Why you might have heard of fidgets
Fidgeting is a physical effect of our brain’s natural reaction to the world around us.
We might feel our feet unconsciously drumming along to the beat of our favourite song, a rush of unwelcome anxiety when navigating a new place, or spiking nerves when we are under pressure to meet a tight deadline.
Fidgety moments are a feature of our daily lives. They can happen at different times and can affect us in lots of different ways. Some can be seen as positive (jumping up and down with excitement), whilst others are perceived more negatively (ants in your pants wriggling about on your seat).
Finding ways to productively channel our fidgeting has become a subject of exploration for many ingenious minds. Rooted in sensory, it’s a topic of discussion that has even recently broken into mainstream focus (see the 2017 fidget spinner frenzy!). Which is why we thought that it’d be a good idea to dig into the wonderful world of fidgets, and why they’re an ingenious force for good.
What are fidgets?
Fidgets are handheld devices that relieve anxiety and stress, helping you to focus.
Although they all have one thing in common, their fidgeting brilliance!
Once you have a fidget in your hand and your fingers start to press and push upon it, you’ll soon find yourself feeling a lot calmer. This is because your brain feeds its extra energy into the fidget, helping you to focus on what’s important.
So, whether you are in a classroom, lecture, office space, plane, train or automobile, a fidget can be a handy little concentration device.
The Sensory Science Behind Fidgets:
Throughout the day our brains deal with a complex concoction of messages and signals, from hunger levels to daydreams. This all happens in our brain’s background, whilst we try to focus on the tasks that we set for ourselves each day. But focusing can be hard, especially if our brain is working overtime to try and manage a multitude of messages all at once, which can leave us feeling distracted, frustrated and exhausted.
And this is where fidgets can help!
Fidgets give your brain snack sized distractions so that you can focus more clearly on your main task. Which is explained by childrens' education specialist Sydney Zentall, “an activity that uses a sense other than that required for the primary task – such as listening to music whilst reading a textbook – can enhance the primary task performance,” citing its special importance for children with ADHD.
Research also suggests that fidgeting can increase attention and memory, highlighting the positively productive nature of distraction.
Fidgets for Different Environments:
With the benefits of fidgeting made clear. We thought that we’d share our top fidgety picks for different environments where a good fidgeting session may be necessary!
Fidgeting is definitely not just something for kids. People of all ages are afflicted with anxiety, stress and problems with distraction – and fidgets can be a great way to help deal with that.
One of our favourite fidgets in the office is the Jumbo Glittery Squishball; it’s pretty, sparkly and robust enough to survive extra stressful deadlines. I really like using it in my creative incubation sessions, as the rhythmic kneading motion helps me focus on my intergalactic creative mind journey (yes, I am part alien). It’s a great desk mate that’s also aesthetic to look at.
Or if you’re more of a lateral thinker, we’d recommend a Tangle. It’s the right size for big hands and endlessly fidgety, making it a great partner for spreadsheet sessions, long meetings or commutes.
Classrooms can feel restrictive for many neurodivergent kids who struggle to sit still all day. Their behaviour could be easily written off as an aversion to learning, but in reality, they might just be averse to learning in a formal way. Therefore, fidgets can be a huge relief for kids who find themselves in formal learning environments.
Our sensory specialists have crafted a Silent Fidget Kit that’s perfect for school environments. Each fidget in the kit has been chosen for its silent sensory and tactile values, so pupils can make the most of the fidgets without causing a disturbance. With five different fidgets inside to choose from there is a lot of fidgety fun to have!
On The Go
It’s common to feel anxious or stressed when travelling or exploring new environments. Having a handy fidget in your pocket can help you feel grounded in the moment and stop your worrisome thoughts from flying all over the place.
Small, simple and reliable, we find that the Simpl Dimpl is a great fidget for when you’re on the go. Popping the colourful bubbles back and forth is stimulating and relaxing. But the best part is its compact size, letting you fidget from the comfort of your pocket or bag; whilst a handy clip will stop you from losing it.
Sometimes there may not be a reason for why your feeling fidgety, and there’s not a problem with that. We’d recommend our Personal Fidget Kit for these moments. It’s filled with seven of our most popular fidgets, giving you the opportunity to find the one that works best with you. Or maybe you’ll decide to match the fidget to your mood; the Rainbow Jellyball for when you’re feeling anxious, or the Tangle when you’re stressed.
We hope that you've enjoyed our trip through the wonderful world of fidgets. Explore our full fidget collection and find a fidgety treat for your fingers!