6 Best Fidget Toys to Help Kids Focus in the Classroom

little girl playing with fidget toys

Fidget spinners burst onto the scene back in 2017, quickly becoming a hot trend that some people were sure would die out quickly. However, the idea of using repetitive movements or tactile stimulation, i.e. fidgeting, to ease anxiety and improve focus is far from new. Repetitively clicking the end of a pen, tapping a pencil against a desk, and even tapping feet on the floor are all forms of fidgeting that millions of people use to adjust the stimulation level around them so that they can focus and relax while working or studying. Fidgeting is a very effective and easy way for all individuals, but especially those with sensory or attention issues, to reign in out of control feelings and hone in on the task at hand. It’s no wonder that teachers everywhere are exploring how fidgeting, and fidget toys, can help students improve focus and performance.

Not All Fidget Toys are the Same

Most people think of fidget spinners when they hear anything about fidgeting, mostly due to their immense popularity in the late 2010’s. However, there are many different types of fidget toys that vary wildly from the three-pronged spinners, including many that are much more classroom appropriate. For a fidget toy to be truly helpful in a classroom setting, it must serve its purpose without being overly distracting for the user or their classmates. This is why fidget toys that are quiet and do not involve visual stimulation are best for the classroom (and the least likely to be confiscated by a teacher).

Best 6 Fidget Toys for the Classroom

Find below our top five recommendations for classroom-friendly fidget toys, perfect for helping students of any age concentrate without excessive disturbance:

1. Putty

Putty is the perfect tactile fidget toy, allowing the student to pull, stretch, and twist it without making a sound. Many putties today come in bright colors or patterns to suit each child’s taste. Be sure the student has a container to store the putty in when not in use, as it tends to pick up every piece of dirt and hair it touches if not enclosed.

2. Marble in Fabric Pouch

There are many variations of this fidget toy, but the most popular version is just a standard-sized marble enclosed in a tube-like piece of fabric that is sewn completely shut. The fabric is usually something tough, durable, and easy to clean like nylon. Students can simply run the marble up and down within the tube repetitively or even wrap the fabric around their finger if pressure stimulation helps them best. If the student needs a simple fidget toy that can take some rigorous use, then this is a great option.

3. Large Elastic Bands

Many students respond positively to slight pressure on different parts of the body, and large elastic bands can accomplish this quietly and effectively. These bands are similar to the resistance bands used by physical therapists and athletes. Some bands are made to fit around the student’s legs or arms so that they can push them out against the band, applying varying pressure to the desired area. Other bands actually attach to the student’s desk legs, giving students who like to tap their feet constantly something much quieter to persistently tap. This helps control the student’s stress while also minimizing distraction to students seated nearby.

4. Fidget Cubes

While fidget spinners aren’t the most classroom-friendly fidget toy out there since they often require visual coordination, fidget cubes are a bit different. Fidget cubes are typically made to fit discreetly inside the palm of the hand and have six sides of buttons, switches, spinning wheels, and more for the student to cycle through quietly by simply turning the cube. Opt for fidget cubes that don’t make any clicks or other noise or require any eye coordination to minimize any distractions.

5. Chewable Pencil Toppers

Many students with sensory issues like to chew on random items, from pencils to erasers to clothing and more. This habit isn’t just distracting…it can also be quite dangerous! Small pieces of wood, plastic, or other materials that are chewed off of objects can become choking hazards, so replace those inappropriate items with something the student can chew safely. We suggest trying chewable pencil toppers for these students. These toppers come in various shapes, colors, and sometimes even tastes to suit any child’s preferences, and they fit on the end of any standard sized pencil or pen, making them convenient for the student to access when needed. For mindless chewers who need a durable fidget option, these are a great solution.

6. Hand/Finger Exerciser

Last but not least are hand/finger exercisers. Traditionally used by athletes and musicians to strengthen the finger, hand, and arm muscles, these nifty little gadgets feature one solid, smooth pad for the palm of the hand and four separate pads for each finger (minus the thumb). By gripping the exerciser in one hand, the student can push down on each of the finger pads individually or push in all the fingers and the palm at once. These are very popular with older students who don’t want a childish-looking fidget toy but still need tactile stimulation and pressure.

Find the Best Fidget Toy for Your Students

Fidget toys are proven to be effective in increasing attention span and focus in both anecdotal accounts and via limited research. When choosing a fidget toy for a student to use in the classroom, it’s important to choose a toy that is both quiet and soothing while not causing a disturbance to other students. Go with any of the six classroom-friendly fidget toys mentioned above for effective stimulation that enhances student performance without distraction.


GEDDES is a wholesale school supply store dedicated to bringing imaginative and affordable school supplies to all students and educational settings. From classrooms to extracurricular groups to educational fundraisers, GEDDES has the school supplies and novelty items to make learning fun!

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