Fidgets can be an effective tool for students to use in the classroom and the community to help with self-regulation when used appropriately.   Today, I will highlight my five favorite fidgets to use as an OT.  It is important to work with your whole team to determine if a fidget is appropriate for your student and if so, which one is the most helpful.  When discussing as a team,  be sure to think about the qualities of the fidget, the needs of your student and the environment.  Some fidgets might meet the sensory needs of the student, but can be too distracting for the classroom setting.  Or, a fidget that calms one student and helps her focus may have the opposite effect on another student.  We want to be sure the fidget chosen is used as a tool, not a toy.  There are so many fidget options and it can be super overwhelming, but hopefully this list can give you some ideas to get started.

1. Squish Ball

This is a classic fidget tool that can be good for a wide variety of ages and settings.  These are affordable and are often easily found at the dollar store.  Just be aware of what is inside the ball – I have has some unfortunate situations occur when using squish fidgets with students who are heavy sensory seekers.  Too much pressure may cause those type of squish fidgets to burst.  In these cases, a more traditional stress ball will work better!

2. Bike Chain Fidget

This is my personal favorite as of late!  This is a fidget that is small, can be discrete and easily used with just one hand, therefore making it a great option to use while working or out in the community.

3. Marble Fidget

This marble fidget has been popular recently with my older students.  It is easy to manipulate with one hand and the outer covering provides some interesting tactile feedback,

4. Tangle fidgets

These fidgets are incredibly calming.  They do take two hands to manipulate, but can help when a student needs some extra calming input.  Some versions make a clicking noise when you bend them, which could be distracting in the classroom, but there are quiet options available!

 

5. Velcro on the desk

This is a super easy and simple option for a student’s desk.  Simply take a piece of soft or hard Velcro and place it either on top of or underneath the desk.  The child can then discreetly scratch the Velcro to get some tactile input while sitting at his desk.

These are just a few of the many fidget options out there!  If you are unsure what option might work for your student, you can always order a variety pack of fidgets and test a few out.  What are your favorite fidgets?

This blog is for informational purposes only.  Please contact your OT for specific recommendations.

Katie McKenna, MS, OTR/L
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