child playing with toy

For some children with autism, ADHD, or anxiety, it’s hard for them to focus properly or be calm without doing something with their hands.

Eventually, this could start affecting their grades and diminishing their self-esteem. It doesn’t have to be like this though.

Restless hands are completely normal and there are several fidget toys out there to accommodate them.

You may be worried about your child taking these toys to school. Some of them, like fidget spinners, been stereotyped as simple toys — but there are some that are actually very discrete to play with.

To help you with picking out the right toy for your child, here is a list of the things you should look for in one of these toys, and a few of them that we think work wonders for children of all ages.

1. Things to Consider Before Buying a Toy 

As we said, there are a lot of fidget toys to choose from, so how do you pick out one that will work for your child? This is going to depend on quite a few factors. 

What Stimulation is Best for the Child 

The first step is deciding what sort of stimulation your child needs. There are children with restless fingers who tap on their desk repeatedly and some that tend to ball their hands into fists. 

The toy that you pick out all depends on what hand motion they do the most often. 

Where Will They Be Using the Toy

There are certain schools that have banned fidget spinners because they are distracting to the learning of other children. It’s for this reason that you should consider if your child needs the toy while in school. 

If they do, then you should probably get them one that’s more discrete and doesn’t make a lot of noise. 

Duration of the Fidgeting 

Your child is going to need a lot of mental stimulation so chances are they will be using the toy for hours at a time. To this end, you need to buy one that can seriously take a beating.

For younger children, they tend to put these toys in their mouth as well as play with them in their hands so you need something with paint that won’t scratch off and get into the child’s mouth.  

Can it Be Carried Around 

For these children, you can’t just take their toy away from them while you go to the store or so they can go to school. That could be seriously jarring so their toys should be portable. 

This is so if they have a sudden burst of energy or anxiety, they can quickly handle the issue by taking out the toy. 

2. Children that the Toys Can Help

Children with autism frequently rock back and forth, hum, flap their hands, pull their own hair, twirl, pick at their skin, and bounce. Children with anxiety do some of these same things like pick at their skin and constantly tap their toes or twirl their hair. 

If your child has ADHD they may bounce, and get in trouble at school a lot for not being able to focus or being very disruptive. Fidget toys can be used to handle these bursts of emotions. 

Now that you know what you should be looking for in a toy and what children can get use from them, here are a few to help jumpstart your search. 

3. Born 2 Sensory + Carry Pouch 

Your child will be able to bend, twist, pull, roll, and squish these toys any way that they want without breaking them because they are made out of a durable nylon material. There is also a marble in it to add to the smooth texture that makes it feel great to fidgety fingers. 

Due to the fact that they are so colorful, they are really hard to lose.

If the child does manage to lose one of them, they come in packs of ten so they will have a lot to go through before you have to buy more. 

If your child has an active imagination and finds fascination in a story, the toy comes with an electronic book that tells them how their marble got stuck in the toy.  They can listen to it while they play.

It can also introduce them to the toy if they seem a little hesitant to pick it up. 

4. Playvisions Stretchy Mice and Cheese 

If your child loves animals then you should consider getting something that is themed around them. The Stretchy Mice and Cheese toy is a pretty good place to start. 

It’s basically a block of stretchy cheese with holes that your child will stick tiny mice into. They won’t be able to stick the mice completely in the holes but that’s part of the adventure. It’s a good way to keep both minds and hands busy. 

Due to the fact that the material is a very stretchy and durable latex, it’s long-lasting. You don’t have to worry about your child getting it dirty because it cleans easily with cold water. 

There are a few problems with this toy one being that because it’s made of latex it might have a negative effect on children with sensitive skin.

The other problem is the paint on the mice and cheese does start to peel after a bit so it’s not the best toy if your child tends to put things in their mouth. 

5. Moon Drop Desk Focus

If your child has an interest in the sciences this is a good toy for them because it’s relaxing and educational. The gold and silver slider magnets are made to simulate a free fall. Kind of like what the gravity might be like on the moon. 

It’s made out of sturdy materials so you don’t have to worry about your child breaking it. It’s because of these sturdy materials and the design that it’s easy for your child to carry around with them.

They can easily put it on their desk at school to help stimulate their mind when they feel a spell of excitement or anxiety coming on.

If it’s hard for them to focus on their homework when they are at home, place one of these on their work desk and you’ll notice a difference.

The biggest problem you’ll run into with this toy is that some parents have complained that its assembly can be a little complicated or comes out wrong making it hard for their child to use.

The packaging it comes in is a little cheap too which doesn’t help matters. 

6. Impresa Products 5-Pack of Stretchy String

Like the Sensory + Carry Pouch your child can twist, pull, and squeeze these strings all they want and it will just revert back to its original form.

Hearing this, or even looking at them you might be afraid that they are made cheaply but they are actually quite durable and can be stretched about 8 feet. 

The rubber that they are made out of is completely non-toxic and super easy to clean with soap and water. They come in five bright colors that are sure to catch your child’s attention.

They aren’t large so they can be used subtly if your child wants to bring them to school and it will be easy for them to passively play with them while paying attention to their lessons.  

Keep in mind that they can and will become sticky after a while so if your child plays with them a lot, you may be buying new ones on a semi-regular basis. 

7. Flippy Chain Blue

If your child requires a lot of hand motion than the Flippy Chain will allow them to constantly use them. If they are a little on the destructive side with their toys rest assured that this one is basically unbreakable.

It’s made out of sturdy bike chains.

The chains create a constant circular motion when they are flipped which can be incredibly satisfying. When you feel an anxiety attack coming on, your skin may become hot and flushed.

This toy stays cool so it can be relieving in those instances.

It’s also small and quiet so your child can easily take it to school or anywhere really without gathering too much attention.

Things to note, this toy isn’t suitable for children under the age of three because it does contain small parts. While the cool texture might be great for some children, it can be jarring to others.

Also, it smells metallic due to the fact that it’s a bike chain which can make it a little overwhelming and turn some kids off.   

8. Small Fish Infinity Cube

This toy is a thing of the future. It’s a bunch of little cubes that make one large one.

This doesn’t sound very impressive until you learn that your child can use these little cubes to shape the big one into virtually anything that they want.

There are an infinite amount of options hence the name.

Due to how versatile it is and how many different things they can do with it, your child will never become bored with it.

It’s perfect for little ones who have a lot of nasty habits due to their condition like nail biting, leg shaking, and cracking their knuckles. 

It’s incredibly safe to use but it is better for children who need more mental stimulation than anything. It also only comes in one color so it might not be that attractive to kids who love or need bright colors. 

9. Fidget Cube 

A lot of schools have banned fidget spinners due to the fact that they can be a little noisy and highly distracting. It isn’t fair for those who actually need it but they’ve sadly been stereotyped as a toy.

The best answer to this issue is the fidget cube.

Fidget cubes are fairly inexpensive and it has six sides all with a different fidget stimulus. These sides consist of a switch, small joystick, pen click, a ball and gears they can roll, a dial, and a thumb imprint that while doesn’t really have a fidget quality, has a nice texture. 

The fidget cube is small and can fit in the child’s pocket.

Unlike the spinners, they are pretty quiet and don’t cause a huge distraction. The only problem is that they did come out around the same time as the fidget spinners so an informed teacher still might think of it as a toy and take it away. 

If you’re going to let your child take it to school to calm them in the classroom, it might be best to write all of their teachers a note. 

10. Squishies 

Squishies not only come in adorable characters but they smell nice while they are being used.

They are created with polyurethane foam which will snap back into its form no matter how much your child squishes it however, they do tear fairly easy. 

Your child might not like the idea of playing with something with a face but there is a simple fix to that. You can get sand-filled ballons instead.

Something else to note, some parents have complained about their child having an allergic reaction to the chemicals the paint on them is made out of.  

Fidget Toys to Occupy Those Restless Hands

If your child has restless hands, what better way to fill them than with fidget toys?

Most of them are portable and can be taken anywhere with the child from the house to the classroom. You might have to write a note to their teachers explaining their situation, but it’s worth it to make your child happy — and possibly keep them focused during their lessons.

Want to learn more about how you can improve the quality of your child’s education? Check back with us frequently for new content!