How Do Fidget Toys Help With Anxiety?

In the 1990s, there were stress balls. More recently, fidget spinners were all the rage, and now Pop Its are the hot new toy every kid wants for the holidays. What is it about these fidget toys that leave both kids and adults enraptured? One of the most compelling reasons is that these toys that keep little (and big) hands busy help relieve anxiety. How do fidget spinners help with anxiety? Here’s the science behind fidget toys, along with some of our most popular fidgets at GEDDES.

What Science Says About Fidgeting

There’s an increasing body of research indicating that fidgeting helps people focus. When fidget toys are banned from classrooms, kids will often fidget with pens, pencils, and erasers, or move their bodies in other ways. Not everyone needs to do this; just like some people need complete quiet in order to work and others need the constant hum of background conversations, some people need to fidget in order to focus, while others need to be still. Researchers recommend that, instead of banning all fidget toys outright, schools should allow toys that don’t create visual attention problems; these include putty and stress balls. (Preventing fidgeting is actually more of a distraction to kids than allowing them to fidget!)

Other research indicates that fidget toys can replace repetitive actions in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder. Fidgeting engages and stimulates the parts of the brain that are involved in attention, so repetitive movements with fidget toys can be displacement behaviors that help people relieve stress. In other words, fidgeting is a form of self-regulation. Toddlers may suck their thumbs, adults might pick at their fingernails or shake a leg as they sit, and kids often want to fidget.

Types of Fidget Toys

There are a number of different types of fidget toys, and not all of them work for every child. If your child is anxious or has ADHD, here are some ideas to try.

Squeezable Toys

Consider these the successor to those old-school pink stress balls they used to sell at novelty stores. You can get squeezable animals, balls with all kinds of textures inside, things that feel spongy when squeezed and toys that feel squishy and slimy.

Try one of these:

Double Color Boba Balls

Super Stretch Balls

Me So Mini Squeeze Balls

Rainbow Mesh Blobbles Squeeze Balls

Sea Squishies Toy Figures


While slime is a lot of fun for kids, it’s not exactly the best type of fidget for school! Putty is more practical for a classroom since it doesn’t have the potential to spill and cause a big mess. We offer a range of putties and modeling foams to keep hands occupied.

Try one of these:

Squish-a-rific Marshmallow Putty

Scented Ice Cream Putty

Confetti Rainbow Putty

Crystal Mine Jewel Putty


Spinning toys reduce stress, calm anxious minds, and help improve focus. Go beyond the classic fidget spinner with our colorful spinning toys, or give your fidget spinner an upgrade with our Fidget-Su Spinner Magnetic Covers.

Try one of these:

Spinnerz Balls

Spin Toy Pen

Fidget-Su Eraser Spinners

Fidget-Su Spinning Tri-Color Pens


Order Fidget Toys from GEDDES

Visit the GEDDES website to shop our full selection of fidget toys online, request our catalog today, or contact us to learn more about our products and our mission.