The fidgeting definition is the act of making small movements or being impatient; things that people often do when they are in the classroom or workplace or even just having a conversation. In the 1980s, a woman named Catherine Hettinger first started to come up with the idea for a spinning toy for fidgeting. She saw some kids throwing rocks at police officers and she wanted to come up with a way to keep kids distracted and from causing trouble. The first spinner did not debut until the 1990s, but they were not nearly as popular back then. Now, fidget spinners are everywhere. It is somewhat debated whether her patent actually resembles the modern day fidget spinners closely, though she is often cited as the original creator of fidget spinners.1 Fidgeting is not a new concept; people have been fidgeting for years, often with any nearby object while they work or study. The reasons behind fidgeting is not very well studied, though some believe that working with the hands helps increase memory and creativity, such as when writing by hand rather than with a keyboard or mindlessly doodling. Objects that people fidget with can often be played with repetitively or might have sentimental value or a sensation that is engaging to touch. Fidgeting is often considered unprofessional or silly in the workplace and in the classroom, despite the fact that so many people do it.2
So Many Fidget Toys to Try
There are many different types of fidget toys for ADHD. Fidget cubes were conceived by Matthew and Mark McLachlan and funded by people on Kickstarter. The cubes can fit in the palm of the hand and have six sides, each one for a different type of fidgeting. There are buttons on one side for pen-like clicking, a joystick to glide, a switch to flip, gears and a ball, a circle to spin, and an indentation to mimic a worry stone.3 The fidget spinner is another method of fidgeting, and it has a variety of styles that make it very popular with kids. The basic design is a plastic or metal base with three prongs and a bearing in the center that allows it to spin. The fidget ball is a toy made up of a mass of interconnected rings that can be rotated and rolled. Worry stones are fidget toys for anxiety and can be made of any smooth material that fits in the hand and has been given a slight indent. Worry stones are meant to be rubbed or just held for a calming weight in the hand. There are additions that can be put on pencils, objects that people already often fidget with. With toys meant for squishing, spinning, twisting, rubbing, and clicking, there are many options available for people to distract their hands.4
Does Fidgeting Really Help?
There is evidence that fidget spinners do not actually work or, at least, are not supposed to be for everyone. Some teachers are annoyed by the fidgeting in the classroom, with some schools even banning the toys altogether. There have not been any studies specifically meant to test the effectiveness of these toys on mental health or cognitive functioning. The fidget toys may be helpful for kids with ADHD, but they may do nothing for those without attentional issues. They may also affect most people negatively, distracting them and taking their attention away from their work. However, fidget toys are not necessarily the most distracting thing in the classroom or workplace, and more research needs to be done about their effectiveness.5
How to Make a Fidget Toy
Many fidget toys can be expensive to buy. One DIY fidget toy is the fidget spinner, which can be made of anything from Legos to rubber bands to cardboard.6 The cardboard spinner also needs small coins, a toothpick, glue, a pin, scissors, and a template. Newspaper or magazine paper can also be used to put interesting designs on the spinner. The paper and cardboard are cut out into the shape of the spinner and then glued together before a pin is used to put a small hole in the center. Coins are glued onto the sides for weight and balance before another piece of cardboard is cut into two circles small enough for the center of the spinner; pin-sized holes are put into the center of the circles and then they are attached with a toothpick. The toothpick should be cut to size once it has been put through the cardboard holes and then glued on the ends to soften the sharp edges.7 There are quite a few videos online devoted to the at-home creation of a variety of fidget spinner styles and materials. There are other forms of touch sensory distraction that can be handmade as well. Filling an empty balloon with rice, flour, beans, or sand creates a squishy stress ball. Kinetic sand is just two parts baking soda, one part baking powder, and one part dishwashing liquid combined with sand. More baking powder can be added if it is still wet. Kinetic sand is not as messy as regular sand, though playing with it in a storage container is recommended. Even a simple beaded bracelet or necklace can be fidgeted with.8