Learning Products

Our Kids’ 10 Favorite Classroom Fidgets

It’s true: Your ADHD brain can better focus when your body is moving. In the classroom, this means using fidgets, or other special accommodations that keep their senses stimulated without disturbing their classmates. We asked our readers to tell us which fidgets help their kids the most, and the results may surprise you. (Hint: There’s not a spinner among them.)

gaiam balance ball chairs help school productivity for restless students
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Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

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These chairs encourage kids (and adults — it’s designed for users from 5’ - 5’11” and up to 300 lbs) to bounce, tilt, and roll: all those micro-movements that help promote enhanced concentration through body stimulation. And this seating solution doesn’t just help your kid focus; it’s ergonomic as well. Designed for standard-sized desks, the Balance Ball Chair has leg extenders available, if needed. One of our readers told us the chair “keeps [her daughter] in her seat and focused enough to listen and work.” And be honest: who doesn’t want to use a bouncy chair with wheels?

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Twiddle, a fidget spinner alternative and quiet classroom tool
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At first glance, Twiddle looks like a veritable mess of purple, green, and blue interconnected parts. But kids can twist, mold, move, and flip the interconnected loop for maximum — and quiet — fidget potential, keeping them on task and their classmates unbothered. It can even be torn apart or snapped together. It’s small enough to stuff in a pocket, but also long enough to wear as a lanyard or double necklace when unwound. One reader told us, “The Twiddle is something my son can manipulate while doing other things.”

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crazy aaron's thinking putty, a fidget spinner alternative and quiet classroom tool
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Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

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You can stretch it, mold it, change it, twist it, and generally fidget with it. This quiet, non-invasive fidget works great for kids who need something more tactile than a bendable pen and who are obsessed with slime. What’s extra cool: This emerald sky hypercolor thinking putty (a color not sold in stores), changes from green to blue as you play with it, and it glows in the dark. Pretty cool! As one reader notes, “Our kids listen better when they have something to keep their hands busy.”

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hokki stools help school productivity for restless students
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Hokki Stool

$92.93 and up
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Hokki Stools operate on much the same principle as the Balance Ball Chair, and range in height from 12 to 20 inches. Basically, they use small muscle movements to keep your kid on task and focused in class. The company calls it “active sitting,” and the chairs “allow movement in all directions” while the padded seat keeps them from slipping. Much more portable than the balance chair, these light stools come in different sizes, stack for storage, and improve core strength.

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balance disks help school productivity for restless students
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Balance Disc

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Another active sitting device, this smaller cushion inflates to its desired firmness and comes with its own pump. Covered with little nubbly bits, this balance cushion helps “improve balance and posture, coordination and flexibility.” Like the Balance Chair and Hokki Stool, this super-portable fidget promotes active sitting — at a fraction of the price. It can also be flipped over for standing. This was by far our most popular school accommodation.

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the think ink fidget pen is a fidget spinner alternative and quiet classroom tool
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Think Ink Fidget Pen


Think Ink pens pop, swing, bend, and spin, making them one of the ultimate fidget pens on the market. In short, they are a great solution for pencil chewers and pen tappers. They’re also (mostly) silent, which may decrease the level of annoyance suffered by co-workers and classmates who can’t handle inveterate pen-clickers. Different sliders for the top of the pen, plus ink refills, are available through the Think Ink website.

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hearos earplugs are a great classroom tool
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Hearos Ear Plugs

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Sometimes, kids with ADHD need to block out the world, but distraction-free environments are tough to come by at school. That’s where these discreet ear plugs come in. Hearos are the preferred earplugs of musicians, and come in a small size that’s comfortable for long-term wear. They are both reusable and washable, and come with their own case. While they won’t drown out all sound, they will dim it enough to keep students on task with fewer distractions.

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the tangle, a fidget spinner alternative and quiet classroom tool
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Tangle Fidget Toy

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A series of brightly-colored, 90-degree curves that connect and pivot, the Tangle Fidget Toy is the ultimate in quiet fidgets. The components can be taken apart and re-used, so are made to be changed and recreated into different fidgets for your child to explore. The quiet, calming influence of the twists and turns can work one-handed, allowing your child to write while using this. Plus this teacher favorite is a lot less messy than some others, like putty, and makes no noise to disturb the classroom.

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bouncy bands help school productivity for restless students
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Bouncy Band for Desks

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Bouncy bands are the perfect solution for kids who tend to kick their feet, rest them on the seat in front of them, or just generally need body-movement stimulation to help them pay attention. Bouncy Bands wrap around the front legs of a standard school desk (19-25” wide with legs 1-1.25 inches in diameter) and help kids move while they work. A device for reducing anxiety and hyperactivity, the bands are quiet and don’t disturb other students or teachers. While many of our readers hadn’t tried them, several of them expressed a desire to give them a shot — especially given their seriously reasonable price point.

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fidget cubes are a fidget spinner alternative and quiet classroom tool
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Ansty Labs ZURU Fidget Cube

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Like its cousin the fidget spinner, these concentration-boosting cubes have won the loyalty of even neurotypical students. Billed as “the ultimate toy for fidgeters of all ages,” the ZURU cube is backed by almost 155,000 people on Kickstarter. Its six unique sides offer rolls, spins, slides, flips, clicks, and simple rubbing. It does emit some noise — especially the clicker — so some teachers have banned these cubes from the classroom. Still, it’s worth researching whether your child’s teacher may allow it as a special accommodation to be used silently. “They can simply fidget with them and continue their work,” says one reader. ¨And they fit in a pocket.”

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