What are the best ADHD fidget toys for adults?
Adulting With ADHD Staff
Not just kids, but adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have the tendency to fidget with things too. This fidgeting becomes a problem when it’s done at the wrong time and in the wrong place. Thankfully, fidget toys can help remedy things.
So, what are the best ADHD fidget toys for adults? Here are the nine best fidget toys to help you feed your jitters quietly and discreetly:
- MAGTIMES Anti-Anxiety Fidget Spinner
- Thumbs UK Fidget Pen
- Mobii Fidget Ball
- Antsy Labs Fidget Cube
- Roller Chain by Tom’s Fidgets
- X Hot Popcorn Bean Keychain
- Puffer Ball by Curious Minds Busy Bags
- J. C. Walsh Connemara Worry Stone
- Top Chi Baoding Balls
If you’d like to know more about these recommendations, keep reading. However, before that, let’s understand what these fidget toys really are, how they work, and what purpose they truly serve.
What Is a Fidget Toy?
Available in different shapes, fidget toys are tools that help assist small hand/foot movements. They provide tactile input as well. The word “toy,” in this context, is a misnomer – particularly when it comes to fidget toys for adults.
They’re more of a tool that serves a specific purpose – helping with attention, self-regulation, and calming. But since these tools look more like a toy, they are commonly referred to as so. You may, however, rechristen them as “sensory gadgets” or “concentration tools.”
That said, there are certain fidget toys that are toys in their truest sense. In other words, any fidget aid that grabs your attention or requires you to focus on it is a “toy.”
These toys need you to pay attention since you have to keep an eye on it at all times to maintain control or to attempt some neat tricks. A fidget tool, on the other hand, could be fiddled with in the background.
Why Would You Need Fidget Toys?
Fidget toys, contrary to what most people think, are less of a fun escape and more to help build focus. To people who have little to no introduction to ADHD, a fidget toy may look more like a tool that annoys and distracts the user instead of actually having the opposite effect.
People with ADHD have multiple things going on in their brains – to the point that there is a neurological discharge excess that requires an outlet.
Without a tool to fidget with, all these cerebral phenomena may cause the individual to implode mentally, embarrass themselves and the people around, and/or possibly get into trouble with others. A fidget toy helps drain those multiple thoughts in the most peaceful manner possible.
You don’t need a fidget toy to help burn this excess energy. Any small activity such as tapping feet, twirling hair, wiggling in a chair, drumming fingers, etc. can qualify as fidgeting. However, these activities could inflict self-harm, damage the thing that’s being fidgeted with, and, most importantly, disturb or annoy others.
A fidget toy is a safer and more discreet way of catering to these fidgeting proclivities since it’s specially designed to aid with fidgeting. Thanks to fidget toys, the pen that is actually meant to be used for writing will no more be clicked to the point of being broken, the hacky sack would no longer be tossed back and forth, and those tresses would not be messed around with.
Wouldn’t a Fidget Toy Deviate Focus?
Another question that most people have on their minds is how fidget toys help a person focus when the individual is expanding their focus and energy on the toy. The answer to this is that ADHD has its own way of getting things done.
Unlike others, people with ADHD have an increased tendency to multitask. In other words, when their hands are busy doing something, they are able to focus much better on a task that truly requires focusing.
In fact, many research studies have proved that fidgeting helps people with ADHD pay attention to tasks better, improve their problem-solving skills, and increase their ability to recall thoughts and past events.
Another study deduced that the fidgety behavioral tendencies adults and kids with ADHD exhibit could be conscious efforts to boost alertness. The improvement in focus and concentration, however, varies between individuals.
Though multitasking can eventually cause a decline in one’s motor and memory skills, it works for the better at times. For instance, some people write or study better while listening to music on the side. The portion of their brain that engages with the music would become restless in the absence of music. For most people without ADHD, the music would be a source of distraction.
The 9 Best Fidget Toys for Adults
Now that you understand what fidget toys are and the role that they play, let’s take a detailed look at some of the best fidget toys for adults.
A fidget spinner needs no introduction. It has been an Internet craze for some time now. Though it’s not as widespread in popular culture as before, it still serves a solid purpose. Fidget spinners are commonly used for fidgeting. These spinners can spin in your hand or on a table for several minutes.
Fidget spinners have small bearings to keep them moving. The good-quality spinners come with multiple bearings, which means smoother and more spins. When you first start using the spinner, it may not spin up to its potential since it’s brand-new and needs some breaking in. However, once that phase passes, the spins would smoothen.
Different companies make and sell fidget spinners. Make sure you buy one that’s high-quality. Since there aren’t truly reputed or established names making fidget spinners, it’s important you buy one that has got relatively good feedback from its past buyers, such as the one Magtimes has to offer. If you fancy something less flashy, check out this stealthy piece from Drowse Buster.
As an adult with ADHD, you would certainly not want to be messing around with a toy – particularly if you are within a business environment. You need a fidget toy that can actually be a work tool, too, such as a fidget pen.
There are not a lot of solid fidget pens that do both – actually write and also let you fidget with. The Fidget Pen by Thumbs Up UK marries the two functions seamlessly. The fidgeting sounds it makes are not loud to the point of annoyance. However, they are clicky enough to feel satisfying.
It is a ballpoint pen that packs in different tactile features, which include switches, sliders, twisters, and clickers. Measuring approximately five inches in length, it’s a great pen to write with as well. How you end up playing with the pen is totally up to you. Since there are different things the pen can do, you may have to get used to its various attributes. Once you become familiar, the pen can be quite fun.
The fidget ball is not your traditional ball, both in looks and feel. It is basically a series of interlinked rings creating the silhouette of a ball. The rough ball outline, in fact, makes it ideal for fidgeting. The loops are designed in a way to facilitate infinite play.
This fidget ball by Mobii is pretty small, with a diameter of less than an inch (under 2.5cm). If you’d like bigger versions, you’ve got them as options too.
The ball can be washed with water and soap if the ball gets stiff or dirty. The washed ball can be dried thoroughly using a soft cloth. Thanks to the shape and size, the ball is pretty discreet in your hands. You can easily carry it around in your pockets, keep it in your car, etc. Buy multiples of them and keep them in different places you frequent so that you have one handy at all times.
If you want a ball that looks more conventional, check out the Rainbow Ball by Cuber Speed. The ball has a smooth, round surface with 11 colorful small balls within and 12 holes. You can press on the balls with your fingers to push them to different holes.
The objective is to get the colored balls to their respective holes. This has the underpinning of a Rubik’s cube but comes in a completely fresh avatar. If you’d like to buy a Rubik’s cube too, this one by Winning Moves is a solid offering.
A fidget cube has six sides – each having interactive elements of their own. You are, therefore, highly unlikely to get bored with a particular repetitive motion. Turning the cube on its sides using your fingers could be quite satisfying as well.
Note that when rolling the cube, the protrusions on the various sides could feel hindering initially. However, it should become second nature once you use it continually over a period.
When looking for a fidget cube, make sure it’s well-built, fairly compact, and has unique elements on all its sides. There are some cubes that may have two or more sides sharing the same interactive element. Also, the tactile sensation should be on point, for it to feel satisfying enough. The fidget cube by Antsy Labs fits the bill perfectly.
This roller chain by Tom’s Fidgets is a great toy for quiet and unobtrusive fidgeting. You may fiddle away beneath a conference table, such as this Lorell table, during a meeting without letting anyone know about it. The small, silicone-made rings do not make even a slight whisper when you’re slipping the chain away and twisting it around. Close to an inch in diameter, the sensation the rings evoke when you touch them is sedately tactile.
Besides offices and workplaces, you can also use the roller chain in public places to relieve your social tensions. It fosters positive feelings and focus, helping alleviate your anxiety and offer enjoyment. If you have trouble staying focused on things, this roller chain can be your practice ground to build the same. The links are made of high-quality stainless steel, which means the chain would not break or crack even after years of fidgeting.
If you need something that blends in well with the accessories you carry to your office or school and is not a separate accessory by itself, this keychain set by X Hot Popcorn is your solution. Unlike standalone stress balls, it’s not unwieldy to carry since the balls (shaped to look like beans) are a part of the ensemble. The set condenses all the positives attached to a stress ball in a totally portable package.
It functions and feels just like a stress ball. However, instead of pressing the balls against your palms, you would be squeezing on the beans with your fingers. When you squeeze on the pods, the bean-like balls pop out. Squeeze the popped-out balls, and they would go into their pods. And since the beans are attached, you need not worry about them rolling across a table or desk.
The small beans have cute little faces painted on them, which may bring a smile on your face and enhance your mood. Not to mention, the keyring could be hooked on to your briefcase, belt, or purse, so that it doesn’t get lost or misplaced when not in use. Unlike other fidget toys, this one is less discreet. So, be prepared to answer a few questions that your curious colleagues may come up with.
A puffer/sensory ball is a small plastic/rubber ball that you can hold, toss, and squeeze. It has soft spikes all around that evoke your senses without feeling too prickly. The stimulation effect is created by both the toy’s “squeezability” and its exterior surface.
The ball comes in solid colors or two-tone hues. Besides squeezing, you can also play throw and catch with it when you’re feeling bored at work or during breaks. This self-regulation tool also helps promote your concentration and focus levels and keeps your fingers busy so that you can remain still while seated.
A worry stone is a smooth, marble-like stone that you can place between your fingers and rub on. The stone has an indentation for your thumb, which helps grip the thing. Thanks to that minor scoop, the stone is easy to handle for long time periods, and you are also highly unlikely to drop it. Unlike the majority of fidget toys on this list, a worry stone’s texture is fairly smooth.
Made of Connemara marble, the stone comes in different colors and shapes or indents, such as convex and concave. There are variances in patterns as well. When you buy these stones online, you are likely to get a stone that’s not necessarily identical to the stone shown in the image of the e-commerce listing, as these are natural stones.
Baoding balls are basic metal balls. These have their roots in Chinese tradition and are great for stress relief. You just need to rotate the balls in your hand to derive the benefits. Not to mention, rotating two balls using one hand amounts to a unique hand movement since it necessitates fine motor control and mental focus. These balls also have a reflective, visually stimulating surface.
The two balls come in a carrying pouch so that you can stow them safely and also easily carry them around. Moreover, the carrying pouch has separate compartments so that the balls don’t come in contact with each other in the bag and not scuff each other. Because they are made of metal and are just under a pound each (under 0.45 kg), they are not too heavy yet substantial enough to give your fingers a workout.
How to Find the Right Fidget Toy?
Fidget toys usually don’t work the same way for everyone. In fact, even the most popular ones may not grab some people’s fancy. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut method to ascertain the right fidget toy for you. You will have to, therefore, experiment with a few before you can zero in on the right one.
Before you roll, there are a couple of things you should consider:
- The type of stimulation ideal for you
- Where and how you’re going to use the toy
If you are someone who usually fidgets using your fingers, such as desk-tapping, look for a fidget toy that facilitates fine motor movements. If you habitually clench your fists, a squeezable toy will serve you better.
If you are considering using the toy in a professional setup, such as a classroom or an office, you should account for the distraction factor too. Most educational institutions and even some offices ban fidget spinners since they could be quite disturbing. Besides making noise, the ones that light up could be a visual annoyance too. Most people with ADHD, therefore, use different fidget toys for public and private use.
As mentioned before, getting hold of a fidget toy that actually helps could require some experimentation. Besides looking for a toy that looks and feels the part, make sure it also is involuntary and quiet. Activities done with squeeze toys, worry stones, fidget cubes, etc. fade in the background so that you could pay attention to any task that you actually need to focus on.
Besides using fidget toys, taking small breaks regularly can also help release energy. A snack or a walk could help boost your ability to focus on a task after you return. In fact, it’s recommended you use fidget toys in conjunction with some of these other techniques to optimally deal with your excess energy.