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Key Takeaways:

  • Fidget toys are handheld objects that help address anxiety in kids and teens. They’re available as spinners, cubes, balls, and other forms.
  • Fidget toys help anxious individuals manage overstimulation, stay focused, and find ways to relax.
  • Some popular fidget toys include fidget spinners, cubes, balls, tanglers, and rings.

While fidgeting is common among children and teenagers, excessive restlessness might indicate a more pressing issue—anxiety. Thankfully, fidget toys for anxiety can prevent dangerous habits from developing, like skin-picking or scratching.

We’ve gathered the ten best fidget toys for kids and teens with anxiety to help your child redirect their attention and calm their minds.

What are Fidget Toys for Anxiety?

Fidget toys are not just one-size-fits-all solutions. They are diverse, handheld objects that offer a healthy distraction and reduce stress. They come in various forms, such as spinners, cubes, and balls, and are typically compact, allowing kids to use them anywhere.

Fidget toys are ideal for managing anxiety in children, as they provide positive short-term effects on stress levels and give them an outlet for excess energy.

How Fidget Toys Help Kids & Teens with Anxiety

Anxious kids and teens may fidget when anxious, stressed, worried, or restless. Fidget toys can help alleviate the unwanted behaviors associated. They can also provide the following benefits:

  • Overstimulation management. One key benefit of fidget toys is their ability to help children manage overstimulation. In environments that can be overwhelming, these toys provide repetitive movements and sensory outputs, empowering individuals to self-soothe and regulate their emotions.
  • Improved focus. For children whose anxiety or ADHD symptoms manifest as restlessness, fidget toys can provide an outlet for excess energy, improving their overall focus.
  • Enhanced memory. A previous study demonstrated that fidgeting lowers stress hormones, improving an individual’s memory and learning ability [*].

10 Best Fidget Toys for Kids & Teens with Anxiety

If you’re looking for something to help preoccupy and relax your anxious child, these fidget toys are for you! Discover ten of the best fidget toys for helping anxious kids and teens stay focused and calm.

1. Fidget Spinner

The reliable fidget spinner is a three-pronged tool made from plastic or metal. These toys are available in dozens of colors and designs and are easy to use. They’re also noiseless, minimizing distractions in group settings.

$7.99 on Amazon

2. Fidget Cube

These six-sided toys are more complex than their spinner counterparts and feature various activities like twisting, clicking, sliding, or flipping. They’re ideal for anxiety and quitting bad habits like nail-biting and other attention disorders.

$19.99 on Amazon

3. Putty

While primarily a sensory toy, putty is also an excellent fidget toy, ideal for poking and prodding. They come in dozens of colors and are a silent tool unlikely to distract others in public settings. Putty offers open-ended play and sensory stimulation in dozens of colors, textures, and scents.

$29.98 on Amazon

4. Stress Ball

Stress balls have long been a popular fidget toy, even in office settings. Squeezing them signals relaxation and is part of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). According to PMR, physical tension and mental anxiety are connected [*]. By consciously relaxing their muscles, kids with anxiety can shut off their flight-or-fight response and focus on the present moment.

Some stress balls have added features like scents and textures or lights inside them. Some also feature affirmations for additional motivation and relaxation.

$28.95 on Amazon

5. Infinity Cube

Also known as a silent fidget or clicky cube, infinity cubes contain eight smaller cubes connected by a hinge mechanism. You can flip each cube inwards and outwards to transform them into different shapes.

The repetitive clicking and movement of these toys provide a calming distraction and allow children to focus. They also provide tactile stimulation and are an excellent fidget outlet for anxiety.

$16.49 on Amazon

6. Tangle

The Tangle is a popular fidget toy featuring connected, curving pieces users can reshape and twist. It’s ideal for children and teenagers, as it is entertaining and soothing for the former and relaxing and calming for the latter.

Reviewers on Amazon have claimed that the toy has helped them manage anxiety and PTSD symptoms.

$9.99 on Amazon

7. Chewable Pendant

Anxious kids might use chewing on things as a self-soothing mechanism or due to an oral fixation. Repetitive chewing is also a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB) that can cause damage and even impact daily life. [*]

A safer alternative is a chewable pendant, often made with medical-grade thermoplastic elastomer, which is more durable than silicone. They’re available in various shapes and offer different sensory inputs.

$8.99 on Amazon

8. Magnetic Balls

One of the best ways to ease anxious thoughts is to focus on something hands-on. Magnetic balls are an excellent avenue for accessing motor skills and allowing someone to sit back and relax.

Magnetic balls are customizable and modular, so your teen can let their imagination run wild! They can be a choking hazard for young children, so supervise them when using this toy. Overall, magnetic balls are better for managing anxiety in teens.

$13.99 on Amazon

9. Fidget Ring

Spinner or worry rings are an excellent wearable solution for kids and teens with anxiety. They have two stacked bands; one spins as you move it. They’re available in dozens of sizes and colors, each with unique features like different textures for relaxation and self-soothing.

$14.99 on Amazon

10. Flippy Chain

While it may not look like a traditional fidget toy for anxiety, the flippy chain is a unique pocket-sized solution for intrusive thoughts. According to its manufacturer, the flippy chain has helped troubled teenagers overcome bad habits like smoking and claims to lower stress levels overall.

This toy features two stainless steel rings and two bike chain pieces that users can slide and flip for hours of silent fidgeting.

$6.99 on Amazon

The Bottom Line

Anxiety doesn’t have to be crippling. By incorporating fidget toys for kids and teens into your child’s daily routine, you can provide an essential outlet for pent-up energy in moments of stress.

Compliment your child’s fidgeting with anxiety worksheets from our collection. We believe in all-around healing and want to provide the best opportunities for managing anxiety.

Sources:

  1. Aspiranti KB, Hulac DM. “Using Fidget Spinners to Improve On-Task Classroom Behavior for Students With ADHD.” Behavior analysis in practice, 2021.
  2. Toussaint L, Quang Anh Nguyen, Roettger C, et al. “Effectiveness of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Deep Breathing, and Guided Imagery in Promoting Psychological and Physiological States of Relaxation.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, 2021.
  3. Roberts S, Kieron O'Connor, Bélanger C. “Emotion regulation and other psychological models for body-focused repetitive behaviors.” Clinical psychology review, 2013.

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