My Top Fidget Toys
The rotatable Rubik’s Cube can be easily manipulated. It is ideal for someone who is motivated by colour and keeps their hands busy.
You can pull and twist them. Good for reducing stress and anxiety.
This toy is a stress reliever, which helps improve your mental focus and helps reduce fidgeting.
Bog Eyed Bugglies
This toy is squishy and stretchy. It also has a very pleasing texture.
This toy combines rolling, spinning, clicking, gliding and flipping motions.
1) Use a chewy pencil topper/drink out of a water bottle throughout the day: This allows for a person who is sensory seeking to have extra-oral movement.
2) Use Theraputty: This helps to improve the strength and function of the hands and fingers. They come in different resistances and is an excellent activity for people who struggle with proprioception and fine motor skills.
3) Use a Sand Timer along with a Now and Next Board: The Now and Next Board is a visual timetable, giving only 2 instructions at a time. Using the sand timer during the transition from the first activity to the next is an additional prompt, allowing the person to see when they should finish the first activity and move onto the next.
4) Incorporate chair and wall push-ups: These should be done at brief intervals as and when needed. This helps train your proprioceptive muscles and helps with balance too.
5) Have tactile material on the desk: This is for sensory stimulation. You can purchase a piece of textured fabric and stick it down to a small section of the table. Having this option will help the person focus better.
6) Incorporate resistance band exercises: You can tie Theraband around the legs of the chair so that the person can press their legs against it. This is a great tip for someone who is always fidgeting and needing proprioceptive input.
1) Plan what to have for breakfast the night before: This just reduces the anticipation of what will be happening in the morning.
2) Use unflavoured toothpaste: For someone who has sensory issues, some flavoured toothpaste can taste spicy. My son has sensory difficulties, so we used to use OraNurse Toothpaste.
3) Use a visual timetable: This is a great way to show structure and routine. As the person develops and becomes more comfortable with change, you can incorporate more flexibility into their routine using a visual timetable, a familiar aid. I find this concept handy as you can have a choice option or add another activity onto a routine.
4) Have an alarm clock: My son has difficulty understanding the perception of time and gets confused with his days of the week, so I purchased a talking alarm clock for him. This is perfect as it says the time and day when you press it:
5) Set aside the clothes the night before ready for the morning.
1) Look at the menu online before going out to a restaurant. I would recommend choosing at least two food options just in case when you arrive, one of the options is not available. If you or the person is restricted on your/their food choice, then bring a tub with a portion of your/their favourite food in.
2) Create a social story about eating out. You can create this yourself, use online templates or purchase social story books.
3) Take Fidget Toys with you. You cannot predict how long it will take to be served or for the food to be ready so having fidget toys at hand helps reduce anxiety while waiting.
4) Request to sit at a side table rather than in the middle of the restaurant: My son has sensory processing disorder, so he feels more comfortable sitting at a side table. Plus this way he is not in the middle of all the noise from the food outlet or people talking.
5) Create an Eating Out Diary: Monitor what style of restaurant suits you or the person best, food option availability, day of the week you eat out and the best time to go out to eat.
1) Take ear defenders with you.
2) Have a travel bag and fill it with fidget toys, snacks and a drink: (drink with a straw preferably). This helps reduce stress and helps people who have oral sensory needs/sensory seeking.
3)Plan the journey ahead. Try and limit, if possible, spontaneous days out.
4) Have a go-to place/quiet place. Look at a map of the area you will be visiting and highlight the less crowded areas, which can be used as a chill-out space.
5) Show images/photos. Give as much visual input as you can of the place you are going to visit, before visiting. This helps to reduce anxiety and gives the person some reassurance.
6) If you have a smartphone, use travel apps. You can see others’ recommendations and some apps are live, so you can check for any travel delays/diversions.
7) Attend the last day of an event: With events, I find it easier when we attend the last day and purchase priority tickets to avoid the busy queues.
8) Travel during off-peak hours.
9) Do a countdown/visual list: When travelling on a train, countdown how many stops you have to go until you have reached your destination. If you are travelling by car/plane/train, then you can create a visual checklist. List the objects that you will see on your journey and once you spot them, just tick them off your list.
10) Spot the Difference Books. My son loves attention to detail so Spot the Difference Books are fun for him. They also help him focus and feel relaxed.
*Every person learns differently, so what works for one person, may not work for another. Always seek professional advice from education professionals before making any changes and to know what works best.
Top Tips Audio Transcript