Fidget toys aren’t a new concept. In fact, modern-day fidget toys have their roots in ancient China, when people would roll two small metal balls around in their hands. All kids fidget, as teachers well know, and providing them with outlets for their energy can benefit both the student and the entire classroom.
When used correctly, fidget toys can help improve concentration. Learning how to use fidget toys can improve focus in school as well. The movement required to make fidget toys work also helps stimulate the brain, making them a great tool for any classroom. Fidget toys can get expensive, however, so here are a few awesome ideas to help you create your own fidget toys for less money than store-bought versions.
1. Stress balls
These toys filled with sensory materials are great fidgets because, as a child squeezes them, they will think about what’s inside, which can help calm them down and help them focus. Make your own by filling a durable clear balloon with round glass pebbles and water. Tie the balloon tightly. Beads and marbles will also work, as will rice or dry beans without the water.
2. Weighted pencils
Adding weight and dimension to a pencil can help fidgeting kids, especially those who are just learning to write or who need to write for extended periods of time. Thread things like beads or metal nuts onto a pencil. Rubber bands or gummy grips are another great addition.
3. Thinking putty
Thinking putty is like slime or dough. It gives students something to squeeze and mold when the need to fidget strikes. One benefit of thinking putty is that students can squeeze it with one hand while reading and doing other classroom activities. Mix 4 ounces of white glue, ¼ cup of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine a ¼ cup of hot water with a ¼ teaspoon of borax. Add the borax mixture to the glue and stir well. Knead the putty and pour off any excess water. Store the putty in containers with tight lids.
4. Beaded bracelets
5. Paper clip fidgets
6. Cord and pony beads
This might be one of the easiest DIY fidget toys around! Simply thread a couple of pony beads on the end of a piece of cord and knot it. When kids need to fidget, they can move the beads along the cord or swing the cord around. Metal nuts work as well.
7. Pony beads on a pipe cleaner
This is a fidget that can be affixed to student desks so it’s handy throughout the day. Thread several pony beads onto a pipe cleaner and then wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around a small piece of cardboard and tape the ends to the back so the pipe cleaner is tight. Tape the cardboard to student desks and students can spin the beads when they need to fidget. Threading the beads onto large safety pins works, as well.
8. Shower curtain loop and rubber bands
9. Binder clips on a pencil
Clip a few binder clips to a pencil and you have an inexpensive spinning fidget toy!
10. Keychains and Beads
Thread beads onto small keychain rings and then link the keychain rings together. There are numerous ways kids can move the rings and beads when they need to fidget.
Allowing your students to fidget when they need to move is a great way to encourage them to continue learning even as they move. These quick and inexpensive fidgets will help you accomplish that goal.