Fiddle toys
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Top 5 fidget/fiddle toys (all of them are quiet, textured, and cheap!)

You might be more used to stopping your child from fidgeting – but the right kind of fidget toys/fiddle toys can actually be great for boosting concentration, relieving stress, and honing fine motor skills!

Of course, fiddle toys aren’t just regular toys. To be accepted in the classroom, they need to be quiet (to reduce distraction) and, ideally, textured (to engage your child on a kinaesthetic level).

Fidget toys are recommended for dyslexic children with co-occurring traits of dyspraxia, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder. They can also be helpful for dyslexics who are particularly physical/hands-on, or those prone to stress (this covers an awful lot of dyslexic children, in my experience!).

1. Twist and Lock Blocks

Twist and Lock Blocks

Coloured wooden Twist and Lock Blocks are strung together with elastic, which allows them to be locked and angled to make shapes.

Typical price: £1–2
Available from: Amazon, eBay, and local special educational needs shops

2. Pipe Cleaners

Pipe cleaners

Fluffy, soft, bendable pipe cleaners in a range of bright colours can be used to make monsters, animals, or just twisted into abstract shapes.

Typical price: £1–3 (for 100)
Available from: Amazon, eBay, and local craft shops

3. Theraputty® or DIY putty


For dyspraxic children who need to work on their fine motor skills (to build up finger strength and improve handwriting), Occupational Therapists will often recommend Theraputty®. This is (you guessed it!) putty, which comes in a range of different ‘resistances’ (depending on the strength of your child’s grip).

Typical price: £5–10
Available from: Amazon, eBay, and local sports or special educational needs shops

Of course, thrifty parents may instead prefer to use Plasticine, Silly Putty, Play-Doh, Blu-Tack, or even make your own play dough out of flour and water.

(Tip: Worried about getting putty stuck on clothes or furniture? Find out how to easily remove it.)

4. Tangles


Available in a range of patterns and textures, each of the Tangles is a series of 90-degree curves, connected, and able to pivot at each joint.

Typical price: £5–10
Available from: Amazon, eBay, and local special educational needs shops

5. Juggling Bean Bags

Juggling bean bags

Juggling bean bags in pyramid, circular or rectangular shapes are brightly-coloured with a pleasant texture. (No juggling required!)

Typical price: £5–10 (for a set)
Available from: Amazon, eBay, and local toy shops

These bean bags are also straightforward to make yourself. I’ve experimented with different fillings and found that poppy seeds make for the silkiest texture!

Which fiddle toys have you found most effective? Share your thoughts in the comments…

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top 5 fidget toys for dyspaxia, ADHD and autism



Follow Holly Swinton:
Holly is a mum, a teacher, an author, a public speaker – and a proud dyslexic. She is the author of Defeat Dyslexia!: The Parents' Guide to Understanding Your Child's Dyslexia.

  1. […] with the teacher an appropriate fidget/fiddle toy for them to use in the classroom. (Check out my Top 5 fidget/fiddle toys for ideas.) It may also be worth investing in a wobble cushion, an inflatable cushion with dimples […]

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