By now you may be the proud owner of a fidget or perhaps even a collection of professionally designed fidgets. You've witnessed or personally experienced the positive impact of fidgeting: sharper focus, increased calm, and self-regulation to name a few.
Fidgeting helps many people function better. However, to avoid going into overdrive with intense or frequent fidgeting, read on. There are alternative interventions that you can introduce before a time of stress or concentration, or as a sensory break.1. Large Motor Movement: Motor planning and movement can reduce the need to fidget. Try jumping up and down, taking a walk, or climbing. An Action Room in your home or school can support movement at regular intervals, relieving classroom fidgeting as well improving mood and behavior. Set up a mini trampoline or a jumping board nearby for a quick release. Mount a Leg Board on the wall for a core workout, engaging the mind and body. 2. Vestibular Activities: Swinging can awaken the entire body and have a profound effect on the need to fidget. An action swing where the individual is pumping is best but even a hammock swing can do wonders. While grasping onto the ropes of a string, the hands are getting a great workout and the entire body is receiving the sensory input for self-regulation. Intensity is often the key here, and a wild ride can be just the ticket to creating a calm after-affect. 3. Eye-Hand Coordination: Playing a game of Simon Says or learning to catch and toss can use the hands in a productive away. Even just bouncing a ball, tossing beanbags into a target or working a maze can do wonders. I really like those small eye hand games like paddle ball or playing with a yoyo for a great brain-body connection effect. Even a ball of aluminum foil can provide a great fun game of catch.
But I do love balls and toys that have sensory effects and tactile surfaces for a holistic experience. Try taking a piece of PVC pipe and threading a set of scarves through the middle. Then have the kids pull the scarves through. This is a great eye-hand and coordination activity. For another group activity, use a Crocodile Board with a maze, interlocking gears, and music makers.putty and sand can provide a terrific workout for the hands. For older teens and adults, working with screwdrivers, hammers and wrenches can provide a great outlet for the hands and reduce fidgeting.