If you have only seen a news clip or read a headline that said fidget toys are being banned from schools because they distract students, you may have the wrong impression about fidget toys. They are actually useful for many people. They can help people pay better attention or deal with anxiety. We have provided details about what fidget toys are, the important features, and the different types. We have explained how they work, how to choose the right one, how to use them, and important instructions on cleaning them.
We have also included ways to tell if a particular fidget toy is working, is among the potentially addictive fidget toys, has become a play thing, or if a different type of fidget toy needs to be chosen.
Even though they are labeled toys, it should be mentioned that there are fidget toys for adults as well as children. With the label “fidget toys”, they sound frivolous and inconsequential, but as you read you may be surprised at their value and learn that you or someone you know may have already used one or could use one at times. Read through the buyer’s guide to gain information on how to choose the right one.
There is also the possibility that an individual could need more than one with different features. Then, look at our reviews of 12 fidget toys to help you select the best fidget toys for you or people you know.
Best Fidget Toys Buyer’s Guide
What are fidget toys?
Fidget toys are actually mislabeled. They are not really toys but tools that help some people focus and others de-stress. They are small and should be as noiseless and as non-distracting as possible to others. The features depend on the needs of the user. They can be tactile, such as Velcro or plastic molded to have bumps, ribs, or dents, or they can be something that can be manipulated like a pipe cleaner. As you read and think, you may realize that at times you have made a fidget toy out of an object at hand, such as a pen you click or a paper clip.
What are the different types and features of fidget toys?
Features that are important for all fidget toys are noiselessness, price, durability, size, safety, and, as mentioned previously, being as non-distracting to others as possible. Then, there are features that make a fidget toy useful to a specific person, including whether it is among fidget toys for adults or is intended for children.
Matching features to an individual person’s needs should include the following considerations. Will the user have the strength and motor skills to use a toy that is meant to be manipulated? If the toy has tactile features, will those features match the preferences of the user? Is the material appropriate for the user(s)?
Fidget toys can be made of cloth, plastic, rubber, metal, or wood so that they can be soft, squeezable, pliable, stretchable, bendable, twistable, or shapeable. Clay, putty, sand, spinning items, and items that are used to build or stack can also be used as fidget toys. An additional benefit of building, molding, or shaping toys is the creativity involved and the use of a different area of the brain than repetitive motion toys.
Fidget toys are small, so they can be taken anywhere and usually can be used with one hand although some fidget toys may need two hands and others just have a button to push with one finger. For some people, there is a need for more muscle movement so that more of the brain is used. A push button alone would not be suitable for those people. You also need to be sure that the toy is not a choking hazard.
If it can fit inside a toilet paper tube, it is too small for children, but it could be among the good fidget toys for adults. In addition, in tests of users, there was a preference for fidget toys with a little weight, so see what the preference is of the user for whom you are buying the fidget toy.
Although the color of a fidget toy doesn’t affect its usefulness, they are made in bright colors to be more appealing. The colors and even scent and shape can impact the benefits of a fidget toy because the visual and emotional reaction can increase brain activity so that the user’s ability to focus or de-stress is increased.
Fun and enjoyment can be positive and negative factors. As stated, fidget toys are intended to help some people stop fidgeting and be able to concentrate on what is being taught or discussed. If fidget toys become too engrossing and are among the addictive fidget toys, then, those toys are not accomplishing their intended purpose.
The cost of fidget toys could be a factor in two instances. First, if you are buying fidget toys for a classroom or a group, then you will have to buy multiple toys and a variety of different toys because of the varying needs of the individuals in the group. The other instance would be if an individual needs a variety of fidget toys. However, as you compare costs also consider durability because fidget toys can get a lot of handling and a lot of use. You should be especially concerned about the toys leaking, and avoid toys filled with water or slime.
There are a variety of types of fidget toys available. These include pliable and squeezable fidget toys including stress and squeezy balls, thinking putty, kneadable erasers, scented kneadable erasers, and scented putty. Tactile fidget toys include velcro strips, tactile balls, textured pencil grips, pencil topper fidgets, textured sensory rulers, and sensory squares.
Among the fidget toys that can be manipulated are fidgeting finger springs™, finger squeezers, fidgeting foot bands™, foot fidget rollers, fidget spinners, keychain fidget bracelets, FiddleLinks, marble boinks, bendeez, tangles, chewies, chewy dog tags, and chewable tubes necklaces.
Why buy a fidget toy?
There are two groups of people that can benefit from fidget toys, and they are fidgeters and people under stress. Fidgeters can be a wide group from people with an obvious consistent problem to those with an occasional issue under certain circumstances. Signs of fidgeting issues range from shifting in their seats, fiddling with things, and needing to get up numerous times. They can also be distracted by extraneous things around them, or they may just be bored. The issue with fidgeting is that it disrupts their ability and the ability of those around them to listen and absorb what is being said in a class room or a meeting.
Although it would seem that fidget toys would also distract them from concentrating and absorbing information, the right fidget toys can actually help them focus in three ways. First, the physical activity used with fidget toys increases dopamine and norepinephrine in their system which helps with focusing, concentration, and improved cognitive performance. Second, fidget toys increase the areas of the brain that are active at the moment ensuring that more areas are involved in processing the information being presented. Third, handling a fidget tool can help them tune out distracting, extraneous stimuli and concentrate on listening even if they aren’t looking at the speaker.
Those under stress will have higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in their systems. Handling fidget toys reduces the amount of cortisol allowing them to relax, concentrate, and absorb what is being said. This can help relieve stress and anxiety, and it’s a good ‘go to’ method anytime you need a bit of stress relief.
An extra benefit of fidget toys for children can be development of their coordination, dexterity, and fine motor skills. They make particularly good toys for autism for people at various different places on the spectrum. By their nature, fidget toys are often sensory toys and that is what makes them particularly useful for various issues associated with autism.
How do you use fidget toys?
Fidget toys are usually used to help increase concentration and absorption when a person needs to listen to information being presented. In addition, the time of day can affect when a person is fidgety and needs the help of a fidget toy. Some people might not have an issue in the morning, while others might not need help in the afternoon.
The use of fidget toys may require rules. You will need to make sure your child’s school allows them and under what circumstances. Children should understand that fidget toys are not a toy but a learning tool that helps them focus better and that they are only to be used during listening activities. They are not to be tossed, juggled, thrown, bounced, or dropped. They are not for sharing and should not be used in a way that distracts other students. Fidget toys should be kept in a designated spot when not in use.
Let children know that if they break the rules that the fidget toy will be taken away. Fidget toys also can be allowed in the car, in waiting rooms, at the table when the child is done eating but others aren’t, and when they are stressed.
To evaluate if a particular fidget toy is helping a child, consider if the child has shown an improvement in classwork. Are they asking and answering more questions? Are they paying attention better and displaying less fidgeting tendencies? Are they asking for things to be repeated less often? Alternatively, is the toy among the addictive fidget toys and actually distracting the child? This evaluation will tell you if the toy is working or if another fidget toy needs to be tried.
Care and storing of fidget toys
If only one individual is going to be using the toy than cleaning is not as important of a factor, However, if the fidget toy is for group use, then, you will need to consider how the toy can be cleaned. Putty, clay, and sand should be avoided as group fidget toys for this reason. In addition, fidget toys should have a designated place to be stored when they aren’t being used for their intended purpose so that they don’t become just a toy.
Best Fidget Toys Reviews
With different activities on each of the 12 sides, there should be some available tools on this fidget toy that will help many people, and if some people use different tools at different times, they may find the variety they need in this one toy. The variety in this toy also puts it on the list of best fidget toys for groups. In addition, it is made of durable and washable ABS plastic which adds to its benefits for groups.
The tools offered on the 12-sided fidget cube Amazon has available are Joystick, Switch, Sliding Blocks, Rotating Disk, Gears, Soft Clicker, Triangle Button, Stress ball, Worry Groove, Squishy Buds, Finger Massage, and Silica Rope. Nine of the sides are silent and three are audible. This adds another feature that can make this fidget toy useful for additional people. It measures 2.4 inches x 2.4 inches x 3.2 inches. Since it is 12-sided, it is a little larger than some other fidget toys.
- This fidget cube is 12-sided, so it includes a large selection of activities.
- It is made of ABS plastic, so it is easy to clean.
- Nine sides are silent, and three sides are audible.
- Sensory Fidget toy – much more than your average gadget!
- With 12 sides and activities, it is a larger size toy.
This interlocking chain link fidget toy is small enough to slip in your pocket, and it allows one-handed use. However, it requires hand strength, so it is probably best considered among the fidget toys for adults. Made of durable stainless steel with silicone rubber rings, it provides a tactile feature. In terms of the chain link, it is similar to that of a bike chain. We wouldn’t recommend making a DIY one from a real bike chain though…that would get a bit messy as one reason alone. It is available as a single toy or in a pack of 10, making it a toy that can be purchased for a group, especially since it is washable.
- It is small enough to be used with one hand and to fit in a pocket.
- It is available in an inexpensive pack of ten.
- It is washable.
- It requires some hand strength to use.
The Infinity Cube is comprised of eight small rotating cubes. This allows the user to create a variety of shapes from the cube. It measures 5.8 inches x 3.9 inches x 1.9 inches, which makes it small enough to be held and manipulated in one hand. However, it is a little large for a pocket unless it is flattened. Made from CNC-machined, anodized aluminum alloy, it has a modern look that would be among the appealing fidget toys for adults. With this fidget cube Amazon includes a storage bag.
- This fidget toy has a style for adults that does not look like a child’s toy.
- It is made of anodized aluminum alloy that is easy to clean, so it can be used as a group toy.
- A storage bag is included.
- Measuring 5.8 inches x 3.9 inches x 1.9 inches, it has to be reshaped to fit in a pocket.
The Moon Drop Fidget Toy includes three toys. Each toy is 2.7 inches x 0.7 inches x 1.1 inches and demonstrates the rate of the gravity on the Earth, Mars, and the moon. The Earth slider is blue, the Mars slider is copper, and the moon slider is silver. Each Gravity Fidget Toy has a pipe filled with magnets arranged in a manner to cause the slider to drop at the rate desired. The Earth’s gravity is 9.8 meters per second, Mars’ gravity is 3.7 meters per second, and the moon’s gravity is 1.6 meters per second.
So when you are watching these fidget toy sliders drop, you will notice that the slider representing the earth drops faster than the slider representing the moon. When the slider reaches the bottom, you can turn over the fidget toy. In addition, the magnets allow you to arrange the pieces to create interesting sculptures.
- This fidget toy is comprised of three items to provide comparative representations of gravity on the Earth, Mars, and the moon.
- This fidget toy allows the user to watch the sliders while still listening.
- The three pieces of this fidget toy are washable.
- You should not open the ends of the toys because it can disturb the magnets.
This item actually provides two fidget toys in a decorative box. The first is a flippy chain fidget toy stress reducer that has two stainless steel interlocking links with rubber rings for an additional tactile experience. The flippy chain may require some hand strength, so be sure that the intended user is able to manipulate it. The 12-roller chain is a loop that can be arranged in different shapes, The user can also spin the twelve rollers. Both items are made of materials that are easy to clean, so they are suitable for groups. They are also small enough to make them easy to transport.
- This is a two item set.
- Both items can easily fit in a pocket.
- They are washable, so they are suitable as group toys.
- Make sure the user has the hand strength to manipulate the flippy chain.
This fidget spinner is different from other fidget spinners Amazon offers. It was designed using a combination of the double pendulum theory and the chaos theory. What that means is that the path it follows as it spins depends on the initial conditions that existed when it was spun. The user can hold it vertically, horizontally, flick it, move it as it spins, or spin both or only one arm and that will change the path that it spins.
The variety can make it one of the best fidget toys, but it can become addictive. This stainless steel spinner with 10 ball R188 hybrid ceramic bearings is small and durable. The spinner includes a gift box and manual.
- This fidget spinner Amazon is selling creates a variety of spinning paths.
- It has 10 ball R188 hybrid ceramic bearings for spinning quality.
- It comes with a gift box and a manual.
- Potentially addictive fidget toys may need to be monitored so that they don’t become common playthings and lose their effectiveness.
This fidget spinner Amazon is offering is a representation of the Harry Potter walnut-sized Golden Snitch of Quidditch. With one flick, this fidget spinner will provide a two minute spin. The beautiful colors make it appear to be glowing. Made of metal alloy with self-lubricating steel bearings, it is durable. It is designed and manufactured to be in compliance with US Standard Children’s Product Certification and has passed American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) standards.
It is safety rated for children over three years old. It is small and lightweight, so it will fit in a pocket. A zipped case is provided. This is definitely among the best fidget toys, especially for Harry Potter fans. This is another fidget toy that could be an addictive plaything, though, and distract from its intended purpose.
- It is designed to resemble the Harry Potter Golden Snitch of Quidditch.
- A zipped case is provided.
- Among the fidget spinners Amazon has available, these spinners are certified as child safe for children over three years of age.
- This spinner toy could be among the addictive fidget toys.
This cute squeeze fidget toy keychain is shaped like a peapod that allows the user to squeeze peas out of the pod. The peas have faces, and each pack of peapods includes three different faces. These squeeze toys are available in packs of three, five, and seven and are easily cleaned, so they are great for group toys. Each individual toy measures 2.75 inches x .78 inches. The squeeze toys are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and pass the CE test for health, safety, and environmental issues in Europe. They are small enough to carry in your pocket, or they can be attached to a backpack or other item.
- This is not just a fidget toy. It is also a keychain.
- They are great as group toys because they come in a multipack and are easily cleaned.
- They are not just squeeze toys but also have peas with faces inside the pods to remove.
- The peas could get lost or be choke hazards.
The Tangle Relax Therapy Fidget Toy is a tactile fidget toy that can be manipulated. The rubberized, textured exterior provides a tactile experience. The ability to absentmindedly twist it into a variety of shapes adds to its effectiveness as a fidget toy. In addition, the twisting feature can aid in restoring motion, helping stiff joints, and strengthening finger and hand muscles. It measures 8 inches x 2.5 inches x 0.9 inches, so it is large to be carried in a pocket.
- This is a tactile and manipulation fidget toy.
- Since this a dual function fidget toy, it is among the best fidget toys.
- This fidget toy can also provide physical therapy for the hands.
- It is large to be carried in a pocket.
This fidget toy is not only a touchscreen stylus and gel pen, but it also has 13 magnetic rings and 12 steel balls, so it can be transformed into a variety of shapes. However, the ink cartridge has to be removed to use it as a fidget toy. A case is provided for transporting it.
This item can be used as a touchscreen stylus, a gel pen, and a fidget toy.
The transforming fidget toy has 13 magnetic rings and 12 steel balls.
A case is provided for easy transport.
The ink cartridge has to be removed to use it as a fidget toy.
Since it is a set of three LED fidget balls that are easily cleaned, this is a good choice for group fidget toys. The set includes a squeezable, anti-stress ball; a tactile, mesh ball; and a DNA, grape-forming ball. However, since there is a gel filling, there is an issue of potential leaks.
- This is a set of three balls that are easily cleaned so that it is a good choice for a group fidget toy.
- The balls feature LED lights.
- The grape-forming ball has a uniqueness factor.
- When gel is used as a filler, there is a slight danger of leaks.
This fidget ball is made up of metal links that are easy to manipulate. The issue that is good and bad is that it is only one inch. That makes it easy to manipulate with one hand and to transport, but it could be a choke hazard. Since it is metal, it is easy to clean.
- Made of metal links, it is easily manipulated.
- It is small enough to manipulate with one hand and to transport.
- The metal is easy to clean.
- At only one inch, it could be a choke hazard.