25 Best Fidget Toys for Kids with ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common medical conditions affecting American children. Kids with ADHD often have difficulty focusing, keeping still, and practicing self-regulation.
Since the effects of ADHD make it more challenging for the child to participate in school and other activities, they are more likely to be considered fidgeters, especially when it’s time to remain still. Luckily, Fidget toys can help kids and adults with ADHD channel some of that extra energy!
More: The 25 Best Sensory Toys for Kids With Special Needs
Many doctors, parents, and educators highly recommend fidget toys because the toys allow for a sensory fidget and stress relief associated with being overly active. Because FamilyEducation is all about families and children, we’ve compiled a list of the best fidget toys for kids with ADHD.
How Do Sensory Toys Help with ADHD?
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) struggle with impulse control and focusing on tasks. They also lack the self-regulation skills needed to process overwhelming environments. Children who experience ADHD alongside other neurodiverse conditions like autism, anxiety, and sensory issues have different struggles regarding impulse control and self-regulation.
Fidget toys provide an outlet for a child’s excess energy and impulses and a way to engage in the sometimes constant motion their body requires to stay calm and focused. By keeping their hands or feet engaged in repetitive and simple movements, a child with ADHD’s brain can tune excess distractions and anxiety, increasing concentration.
As the mother of a child with combined presentation ADHD, I know all too well how valuable the right fidget can be for a child struggling to focus.
Which Fidget Toys Work Best for ADHD and Hyper-Activity?
Discovering which fidget toys work best for your child is sometimes a trial-and-error process. Luckily many fidget toys are quite affordable, and usually, you can purchase fidget toy sets from sites like Amazon.com or Oriental Trading Company. If you’re a teacher, these sites also offer bulk fidget toy packs if you find one or two fidgets your class particularly enjoys. You may even have items around your house like bubble wrap, empty plastic bottles, dried rice, or playdoh that can be used as sensory toys.
The type of fidget your child will prefer also prefers on how their brain processes external stimuli. For my son, fidget spinners, squish balls, and popper toys work well to focus his energy and calm him when he needs tactile stimulation.
Some children will prefer visual toys like sand or water and oil timers and things that light up. Other children might need to chew toys or something to sit on or play with on their feet, like chair bands. Most children will gravitate to more than one toy, depending on their needs.
As Scientific American stated in their article Fidget Toys Aren’t Just Hype. “Fidgeting didn’t start with the spinner craze. If you’ve ever clicked a ballpoint pen, again and again, you’ve used a fidget item.” Now countless objects are explicitly marketed as fidget toys, and they have the science to back them up.
When considering purchasing a fidget toy, keep in mind kids with ADHD are looking for an extra sensory input that will help to stabilize and calm their nervous system. The hands are great self-regulation tools to focus and filter out extra sensory input.
Depending on what feels “good” to the child, you’ll want to look for manipulative toys that are easy to hold, preferably in one hand. They can be squishy, clicky, furry, smooth, or other sensations. And as a bonus, they often boost fine motor skills.
How We Chose the Best Fidget Toys for ADHD
Lots of research and experience! I was an early childhood teacher for nearly fifteen years, and I'm the mom to a child diagnosed with ADHD four years ago and an older son diagnosed with anxiety and sensory processing disorder at three; we’ve gone through a lot of sensory toys!
Our list provides you with the best fidget toys for kids with ADHD, as recommended by teachers, parents, occupational therapists, and other professionals who work with children. You’ll find a range of toys for any type of fidgeter and age.
Stress Balls & Squishy Toys for Kids
Product Price ~ $9.97
This scented, squishy unicorn is a fantastical paradise. This unicorn squeeze fidget toy is slow-rising and slightly scented. They’re small enough to pack in a backpack and keep tucked in as a desk toy (if the teacher agrees).
Product Price ~ $14.99
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a kid who won’t find this eye-popping brain amusing. The texturized brain provides extra tactile stimulation, and the eye-popping motion will entertain your child repeatedly.
Product Price ~ $15.99
YoYa has a variety of fidget toys to choose from, but the light-up ball has a soft, spiky surface for stimulation. To add to the fidget, they’ve included sparkling LED lights and lots of smaller colorful balls that give it a DNA or bacterial effect.
Product Price ~ $27.95
PipSquigz by Mindware is a sensory toy for children six months and up. It is BPA-free, and there are no small or loose parts, so if your child likes to mouth or chew toys, it is 100% safe.
The PipSquigz toys can be attached to a surface like a high chair or desk or be stuck together. Each toy in the set has a unique shape and texture to promote tactile input.
Product Price ~ $5.95
Similar to other sensory or squishy balls, the Sqwooz ball is a soft easy to manipulate texture for squeezing and stretching. The difference between this toy and the balls by YoYa is that the interior is a gel-like goop that bubbles and moves as you squeeze the ball.
6. Beadeeze Squishy Stress Ball
Product Price ~ $12.99
The Beadeeze Squishy ball is another excellent choice from YoYa toys. Unlike its spiky counterpoint, this toy has a soft and palpable texture. In addition, the ball can be squeezed or stretched, so it’s like getting two sensory toys in one!
Tactile Toys for Kids with ADHD
7. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
Product Price ~ $14.95
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is specifically for individuals with learning and emotional disabilities. The putty comes in a variety of colors, including a collection of Illusion putties with color-shifting metallic tones.
Anyone who needs a putty-type fidget toy can bounce, tear, and sculpt it. The putty also strengthens hand muscles and fine motor skills.
8. Worry Stones
Product Price ~ $9.95
Worry stones are an excellent way to address an older child or teen’s sensory needs who may not want to be seen with “a toy.” Worry stones have a dimple in the middle, which allows the holder to rub in a circular motion. They are simple, low-tech gadgets that can relieve stress.
9. ART Balls
Product Price ~ $28.99
ART Balls are a toy for all ages! In fact, we had one from when my eldest son was an infant, and it still gets used! Many people use these for ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, and anxiety.
The wooden balls are connected by flexible joints, so the child manipulates them in different ways. It takes focus and boosts creativity to come up with different results.
10. Hedgehog Rollers
Product Price ~ $9.99
If your child prefers texturized toys, this set of four soft, spiky sensory fidget toys in red, blue, yellow, and green are a great choice. They’re small enough to fit in the palm and resemble the shape of a hedgehog. Place them under the palm and roll them back and forth.
11. Putty Scents
Product Price ~ $4.97
Putty, Play-Doh, and modeling clay provide opportunities for tactile sensory play. Putty Scents come in a variety of pleasing scents that enhance the sensory experience. While the putty is gluten-free, making it safe for children with celiac disease to use and non-toxic, it is not edible and unsuitable for children under three.
Product Price ~ $18.97
Playing with slime is an excellent anti-anxiety toy if your child doesn’t mind gooey and slimy textures. Some children with sensory processing disorder or some autistic children don’t like getting their hands messy or dirty, while others crave the input a substance like slime provides.
13. Monkey Noodle
Product Price ~ $7.99
Monkey Noodles are stretchy, twirly fidget strings that are great for hair pullers and twirlers. These sensory toys stretch from 10 inches to 8 feet. They come in a pack of five in a variety of bright colors (green, red, blue, purple, and pink). We love Monkey Noodles in our house!
Wearable Fidget and Sensory Toys for Kids
14. Weighted Lap Pad
Product Price ~ $41.95
This 5-lb weighted lap pad provides just enough sensory input to a small child struggling to focus or remain seated during class. In addition, the soft, textured surface provides additional sensory stimulation.
15. Anxiety Plushie
Product Price ~ $34.99
Weighted anxiety plushies are an alternative to the weighted blanket, and they help both adults and children who struggle with mental health disorders.
The feeling of the added weight on their lap is soothing and helps calm anxiety and nervous energy. Several members of my family have an anxiety plushie, including myself!
16. Pop-It Bracelets
Product Price ~ $14.95
Pop-it toys have been the rage for some time now, and these wearable pop-it bracelets allow your child to keep their fidget with them everywhere they go. This pack of 30 also makes great non-food party favors.
Product Price ~ $12.99
This sensory chewy necklace bundle provides a safe BPA-free and phthalate toy for your child to mouth and chew. Many children with sensory processing disorder or autism mouth toy past the typical age of their peers. Therefore it is crucial to provide them with safe, non-toxic options. The bumps on these LEGO brick-style necklaces add additional sensory stimulation.
18. Sensy Band
Product Price ~ $5.95
The Sensy Band is designed for your child to wear, so they have it close at all times. It is worn like a bracelet or a watch in a “slap bracelet” style. The soft, bumpy silicone bristles provide instant calming and focus.
A Sensy Band can be particularly useful for a child struggling to focus in class; however, obtain the teacher's permission before sending your child to school with any toy.
Gross Motor Skill Toys for Kids
19. Gonge Top
Product Price ~ $119.95
Many children with ADHD and on the autism spectrum love the sensation of spinning. The spinning motion provides anxiety relief and can help a child calm down or burn off excess energy.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor, the Gonge top is the perfect way to allow your child to spin safely.
20. Tactile Discs
Product Price ~ $109.95
Sometimes children with ADHS need to move their entire body to release tension and stress. When your child has wiggles that are too big for a handheld toy, have them play games on these portable tactile discs. They can be used indoors and out and set for various activities.
Product Price ~ $21.95
Wobble cushions are excellent tools for children who struggle to sit still or stay in their seats during instruction. This inflatable cushion is just slightly off balance providing sensory input for young children who need to wiggle and wobble a bit.
One side is smooth, and the other has soft spikes. It is strong enough to support adults and children standing on the cushion.
Fidget Cubes & Puzzles
Product Price ~ $9.99
Both my children loved playing with the Tangle when they were younger. The Tangle BrainTools are made to “fidget to focus” so kids with ADHD can occupy their hands to let their minds go where it needs to.
The Tangle is a therapeutic tool that twists and turns but stays connected. It’s a curved, rubber-textured tube and fits in the palm of the hand.
Product Price ~ $16.99
This 2-in-1 fidget spinner and cube comes with a handy little pouch. The spinner looks like a thin cube with Rubix colors, and it spins quietly and smoothly, helping to boost concentration and soothe nerves. You can turn and click the spinner parts for a different fidget feeling and transform the look.
24. Fidget Dodecagon
Product Price ~ $8.99
The Minilopa Fidget Dodecagon is a 12-sided fidget cube with different finder-size activities on each side. These include gears, buttons, a tiny joystick, silicone balls, and other things to click, roll, flick, and spin.
This fidget toy is handy for those who want various choices in one hand-held device. They come in different, vibrant colors, too.
Product Price ~ $8.91
The Cubebot consists of several linked wooden cubes that can be manipulated, twisted, and stacked into different cubed shapes. And what gives it the most character is the robot face at the top, so any way you twist the cube, it will have a funny expression.
For more toys that will help kids focus in the classroom, at home, or on the move, check out this list of 15 Travel Toys to Keep Toddlers Calm in the Car.
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About L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom experience.