Integrating Fidgets in the Classroom - Tools and Tricks

Posted by Sara Van Schyndel on

Fidgets can become an amazing resource in a classroom when used correctly. We at MMC know that it can be a little overwhelming with all the different types, textures and styles of fidgets. Often even after a teacher or staff member has selected the fidget tools they would like to use in a classroom setting they have no idea on how to properly use them or implement them in the day to day of a classroom. Below are some Tips and Tricks to ease the transition.

We highly recommend before physically introducing the fidgets to the class, you do an introduction of the sensory system and how it works.You can provide examples of which fidgets are geared towards the different senses: Hearing, Touch, Sight, Smell, Taste (this one is rare in a classroom setting) as well as the vestibular and proprioceptive systems which are geared towards movement.

  • One way to make sure that fidgets are used properly from the beginning is to refer to them as TOOLS not toys. This is a great strategy to help guide the mindset of students to the idea that the fidgets are tools to help them learn, focus, manage anxiety etc
Have a variety of fidget tool options to meet different needs.
    • Allow the students to help you in the selection process where applicable to make sure you are getting a well rounded selection. Not everyone will benefit from or even like the same tool.
    • By letting the students explore the tools to see what works best for their sensory system/style of learning you will end up with a better selection and most likely the students will be less distracted by the fidgets. 

Set your assortment of fidgets up in an area that is accessible to all. Let students know they are there for all to use when it is appropriate and when they feel a fidget tool could benefit their learning/ classroom experience. 

Choose tools that are quiet and do not light up. 

    • This will help avoid any unwanted distractions.
    • As well, smaller tools are best when they are used throughout learning portions of the day. Smaller sized items are more discrete and less of a distraction.

Let the students take part in setting up the sensory station

For example:

      • they can decorate a box to store the items
      • create a calming jar
      • come up with the rules/contract as a class
      • Create a sign in/ sign out sheet etc..

Sort your items between tools that can be used during learning periods and tools that can be used during break periods

Make it well known to the students how they are to request to use a fidget

    • It is just a first come first serve basis
    • Do they need to ask the teacher or can they help themselves?
    • Do you need to sign them out?
    • Are there some items that are okay to get without permission?