Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a complex neurodevelopmental condition. ADHD is characterised by impulsive, inattentive, and sometimes hyperactive behaviour patterns. This is where ADHD toys play an important role. Fidget toys for ADHD can help to focus the mind, calm the nervous system, and manage emotions.
This article explores the different types of sensory toys for ADHD and their benefits.
What Are The Benefits of Toys For ADHD?
People with ADHD are often creative thinkers and good problem solvers, but they also experience emotional regulation challenges. Self-regulation capabilities rely on three types of brain functions:
- Working memory: the ability to retain information.
- Mental flexibility: the ability to shift focus in response to different demands.
- Self-control: the ability to prioritise and resist impulsive reactions.
Toys help us engage in our environment in a non-threatening way. Carefully designed ADHD toys can encourage children and adults to focus, learn, and thrive.
Recent ADHD research shows that even small fidgeting movements release dopamine and norepinephrine – brain chemicals that help to increase focus and attention. The intentional use of ADHD toys such as fidget spinners, beaded bracelets, and tangle toys is a discreet way to improve focus.
Sensory toys for ADHD occupy our hands or feet, enabling our brains to concentrate on the given task. In a classroom setting, this is especially important. When students need to manage more than one task while surrounded by distractions at every turn, a fidget toy, such as a stress ball, tangle, or putty, is a subtle way to use movements to help concentration.
We’ve looked at how intentional fidgeting can improve focus and concentration. But, for some people with ADHD, the opposite is true – clarity comes with stillness. Liquid timers, for example, can help to relax and develop patience, which in turn improves focus and attention. Other non-fidget ADHD toys that help with this are weighted toys, therapy swings, and wedge cushions.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Calming toys for ADHD, such as textured chew toys, squishy putty, and twisty tangles help release energy and soothe anxious moments. The bonus is that the movements required also help develop your fine motor skills.
Promote Calmness and Relaxation
Sensory toys can help reduce the overwhelm by providing a focus other than our anxiety or fear. ADHD toys such as weighted toys, fidgets, and stress balls allow repetitive movements – stroking, twisting, spinning, and squeezing – which can help release tension and create a sense of inner calm.
The Best Sensory Toys for ADHD
Sensory toys provide tactile input and movement that can help to control the body and enhance learning experiences for people with ADHD. The best toys for ADHD engage the working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control to improve self-regulation, increase focus, and relieve stress and anxiety.
Let’s look at our top 7 sensory toys for ADHD.
A fidget spinner is a palm-sized toy with a ball bearing surrounded by a multi-lobed flat structure made from plastic or metal. Fidget spinners keep hands busy and allow minds to focus by providing an outlet for nervous energy.
There is some debate as to whether fidget toys are good for ADHD. People are unique, and so are people’s experiences with ADHD. One sensory toy won’t work for everyone. It is important to take the time to find the right toy that works for you and your needs.
The classic Rubik’s Cube is brightly coloured and fits in the palm of your hand, making it a visually stimulating fidget toy and puzzle in one! Our Plug and Play Puzzler is a modern twist on the original. It also works double time as a fidget toy and problem-solving device that engages fine motor skills. Plus, it comes with a book of 48 challenges and, thankfully, the solutions! This ADHD toy trains working memory and mental flexibility to assist with regulation and focus.
Stress balls can fit in your pocket and are discreet self-regulation devices for use anytime. They come in a range of textures and densities for varying tactile input requirements. Stress balls, as their name suggests, are helpful for anyone who needs to release some tension. For people with ADHD, stress balls are a calming fidget toy with the added bonus of improving hand strength.
Tangle toys come in various textures and sizes to cater to different sensory inputs. The Hairy Tangle is visually stimulating and made with soft rubbery strands. Its smooth yet sticky sensation may encourage relaxation in children with ADHD. Our Collection of Tangles includes textured and smooth versions, some of which are pocket-sized and better suited to teenagers and adults who need a fidgeting outlet.
For many of us, playdough is a childhood staple. Easy to DIY, playdough engages our creativity and fine motor skills through stretching, squashing, pinching, and pulling. One variation of playdough is Sensory Cotton Sand, which is mouldable and assists with focus and concentration. Another take on playdough is putty. Sensory putties can be scented, crunchy, or full of glitter. They provide a visually stimulating and satisfyingly tactile way to release stress and anxiety for people with ADHD.
Liquid Timers are soothing for everyone. People with ADHD can use liquid timers for stress management, to aid concentration, or as a timing device for daily activities such as brushing their teeth. Our Erupting Volcano Liquid Timer also demonstrates scientific principles! The Liquid Timer Collection includes four mesmerising liquid timers that can help with relaxation, focus, and self-control.
Chew toys satisfy a need for oral stimulation. They also help to maintain focus and assist with sensory integration. Sensory integration interprets different sensations (input) to enable optimal participation (output). Our selection of chew toys includes wearable jewellery such as necklaces and bracelets, pencil toppers, and figurines.
Browse Our Range of Sensory Toys for ADHD Today
As much as each person’s experience with ADHD is unique, so are a person’s sensory needs. Our range of fidget toys for ADHD and sensory toys for ADHD offers a variety of inputs that can help improve focus, attention, and relaxation.
At Special Needs Resources, we are committed to helping people of all ages achieve their potential. Browse our extensive range of ADHD toys or contact us if you have any questions about how sensory toys help people with ADHD.