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What Makes a Good Fidget?

Small objects that keep hands busy can help kids focus on what’s important in school. They’re called fidget toys for ADHD, and these guidelines can help you find the best one for your child — and her classroom environment.

Child with ADHD holding toy globe
Child with ADHD holding toy globe

Because she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, and other comorbid conditions, I’m always on the lookout for interesting fidget toys for ADHD, or “fidgets” that will boost my daughter Natalie’s focus at school. Not any old fidget will work, however. Good fidgets are:

  • Silent: Your child won’t get shushed for disturbing the class.
  • Unobtrusive: Children with ADHD don’t want to draw attention to themselves; fidgets should fit in a fist.
  • Tactile (not visual): Fidgets shouldn’t draw restless eyes away from the teacher.
  • Safe: Kids can choke on small items; some stretchy fidgets sting when they snap.
  • Tools (not toys): Balls shouldn’t bounce, for instance — too distracting.
  • Inexpensive: They’re likely to be lost (like their lunch bags).

The three fidgets below work well for Natalie:

  • Sand-filled balloon. Make this fidget together. Put one small balloon inside another and pour in sand through a funnel until the balloon is full.

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