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25 Fidgets To Use Instead of Spinners

Fidget spinners are all the rage these days - the latest toy fad to find its way into the classroom following in the footsteps of Pogs and Pokemon and Silly Bandz.
Fidget Spinner Alternatives
The difference with fidget spinners is that many students claim they need to spinners to help calm anxiety or improve focus.  While that may be true, the fact that half the class is spinning colorful, whirring toys around is actually creating more distraction in many classrooms.  They are making noise, flying across the room, falling apart and releasing handfuls of ball bearings rolling across the floor, and - well, you get the idea.

Some teachers have found ways to peacefully coexist with fidget spinners, but other teachers are battling the distraction.  Many classrooms and schools have even instituted outright spinner bans.

So what is an anxious fidgeter to do?  Fortunately, there are plenty of other great fidget items to help students calm anxiety or occupy their hands so they can focus.  I have only highlighted 25 here but there are hundreds of options out there.  The items listed below are linked to either a blog post or article that provides more information, or an affiliate link to the item.

1.  Sand timers - simple, inexpensive, yet calming and quiet. 
 
2.  Sensory bottles - calming, easy to make at home, endless possibilities
My friend Jamie at Play to Learn Preschool is a master at creating these bottles. Find out how HERE.

3.  Koosh Balls - lightweight, soft, textured.  And if they do happen to fly, they probably won't hurt ;)
4.  Play dough - a classic and you can make it right in your own kitchen!
Another link to Play to Learn Preschool for a great recipe.

5.  Tangles - they twist and turn all sorts of ways and they are QUIET!
6.  Fidget Cubes - Some of them make clicking noises, but they are small and inconspicuous.

7.  Stress Balloons - filled with flour, these are incredibly cheap to make at home and hold up really well.  Here's a TUTORIAL.

8.  Pencil Top Fidgets - small, quiet, always available

9.  Silly Putty - Another inexpensive classic!
10.  Stretchy Coil Keyring - These are available just about everywhere and super cheap.

11.  Sensory Ball - A different sensory experience than the koosh ball
12.  Spinning Ring - this would be a discreet fidget for older kids
13.  Bendeez - Flexible, twisty, soft, and quiet

14.  Plastic Chain - articulated, plastic chain, lightweight, quiet

15.  Nuts and Bolts - The plastic ones are probably quieter, but I love the texture of the wooded toys



16.  Wooden Cube Puzzle - small, quiet, articulated wooden blocks

17.  Beanbags - another great fidget to make at home for next to nothing.
18.  Monkey Fidgetz - a marble inside a tube of plastic mesh

19.  Worry Stones - Hard, smooth stones to turn over in your hands

20.  Twiddle Cat - This one is a bit pricey, but oh my gosh, this is amazing!

21.  Zipper Bracelet - this one might make a little noise, but what a great idea!

22.  Slinky - Even the plastic ones are a bit noisy, but they are small and inexpensive.



23.  DIY Bead Fidget - Easy to make, super inexpensive.
Make this DIY fidget tool for use in the classroom or at home while writing and reading to help kids focus, attend, and perform tasks with tactile sensory input and movement they need to help with fidgeting.

24.  Atom Ball - Squishy, quiet, textured.

25.  Spikey Bracelet - Textured and soft. 

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