Sensory Hacks to Focus a Fidgety Child (That don’t involve a Fidget Spinner)

(Inside: Do you know a child who seems to always have something in their hands? They’re always touching something? These hacks for a fidgety child might be just what you need!)

Fidgets seem to be all the rage right now.

With all the banning of fidget spinners in schools everywhere, people are starting to see “Fidgets” in a whole new light.

My fear is that with all this national media attention, that fidgets will get a bad name and many will dismiss fidgets as an actual helpful device.

Don’t believe me? Read the following list and see if this sounds familiar…

Do you know a child who seems to always have something in their hands? They’re always touching something?

Does this child seem to need extra help staying focused during activities? If so, I think I have some sensory hacks to help you focus any fidgety child.

Sensory hacks can be a great alternative to the newly famous fidget spinners.

I thought it would be really helpful to do a mini-series of Sensory Hacks that could be used to help with many of the difficult behaviors that are often linked to sensory needs.

A couple weeks ago, I shared some sensory hacks for the angry child, which continues to be extremely popular. I hope you like these ideas just as much!

Sensory Hacks DIY Fidgets for Feet and Hands

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When I was in the classroom, I always had those kids! You know the ones.

They touch everything.

While I was teaching they would tie and untie their shoes 15 times, or tug on the little girl’s hair that sat in front of them.

Better yet, some of them would tap their pencils while the rest of the class was diligently working.

At home, it’s no different. My oldest son (9) has to have something in his hands at all times. He has to pull, stretch, squeeze and move his fingers at all times.

If he is not fidgeting his fingers, they go straight to his mouth.

That’s why over the last few years I have made it a point to find and collect simple, easy to make sensory hacks for a fidgety child.

Sensory Hacks for Fidgety Fingers

If you have a fidgety kid, you might have already researched the best fidgets on the market. You might have even purchased a few that you love.

I know we have this hand fidget and we love it and take it everywhere.

However, sometimes you need something that doesn’t cost money.

You need something that doesn’t matter if your kiddo loses it (because you are quite sure they will), and you need more than one thing!

Sensory Hacks for Fidgety Hands

Use Nuts and Bolts to make a simple hand fidget kids can keep in their pockets or at their desks.

Even the most novice seamstress can whip up a simple Fabric Maze using just a little bit of fleece and a marble!

I know we have our fair share of Dollar Store sensory balls, but what about making your very own Sensory Balls?

Have you ever thought of making Hand Fidgets out of pipe cleaners? Yes they can be that easy!

I absolutely love the simplicity of this Shredded Paper Ball.

Sensory Hacks DIY Fidgets for Feet and Hands

Bead Slides  are great for fidgety fingers during read-alouds and under the desk during instruction.

When I was in the classroom, we used to add Velcro Strips under the table and on the chairs to help with the need to touch!

Make a simple desk fidget for kids using just a popsicle stick! Kids will love this silent way to keep their hands active and their brains engaged.

If you have a kid that normally fidgets with their pencils or plays during writing, these DIY fidget pencil toppers are fantastic!

Your LEGO Lover will love making a DIY Lego Fidget Spinner to use during busy times or in the car.

In fact, There are tons of DIY fidget spinners you can make with your kids, just be sure to teach them when and where to use them!

DIY FIDGET SPINNERS

These adorable worry pets are perfect for any kid that needs to squeeze, rub, or hold an item to reduce their worries and wiggles.

Instead of the slap bracelet you probably used as a kid, try making a DIY fidget bracelet with beads inside.

We have recently started using a drop of Peace and Calming essential oil before any seated work.

Make a paper pokemon fidget that spins in your fingers to keep hands busy and active.

Appeal to your kid’s creative juices with a colorful DIY paper fidget flextangle.

Totally Awesome No-Sew Mermaid Fidget Bag

Don’t forget a DIY Fidget bag to put all the awesome new fidgets in. The bag itself becomes a pretty amazing fidget for busy fingers as well.

Related: 5 Reasons to BAN FIDGET SPINNERS in Every School In America (VIRAL) 

Sensory Hacks for Fidgety Feet

Hacks for Fidgety Feet

Add bands on the bottom of chairs with bungee cords for kids to have something to fidget their feet on.

Don’t have those on hand, you can even use old bicycle tube , with balls, or a therapy band.

DIY No-Sew Weighted Blanket

Make a DIY weighted lap pad out of mermaid fabric, and no kid will resist!

weighted fidget toy for proprioceptive input

Fill a glove with beans for a weighted fidget that is perfect for busy hands and feet!

Weighted Stuffed Animal for Proprioceptive Input

Weight down a stuffed animal and add pellets to it for proprioceptive input. This is perfect for reading time at the carpet or when your kid needs to settle their feet in the waiting room.

When I went to a friends classroom, I saw that she had added a pool noodle to the bottom of the chair with a rope and I thought it was a brilliant way to get those wiggles out while sitting.

Sensory Tip for Fidgeting Kids

More Sensory Resources For Kids that Fidget

Are you still looking for more resources to help with your fidgeter? Knowing and understanding the why behind the fidgeting is KEY in helping your child! I highly recommend the following links and resources to help you find answers and solutions! Remember, there are usually many reasons a child fidgets and understanding those signals and reasons is incredibly important.

5 Ways to Teach a Kid that Fidgets | Lemon Lime Adventures
What is a Fidget Toy | Inspired Treehouse
The Real Reason Kids Fidget | Timbernook
More DIY Fidget Toys | OT Toolbox
What is Proprioceptive Input? | Lemon Lime Adventures
5 Reasons to Ban Fidget Spinners in Every Classroom in America (VIRAL POST)

Tips for Calming an Angry Childtop 10 Angry Child Sensory HacksSimple Brain Break Activities

15 Tips to Calm Angry Child  |  10 Hacks for an Angry Child   | 15 Super Simple Brain Breaks 

TOOLS FOR FIDGETING AND TACTILE INPUT

TANGLE_Therapy download-6 hand fidget

Therapy Hand Fidget  | Wacky Tracks  | Tangle Hand Fidget

How about you? Can you relate? Do you have a go to resource when your child starts to get super fidgety? I’d love to hear about it and I am sure other readers would to! Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Sensory Hacks DIY Fidgets for Feet and Hands

I could seriously go on and on. I have over 100 calm down tools and strategies you can use to help ALL kids focus and feel successful. Take this as a chance to try new things.

100 Calm Down Tools and Strategies
Oh, and while you are here. If you are looking for more ways to engage your wiggly kids, provide support for your disorganized kiddo, or simply want to take all the frustration out of your day with your little one and you know a kid with hidden “super powers” … you will want to check out my new book coming out in August, The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day (Awesome Games and Crafts to Master Your Moods, Boost Focus, Hack Mealtimes and Help Grownups Understand Why You Do the Things You Do)!

With over 75 day to day solutions for your kiddos from DIY fidgets to games that teach social skills, it empowers children to help adults understand why they do the things they do. You can pre-order now and send me a receipt to PREORDER at SUPERKIDSGUIDE.COM for a special gift just for you and your Superkid! Psss… It’s gonna be epic!!!

Super Kids Activity Guide Pre-Order Now

46 thoughts on “Sensory Hacks to Focus a Fidgety Child (That don’t involve a Fidget Spinner)”

  1. cathy

    These tips are so great the u would of saves my son’s in school awesome to know teachers are think outside the box thank you so much for your ideas !!!

      1. alk

        thank you so much for this!!

        this is so helpful!

        -alk

        1. alk

          I am only 10 and I want to play classroom.
          I wanted to know if you had an idea to put some thing fidgety on stools for the classroom?

  2. Rebekah

    Just a note about the nuts and bolt thing. If your child cannot carry around metal objects (like mine) your local hardware store sells plastic bolts and nuts in the plumbing section (for attaching toilet seats) pretty cheap.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That is awesome! Thank you!

  3. Thanks for these! I’m in the process of making a “picky pillow” for Christmas – it’s a small, hand-sized beanbag that has buttons and snaps and velcro, etc. for homework time.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That sounds awesome.

  4. Barbara

    These are great ideas! I can’t wait to try some in my classroom. Thanks!

  5. Rachel Gaskin

    I’m so going to use these ideas,my son constantly fidgets at school and home. Thanks guys.

  6. beverly

    My grandaughter twirls her hair into massively big knots that have to be cut out shes allmost run out of hair how can I help her stop her hair twirling it has gotten so bad shes only 3 her mama took her off her passer so its probably gotten worse need help

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Oh that is so sad. It sounds like she needs something in her hands to twirl, twist and fidget with. She also might need some more proprioceptive input to give her body the input she needs. Have you checked out Project Sensory yet?

      Also, feel free to email me and I can try to help more!

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  8. Fidgety children, I have 2 of them, 15 and 3 years old. These are great “hacks”, I think I will try some of them.

  9. Loved these ideas! I made some sensory “bean”bags for my boys. I left out the bean filler and used plastic bags instead. I acquire so many plastic bags it’s ridiculous, and I can donate them, recycle them, use them as trash liners, but there’s still so many! Using them as the filler makes the beanbag lightweight (aka doesn’t hurt when thrown at brother’s or mom’s head) and it gives them some crinkle, which is fun. I’ll be implementing some of your ideas to our house, we need all the fidget toys we can make!

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  15. Norene McShane

    My 3 yr old granddaughter is moving all the time and is upside down in her chair at the table….We can’t stop it. But I am hesitant on creating these things because EVERYTHING everything…did I say everything goes in her mouth….any suggestions?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      When children put everything in their mouth I suggest finding things that are acceptable for her to chew and doing a lot of visual and verbal reminders. We love our chewable products at http://www.projectsensory.com

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  20. This is such a great list! I’m so glad that people are starting to recognize that fidgeting HELPS learning, not halts it!

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  35. Thank for your DIY fidget ideas. Not only are they great for the classroom, but it is a cool project to work on at home with your kids.

  36. Dayna, thank you so much for sharing these hacks: they’re definitely helpful! I know how it is to deal with fidgety kids. I remember a 9-year-old student who hid some classroom objects under his sweatshirt and then pulled them out of each sleeve. That was so irritating then, but now it seems funny 😀
    By the way, in my lessons, I try to add some active activities (sorry for tautology) which are rather helpful for fidgety kids and kinaesthetic ones as well. They can be, for example, open pairs, mingling, active dictations, etc.
    Thank you once again. Your DIY hacks are amazing!

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