When was the last time you caught yourself playing with your hair while reading a novel? Or did you find yourself repeatedly clicking a ballpoint pen during a team meeting? Do you have a tendency to shake your legs while working on an important work assignment?
Even if you’re a generally calm person, fidgeting might come more naturally to you than you’d like to admit. It’s often your body’s way of channeling excess energy and eliminating ambient distractions. It isn’t surprising that there’s been a surge in the demand for various types of fidget toys in recent years.
However, the advantages of fidget toys aren’t just restricted to adults. These sensory toys can go a long way to improve concentration and relieve stress in children. Also, they can be particularly useful for children with sensory processing issues.
In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the world of fidget toys and explore their benefits for children. Let’s get started.
The Sensory Fidget Toy Universe
First things first – there’s a whole gamut of fidget toys beyond fidget spinners and cubes. From squish balls and putty to fidget finger rings and tangle toys – you’ll find a wide range of sensory fidget toys for kids in the market. It is, however, essential to choose the right type of fidget toy based on your child’s unique needs.
For instance, if you want to improve your child’s motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, letting them play with a fidget spinner or cube is a good idea. On the other hand, if you want your child to focus better in class, tactile fidget toys, such as putty and kneadable erasers, would be more suitable.
While there are numerous benefits of fidget toys, they’ll be useful for your child only when you provide them with the right type of toy. Otherwise, you could end up distracting or stressing them even further.
Now that you have a fair idea of the best fidget toys in the market, it’s time for us to find out whether they’re worth the hype. Let’s get started.
Top Benefits of Fidget Toys for Kids
You need to understand that just because your kid is fidgeting doesn’t mean he or she is distracted. Instead, it might be their way of coping with pent-up energy or overwhelming sensory stimulants. Providing them with the right fidget toys will offer a wide array of benefits, such as:
1. Improved Focus and Learning Abilities
Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) have a tough time staying still and concentrating in school. This could be because of their brain’s inability to produce the right amount of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
Any form of physical activity, including fidgeting, can be instrumental in stimulating dopamine secretion. This, in turn, could increase your child’s concentration levels and improve their cognitive performance.
Also, the sensory input and movement associated with fidget toys ensure that both the right and left hemispheres of your child’s brain are active while they’re studying. It sharpens their focus and learning abilities even further.
2. Reduced Anxiety and Stress
If your child gets easily stressed or nervous, letting them play with a fidget toy will help them calm down. This is because fidget toys engage their senses and make them more mindful of their surroundings.
It prevents their mind from going into overdrive imagining the worst-case scenarios. So, the next time you notice your child getting anxious before a test or their first day at a new school, providing them with a fidget toy is a great idea.
3. Better Sensory Processing Abilities
Children with autism and other sensory processing disorders are often overly sensitive to various stimulants. For instance, they might get easily distracted by bright lights or loud noises. This, in turn, can interfere with their ability to focus on their lessons.
Playing with a fidget toy can help eliminate distracting sensory inputs, thus improving concentration in children with autism. Also, most fidget toys stimulate more than one sense, including visual and tactile senses, thereby ensuring better sensory processing.
Additionally, fidget toys can also enhance fine motor skills in children with autism. For instance, if a child plays with a fidget spinner, they need to hold the central disc with their thumb and index fingers while spinning the toy with the remaining fingers.
Also, they might learn to balance the spinner on their thumb. This will go a long way to improve their hand-eye coordination and body awareness.
Whether your child has difficulty focusing in class or gets easily stressed, gifting a fidget toy is a great idea. Make sure you understand their needs and identify suitable fidget toys. Also, it’s wiser to consult your child’s teacher or therapist before introducing them to a new fidget toy.