Fidgets have become increasingly popular both at home and at school. Used properly, they can be a great tool.
Some kids are in constant motion. They are moving, tapping, bouncing, touching, or talking. Often when these are occurring in a group or a classroom, it becomes a disruption to learning around them. This is when parents and educators need to come up with a creative toolbox of quiet fidgets for children to use to burn that energy.
Fidgets are all the rage right now. They are all over the news, as well as schools. As a result fidgets are also getting a bad rap and are being banned. But there are many more types of fidgets, beyond the fidget spinner that is in every store.
What is the Problem?
Certain children, such as those with autism or ADHD, may be in constant motion. Asking them to sit quietly in a seat is impossible. They are kicking, squirming in their seat, ripping paper, or walking around the room. They may talk a lot while sitting or make other noises.
Why Does This Occur?
It is thought that impaired motor control centers in the brain are the cause of fidgety, hyperactive behavior. Impulse-control problems also play a part. The hyperactive child is unable to inhibit the impulse to move around.
How to Help
Parents and educators need to provide physical outlets that let these children release pent-up energy and improve focus.
Types of Fidgets
Fidgets are really anything that can be quietly squished or handled. Not having to focus on staying absolutely still conserves the child’s energy for focusing on class lessons or other activities. First year special education teachers, it’s definitely worth collecting some of these for your classroom. Here, are my recommended soothing, effective fidgets for children who focus best when they are chewing, squeezing, picking, or spinning.
Wikki Stix are a combination of wax and yarn that your child can bend, twist, roll and sculpt to create art. They are durable, cannot be pulled apart, and can be cut. They help with fine motor skills and sensory stimulation, and are great to strengthen little fingers.
Silly Putty is a tried and true inexpensive favorite fidget. It can be squished, pulled and squashed which provides lots of handheld stimulation. There are different brands such as TheraPutty and Power Putty which have different resistance levels depending on the child’s hand strength.
If your child is always chewing things such as nails, hair, or objects than these dog tags provide a more sanitary and appropriate alternative. They are a discreet alternative that provide oral stimulation and tactile. The chewies are made of silicone that is free of BPA and can be put in the dishwasher for cleaning.
The soft beanbag-like pillow with a hook-and-loop strap fits in the palm of your hand, or on the back of your hand, and is then secured by a strap. The weight steadies and calms hands. It provides proprioceptive input and sensory feedback to help encourage proper writing position and better handwriting. The weight calms fidgety hands so children and adults can concentrate on writing. The weight has just the right input to help improve handwriting and boost writing skills.,
Children who chew pencils and erasers often don’t realize they are doing it, it can be a dangerous habit. Cheww Stixx are oral fidgets that fit on the end of a pencil and satisfy the need to chew. they come in lots of colors and designs, are free of BPA, and can be washed in the dishwasher.
This was designed by a hand therapist and has interlocking and rotating pieces to provide light stimulation and strengthen fingers. It allows the children to keep their eye on the teacher, and is a good choice for the older student.
Ziggy Pasta is tons of colorful noodles that slide through your fingers as you squeeze. It provides a soothing sensation for a child that is highly sensitive to different textures. It does not make any noise and is a favorite choice of teachers.
Weighted blankets are great choices for schildren with sensory processing disorder and ADHD but not a great choice in the classroom. This smaller version allows the child to keep it on their lap at their desk and also slide their hands in the pockets. It provides calming pressure and helps remind the child stay in their seat when restless. It is a bit expensive but is durable and will last a long time.
Boinks are a small tube of nylon with a marble sealed inside. You can squeeze or slide the marble back and forth, bend it, fold it, squeeze the sleeve together and roll the marble like shaking a bell.
OVER TO YOU
Does your child fidget? Have you or a teacher tried any of these fidgets? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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