5 Simple & Kid-Approved Hand Fidgets

I'm excited to be sharing five simple, kid-approved, and inexpensive hand fidgets for students that you can easily incorporate in your own classroom come August.

If you don't yet have these available in your classroom, give them a try! You may notice that some of your students will make just about anything a hand fidget-- an eraser (or all of them), a pencil, a paperclip, a toy from home..... seriously, anything. By providing these for students who need them, you are preventing additional distractions and encouraging them to use tools to help keep them focused on the task at hand.

Stress Balls

These are from Hobby Lobby-- use their weekly 40% off coupon to get these for around $3.50
These are the most common and lowest-impact hand fidgets. They can be found all over the place and usually in the party favor aisles in many different designs. I like to get the kind that don't bounce, because who needs that additional distraction, so these are soft foam. For the mild fidgeter or someone who prefers to occasionally squeeze something, these are perfect. They will *not* hold up over the course of the year with your extreme fidgeters! Just a warning!

Coiled Keychains

I love these as an "incognito" fidget. Kids can wear them on their wrist when they don't need them, and slip them into their hands when they do. These are found in any hardware store in the key department-- just remove the metal ring and you're good to go! I love that these are durable, easy to clean, and don't draw too much attention. If we're doing an activity with lots of transitions or if a student is particularly shy about coming to the Fidget Bin throughout the day, these are a great choice. Plus, if they do break, they are still perfectly functional as a fidget!


I have similar rings in my Writing Teacher Time Bin (more info HERE), but I like this set in particular because of all of the varied texture they have. I will put two together for a student (no need for a 20-link chain!) and they can shuffle them in their hands and play with the texture all they want. They are easy to keep clean and small enough for a whole-class setting without added distraction. I let the student choose his/her two rings so they have more buy-in with using this tool. They are pretty fun!

Pool Noodle Rings

Definitely grab one of these when you're out and about this summer! You'll just need one (about $3) and a serrated steak knife. Cut these into 1" rings and you're all set! These aren't super durable, but their unique shape and the low price point makes them an easy tool to offer to your average fidgeter. Plus, since they aren't fun party toys like the balls mentioned above, they look more like tools (and are all the same color), so I have found these to be easier to manage in the classroom.

Dryer Balls

This 2-pack is from Target for a little over $5
Have an *extreme* fidgeter who destroys all of the three fidgets mentioned above? If you haven't had one recently, you will soon! I had a kiddo one year who tore apart all of the ideas above and I was left with the bits and pieces of them under his chair at the end of the day. He was a very sweet kid, so this was not malicious, but he just needed things way more durable! Dryer Balls to the rescue! Some of you may use these for their real purpose, but I find they are great for those kids who need the strongest of the strong when it comes to tools. They come in a 2-pack for about $5 (I got mine at Target when I was stocking up on clothespins) and are very easy to clean and store. Make sure you get unscented! These are meant to be thrown around in a hot dryer, so they also stand up to tons of abuse.

How Do I Use Hand Fidgets in Class?

I will typically offer these as an option to the class at the beginning of the year and see who actually uses them and who is just curious about them (similar to the Noise Blockers I mentioned HERE). By the end of the week, the initial excitement has waned, and then I can really focus on getting the right fidget to the fidgeter. You see that these are simple, but all very different, so some may be more preferred over others, and that's ok! I leave them in a common spot in our Fidget Bin so those kids can grab what they need and get to work. As with everything, we lay down some ground rules (keeping them out of our mouth, returning them to the bin, using them as tools, not toys, etc.) and expectations beforehand so it's not a free-for-all. The simple reminder of "Tools, not toys." has been great in ensuring their proper use throughout the year.

Some kids come with preferences from years past, and I will always default to what works for them and ensure I have something that they need. No need to reinvent the wheel! And if someone is a chronic fidgeter, they can keep their fidget in their personal bin since they rely on it much more throughout the day.

I'm hoping these gave you some easy ideas to get a Fidget Bin started in your own classroom this year. There are *tons* more examples of fidgets out there and several websites where you can do some shopping, but I have found these simple and (very importantly) cheap solutions have done their job very well these past few years.

Any more to add to the list?

I'm linking up with my sweet friend, Tara, at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It! Be sure to head over to see loads more and get incredibly inspired for your classroom next year :)


  1. I love your ideas in this post! The pool noodles and coiled key rings are great ideas. Can I just say the dryer balls are genius?
    Mrs. Reed's Resource Room

    1. Thanks so much, Melissa! I'm glad these can help :)

  2. Can you go into more on the rules and expectations you set up? I'm trying to picture it all in my head... Thanks!

    1. I'll usually do a T-Chart with what is correct vs. incorrect ways of using something, like fidgets, and then brainstorm with the kids during the first few days of school. We touch base about how well we did after trying them and then reflect on what we could do better. It's a privilege to use them, so I don't hesitate to take them away from a student if they are being misused and we can chat about it privately and they can try again the next day, if it's needed. I set up a lot of things like this in my classroom, so kids get pretty used to the routine as we intro things around the room :) Hope that helps!

  3. Love this idea! I pinned the pool noodle idea awhile ago but love the idea of having different options all in one spot. I will definitely be making one of these bins. I like your idea of doing a T-chart with them so that they use them correctly. Thanks for this idea!! (I also am dusting off my Silhouette and going to start making vinyl signs thanks to you!) :-)

    1. Awesome, Stephanie! Have fun making your bin! And good luck with the Silhouette-- it's addicting once you get it going :)

  4. Love, love, love this post! I had an extreme fidgeter this last year and I wish I had thought about some of these tools when I had him! Great to know for next time! Brilliant ideas!!

    Mrs. Cain's Creations

  5. Great post! I was about to research and invest in some great fidgets for upcoming school year! You saved me some time! Thank you!

    Kathy O Third Grade Doodles

  6. Great post! I was about to research and invest in some great fidgets for upcoming school year! You saved me some time! Thank you!

    Kathy O Third Grade Doodles

  7. Great idea! I love how simple and cheap the fun noodle idea is and the durable choice as well! I'll definitely keep these in mind this year!

    ♥ Stephanie
    Fishing for Education Blog

  8. love these ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    Hodges Herald

  9. All fab ideas!! I need one of two things....either a) to get one of those machine things to make the cute letters for tubs and bins and such or b) bribe you to make one of these adorable and functional tubs for me;) Thanks for linking up my friend!!! Hugs!!
    4th Grade Frolics

  10. Some of my 5th graders need fidget, too. Thanks for the pool noodle tip.

  11. I think I'd be able to use your Word Work bundle the most, along with your reading response menus! I love all of your products!!!!

  12. Can't thank you enough! I've never heard of any interventions or ideas to help kids that fidget but this year I have 9 of them. Will definitely try these!!! Wow. Again thanks!!!

  13. Love these ideas! Fidgets can be so costly but these ideas are just as effective and super-frugal!


Thank you so much for your comments! :)

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