If you're one of the millions of parents who's suddenly homeschooling, or supporting your child with virtual schooling this year, I know how overwhelmed you may feel. But, having the right kinds of sensory toys and fidgets available for your kids, both during lessons and play breaks, can help you keep them on-task and learning as much as possible.
To that end, I've collected my family's favorite, best fidgets for homeschool (or virtual school) for under $20. They make great additions to your at-home school set-up, or even if you're just looking for an inexpensive (but fun!) gift for the fidgeter in your life.
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We couldn't put together a Best Fidgets for Homeschool list without putty, so let's put it right at the top!
Putty Elements™ from Fun & Function starts at $5.99 USD for a 2oz. container, or just $7.99 USD for a 4oz container, and comes in a variety of colors and strengths.
Made of silicone, this putty is ideal for home, classroom or clinic use, especially for kids with fine motor delays, sensory processing disorder or ADHD.
It supports sensory integration and fine-motor skill development, and is just plain fun! A great stocking stuffer or party favor, too!
Timers are a must-have in the school context - they help kids learn how long a minute is, focus on tasks like clean up. These liquid timers are great for calm-down time and sensory play, too!
We bought one these timers when my son was about 2 years-old, and he would play with it for hoouuurrssss, no joke.
When he dropped it down the stairs from the second floor and it started leaking, we were very happy to remember that they're inexpensive and easy to replace. Still, I would say these are pretty sturdy, as long as you don't drop them onto a wood floor from the second story of your house too often!
Another great option for the peaceful place or your sensory corner is this sequin snake! This stuffy is about 2 feet long and covered in those gorgeous double-sided sequins.
Wrap it around your arm for some good pressure, and stroke the sequins to change the snakes color and get some wonderful tactile input along the way!
This is one of the least expensive items on this list as of writing, but it's the one that gets the most use at our house. Why? My partner, an ADHD adult, keeps one in his pocket at all times.
His thera cube helps him focus during conversations, wait more patiently in line, and think through thorny problems at work.
This is such an underrated little toy; I really recommend it to everybody!
Are any of you chewers? This is a very common stim for a lot of kids and adults, but it can also be destructive. You end up chewing holes into your shirts, biting down your nails, breaking bracelet strings, or injuring your teeth.
I always chewed the erasers off my pencils, and then never had an eraser when I needed one. The struggle is real.
We have these drop pendants at home, one for each kid, and they are just great. Once you get in the habit of wearing them and redirecting biting, these work well to provide the same sensory input without damaging anything.
These are my daughter's absolutely favorite fidgets. They're basically really, really stretchy little noodles that lengthen from 10 inches up to 8 feet.
My daughter needs a lot of heavy work, and the ways she finds to get that with these noodles amaze me. She doesn't just stretch them out with her hands. She'll thread one end through a fixed point and pull with all her weight. She lays down on her back and pushes them out with her feet to use like a resistance band. She'll stretch them out and wrap them around her arm for some deep pressure. They really are phenomenally adaptable little noodles!
Last, but not least, may I introduce you to the only reason my kids will sit down for their meals? This chair fidget is basically a stretchy, elastic band that slips over two chair feet and provides a fun thing to kick against while sitting.
It's amazing in the classroom for helping kids focus and giving them some heavy work opportunities. It also, as I said, helps my kids fidget while eating dinner with the family. If you or your child struggles to sit for any length of time and focus on work, this little doodad might be what you've been looking for!
I hope this list of my best fidgets for homeschool and virtual school will help all of you as you set up for a very different year of schooling!