There are probably few other toys that are more aptly named. As any parent with an especially active child well knows, fidgeting can be a default behavior that is best dealt with by focused redirection. And the truth is, any child – highly active or not – will fidget, which is why we have had “fidget toys” long before they were called that.
Fidget Spinners and Other Things We’ve Fidgeted With
No parent on the planet, or at least in this country, has not heard of fidget spinners!
Today these ubiquitous toys are still the most popular fidget toy out there, even though they peaked in sales numbers a few years ago. When fidget spinners first hit the consumer market, they quickly rose in popularity in 2017. However, after peaking in May 2017, sales began to decline as did the demand for the addictive gadgets.
According to an entry in Wikipedia,
“Fidget spinners became popular toys in 2017, although similar devices had been invented as early as 1993. The toy has been promoted as helping people who have trouble focusing or those who fidget to relieve nervous energy, anxiety, or psychological stress.”
But these were just the latest in a long line of items that found use as a way to keep one’s hands busy or distracted.
If we were to take the Way Back Machine to ancient China, we would find a device of sorts that isn’t all that unfamiliar to modern eyes.
As the folks at AtlasObscura describe it,
“Centuries before fidgets spinners came on the market, Baoding balls were created in Ming dynasty China (1368–1644) to perform a similar function. The two metal balls, small enough to fit in one hand, could be rotated repeatedly to reduce stress. The constant motion of the smooth balls was thought to be soothing and put the user in a more meditative mindset.”
Fast forward to America in the 20th century and it’s believed that these objects inspired the creation of the ubiquitous stress ball.
Still popular today among fidgeters of all ages, these squeezable palm-sized balls are designed to relieve tension and stress wherever you happen to be. While adults mostly use them to help redirect and then release stress when squeezing them, kids use them primarily as fidget toys.
Four Reasons Kids Can Benefit from Fidget Toys
While spinners, in particular, sparked a feisty debate on the benefits and downsides of fidget toys back in 2017, the focus was more on the distraction that these particular toys created in classrooms and elsewhere. Fidget toys in general, however, can provide several benefits for kids.
1. Increased Focus and Concentration
Research has shown that when kids can control or direct their movements, especially when stressed or anxious, they can also improve focus and concentration. Movement and sensory input are essential for learning and carrying out tasks since they involve both the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
In addition, case studies have shown that learning can be improved with fidget toys. For example, a study focusing on showing the impact of fidget toys concluded that students given stress balls had improved scholastic achievement, especially students with ADHD.
2. Create Movement for Stimulating the Brain Stem
One of the main functions of the brain stem is to control basic body functions such as breathing, heart rate, and consciousness. And whether one is awake or sleepy. Some children’s brains can wake up but not sustain alertness, while some kids need a bit of help to even awaken.
Movement is a fundamental way to trigger the brain stem and fidget toys can serve that purpose. Movement, even fidgeting with the hands, can help by sending signals from the body to the brain to awaken and be alert.
3. Provide Fun Mental Occupation
Fidget toys serve to productively distract and occupy a child’s attention. In addition to boosting focus and productivity, by giving your child’s mind a bit of a fun mental break thereby making it easier to pay attention afterward.
In addition, they are fun! As every parent and teacher knows, kids need to break up their work and study times with some free play of some sort. And fidget toys can provide an easy, simple to use and contain toy to make that happen.
4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
While anxiety, stress, and even learning disorders such as ADHD can affect the entire body, they most notably affect the hands and fingers. Heightened anxiety in a child can result in restlessness, shaking, and even cramping in the hands and fingers.
Although fidget toys cannot prevent or eliminate these issues, they can help calm a child, since fidgeting is a calming mechanism. Fidget spinners and cubes give children a way of keeping their hands busy. In fact, one study found that fidget toys can help relieve pre-surgery anxiety in adult patients.
Fun, Focus, and Development with Fidget Toys for All Active Kids
At Fundemonium, you’ll find fun fidget toys to keep young hands – and minds- occupied. In addition, we offer a dazzling selection of other toys, games, and hobby items, all designed for fun.
That’s because Fundemonium is more than a toy store – it’s a family fun experience, a place where families and kids of all ages can meet and play.
Our toy, model, craft, and hobby selections are “funtastically” huge and always growing. This is the place where you’re sure to find something to entertain and occupy any child and all children of any age (even if they’re over 30!)
And Fundemonium also offers a safe and friendly place where adults and children can enjoy creative fun. In addition to toys, we stock a huge selection of arts and crafts projects and materials, games, models, and hobby products for your entire family.