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Best Fidget Toys for Autism, ADHD and Special Needs

Updated on June 20, 2011

Fidgets & Stress Balls: A Great Way to Help Kids Focus

Did you know that you can help learners focus and absorb more information just by giving them something to do with their hands? The best fidgets are sturdy, provide lots of finger movement and don't bother fellow classmates. Below are the top 5 fidgets I recommend based on parent and teacher input.

Tangle Therapy
Tangle Therapy

The Tactile Tangle Therapy

My all time favorite fidget toy!

First of all I love all Tangles, they are awesome fidgets. Tangle toys are interconnected circles a child can twist, all kinds of directions. The repetitive silent movement and twisting of the tangle makes them a great fidget. However, the Tangle Therapy is the Zen of all fidgets. This Tangle is designed with a soft rubber coating and raised tactile bumps. It is literally addicting to play with. Best of all it's excellent for fine motor development as well!

Stretchy Frogs
Stretchy Frogs

Stretchy Frogs

An Inexpensive Fidget For Students on the Move

Stretchy frogs are a great classroom fidget for several reasons:

1. These soft, pliable, stretchy fidgets are great for squishing between fingers.

2. They come as a set, so this is a great option for a student who is prone to losing things.

3. They are small- this fidget is not very noticeable a student can easily play with it in his pocket. Great for mainstreamed kiddos!

4. They are cheap! Free is my favorite price but cheap is second. You can usually buy a bag of frogs for about $2.00 US.

Isoflex Ball
Isoflex Ball

Isoflex Ball

A Great Little Stress Ball for Kids who Need to Squeeze

I have a love/hate relationship with the Isoflex ball. So I'll start with the love, this is a great ball to squeeze. Do you work with someone who is anxious, or can't relax? Give him this ball to squeeze. Put it between his hands and let him smash the ball. The micro bead filling makes it an interesting tactile experience and provides enough give so that it takes some effort to squeeze, but not too much effort.

Here's the negatives: of all the fidgets I recommend this one is the least sturdy. If you have an aggressive or destructive person, don't give them this ball. They will be able to break it within a day or two. (This is a shame because they would probably benefit from it greatly.) Also, the outside is covered by several layers of balloons so be careful this isn't a fidget you want to give to someone with a latex allergy.

Squigglets Sensory Bracelets
Squigglets Sensory Bracelets

Squigglets Sensory Bracelets

A Wearable Fidget

This sensory bracelet is really sturdy, washable and wearable. Great for students who lose things. These bracelets provide a lot of tactile stimulation. They are great for kids who can't stop touching things or keep their hands out of things. Best of all its wearable so it provides a constant opportunity to fidget! Great for younger elementary and preschool age children. (Note: not recommended for children under three.)

Oral Motor Teether Ball
Oral Motor Teether Ball

Teether Ball

Teether Ball are you serious!? Yes I am these aren't just for babies!

Last but not least is the Teether Ball. Many are surprised when I recommend this fidget but it serves two purposes. First of all it's highly sturdy construction provides lots of nubs to play with. Second of all it's chewable. Some children not only need to move their hands but need an oral fidget as well. (These kids constantly suck or chew on their shirts, hands or fingernails.) For these kids the Teether Ball is great for classroom circle time especially preschool & kindergarten. Made of a sturdy FDA approved vinyl it's a great option for kids who need something to hold and mouth on.

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