Fidgets can be so much fun! There are so many different kinds and they can serve many different purposes. With the right expectations and systems in place, fidgets can be used appropriately. Below is a list of my 10 favorites to use with students! This post contains affiliate links.
1. Key Chain Links
These are a favorite for my older students. You can find them in different sizes, and they can attach to a key chain. They are a great way to keep hands busy while being discreet. I have found these particularly helpful for students with anxiety.
These can also attach to a key chain and are another discreet fidget. Students squeeze out 3 different peas attached inside of a pod.
3. Squishy Stress Balls
Stress balls can be a helpful for anxiety, anger, stress and more. You can purchase different kinds or make your own with the student. While making your own can be fun, I find they don’t last very long. My favorites are stretchy dough balls or hand exercise balls. You can also find hand exercise balls at Five Below.
4. Chewy Bracelets & Necklaces
Chewy bracelets and necklaces are perfect replacements for students who like to chew on pencils, their shirt, etc. They look just like regular kid jewelry and come in different colors and designs. The necklaces can be more pricey, but the bracelets usually come in a large pack. You can find the bracelets I use with my students here.
5. Pencil Toppers
Pencil toppers are a great fidget because they stay on the pencil, and can have different types of pieces to manipulate. A lot of students also like to play with their pencil, so a topper gives them a better way to fidget.
6. Liquid Timers and Pens
These are another favorite with my middle schoolers. They were coming into my office all the time requesting the liquid timers, and then I found pens! The pen itself is a liquid timer. I usually let them earn these as a prize because they are more expensive, but they are definitely more convenient than the regular timer.
7. Bendy Sticks
I feel like these are the original fidget! They can bend in different ways, come in different colors, and are universal for all ages.
8. Textured Cardstock
Textured cardstock is a great fidget for students who need something that stays in one place. You can also make a lot for cheap by cutting 12×12 pages into strips. Another thing I like about this option is if it gets dirty or rips, it can be replaced quickly. I usually find different colored and textured cardstock at a local craft store and let the student choose which one they want. If you want something more durable, you can buy textured rubber strips for their desk online – they are just a little pricey.
9. Calm Jars
Would this even be a complete fidget list without calm jars? There are so many different kinds and they can be fun to make. I look out for long plastic tubes at Michaels and get all of my recipes from preschoolinspirations.com.
10. Bouncy Seats and Chair Bands
I still consider these fidgets even though they are larger. You can find bouncy seats in a wedge or round shape, with the wedge working better for younger students. These allow the student to bounce while staying in their seat and may decrease the need to stand. Chair bands are great if you are looking for something more discreet. There are different kinds, but the bands that attach to the chair with cups are the most sturdy. I’ve also found that this band is harder for students to tangle their feet in, minimizing the risk of falling when they try to stand up.
How I Make Them Available
You can provide fidgets for use in your office, give to students to use individually, or give to teachers for whole classroom use. I let most of my students check out a fidget for individual use, and keep a log of who has what. At the end of the year I collect them and replace the ones that are too dirty or broken. It’s an expense I designate some of my budget for every fall.
When choosing a fidget, I try to keep the function I want it to have in mind. Do they need something to fidget discreetly with? Maybe I’m looking for something to get their energy out. Do they need something that attaches to their desk so it doesn’t become a toy? Once I have figured out what would be best for the student, I provide them with 2 options myself and their teacher preferred, and let them choose from there.
I definitely have a lot more fidgets in my collection, but these are my favorites. Do your students love any of these too? I’ve listed most of these as well as a few others in one place on my Amazon storefront.
10 Elementary Must-Haves and Favorites