Fidgets and stim toys are a great way to regulate both sensory systems and emotions. They can help a body that needs motion, gain that motion. For anxious bodies, they give a rhythmic or focal point to give order to an otherwise disorganized world. These reasons and more, I highly recommend fidgets for all children.
When looking at fidgets, there are important characteristics to look at when deciding which fidget to use.
Texture – Each person has their own tactile needs. Some neurodivergent people may prefer the smooth objects, while others may prefer textured. Look at what they gravitate towards when touching and playing with things, such as if they like fabric, plastic, metal or silicone. These will give you an idea where to start with fidget toys.
Purpose – How a fidget is used can often dictate what fidget is bought. If you need movement without distraction, then you may want one kind of toy. However, if you’re trying to direct attention to help self-soothe, then you may want a different kind. This is very general because the effects of a fidget is going to differ from person to person and situation to situation.
Size – Much like purpose, location it is being used can dictate what fidget you purchase. If it’s large and bulky, it may not be easily transported. So if you need it wherever you go, but can’t transport it, then it may not be a useful tool. But if it’s something you use in the comfort of your room or home, then size may not be as important. As well, once we get into smaller sizes, will it be easily lost? Will you need multiples so that you don’t have to go without if it’s misplaced.
Please know there is no right way to use any fidget, just like there’s no right way to play with toys. The input a particular person needs will dictate the way they interact with a stim toy. While it’s good to help show when and where to use fidgets, especially when a person may feel stigma around using one, showing how doesn’t take into account internal motivations and needs unless it becomes a safety risk, such as choking or accidental injury from hitting self or other people.
I highly recommend Stimtastic https://www.stimtastic.co/ (not an affiliate link, not being compensated for this recommendation) for your fidget and stim toy needs. The website is owned by Autistic people who know fidgets.