toys Help ADHD?
Many people with ADHD find fidget toys a helpful way to maintain concentration, especially when carrying out an otherwise monotonous task. Fidgeting is thought to help stimulate both the left and right sides of the brain, and boost the release of certain neurotransmitters. These include dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a role in attention and focus.
In addition to improving focus, fidget toys for ADHD may have a number of other benefits, including:
Many people with ADHD find they are able to complete tasks more effectively when they do two (or more) things at once. At home, this could include activities such as listening to music while studying, or doodling while talking on the phone.
However, in a school or office environment this is often not appropriate and this is where fidget toys become useful. They provide a way to fidget without causing unnecessary distractions to others or seeming like you are not fully engaged.
Best of all, there is such a wide range of fidget toys available that you are bound to find something that suits your needs, no matter how old you are.
Types of Fidget Toys for ADHD
There are many different fidget toys available. What they all have in common is that they provide sensory input while being easy to pick up and put down as necessary. Because everyone has very different needs, it may take some experimentation to find the perfect fidget toy for you.
However, these are some popular choices that are worth considering as a place to start:
Fidget spinners combine weight and movement and can be extremely satisfying to play with. They are small enough to be kept in your pocket and pulled out when needed, and come in a variety of shapes and colors.
One downside of fidget spinners is that they require the use of one hand, and so cannot be used while writing or typing. They may also be too distracting for a classroom setting.
Stress balls are useful for relieving tension and make a great fidget toy too. They come in a range of sizes and textures and are easy to keep in your pocket or on your desk.
Like fidget spinners, stress balls do require you to use your hands. However, they are quiet enough to use without disturbing your classmates or colleagues.
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These can be fitted to the top of your pencil and provide an effective way to fidget while you work. They are often comprised of a plastic nut and bolt that can be twisted and twirled. Some fidget pencil toppers are also chewable.
Fidget tangles are another way to occupy your hands when you are finding it hard to focus. They are small strings of plastic links that can be taken apart and put back together, twisted and bent around your fingers.
Like a stress ball, putty can be squeezed and squished in the palm of your hand. However, putty is even more versatile as it can also be rolled, twisted or torn.
The downside? Once it has been used a few times your putty can become contaminated with small pieces of dirt and dust. Keep it clean by washing your hands before and after use.
For people who love to chew on something while they work, a fidget chew could be the ideal solution. Fidget chews can be attached to pencils, held in hands or even worn like jewelry. The advantage of the latter option is that it keeps your hands free for whatever you need to get done.
Fidget cubes are a great option for adults with ADHD as they look more like a gadget than a toy. They have six different surfaces that are designed to click, roll, glide, spin, flip and breathe. This feature makes fidget cubes one of the most versatile fidget toys around.
Worry stones are smooth stones that can be held in the palm of your hand. They have a soothing weight, coolness and texture, and can be turned over repeatedly to massage the hand.
Prayer beads are used in religions like Buddhism to aid meditation, but they can be useful for people with ADHD too. They can be worn as a necklace or bracelet when not in use, and removed when you feel the need to fidget.
Fidget Toys for Feet
Some people prefer to fidget with their feet, and there are toys available for this too. These include balls and pedals that can be kept under your desk, allowing you to fidget while keeping your hands free for whatever task you are working on.