Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Gilbert Speaks on Fidgets

I love teaching children. Before getting a teacher naturalist position at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly, I was a substitute teacher. On a normal day, it is very near impossible getting 30 plus students to stay attentive during the long hours spent in school. Let’s be honest, it is hard on a teacher to stay focused all day, let alone active children, or children with ADHD…and so…I found the perfect gift for all you grandparents to get for the wee ones. Fidgets!

What are Fidgets?

I had first learned about Fidgets from my niece and nephew. I had stopped over for coffee, and Isa and Dylan could not wait to show me their collection of Fidgets that they bought at Five Below. At first, I just picked one up, played with it for a minute, then put it down on the table. These toys are very tricky. They are like a bag of potato chips…you can’t just have one, and with Fidgets, you can’t put them down.

How did that Fidget get back into my hand? I don’t even remember me picking it up, but what was more surprising was how calming it is to play with these toys. Not only do these toys seem to calm people down, but they help an active mind stay focused.

There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, but they all serve the same purpose…they help children to stay grounded and focused. I wish these Fidgets were out when I was teaching. It would have helped me to keep the children from zoning out because they were either tired, hungry, nervous, or just plain bored…not that my classes were boring. I would do one hell of a job of theatrics to keep the wee ones focused. Children get bored, and you have to keep them alert, so I had to use every trick in the book from dancing, singing, jumping jacks to help them release their pent up energy…but not everyone has the stamina or imagination to keep every student on point.

Fidgets and ADHD

My nephew is very active, and his parents have him involved in every sport imaginable to help him work out his high energy. He gets good marks in school but is always getting in trouble because he can’t sit still. He doesn’t have ADHD. He is your typical high energy personality, but there are many children in his class that do have ADHD. What the teachers have learned from allowing Fidgets in school, is that all the children are paying better attention, and for the children with ADHD, the results are even more amazing. These toys are working.

Grafix Snap Links available at Five Below

Now before you put the damper on Fidgets, remember that adults have been using stress balls to help them release their anger and anxiety. They work…and so do these toys. Fidgets are quiet, so children can be playing with them quietly and not disturb the class or teacher.


Even though there are contradictory responses to teachers allowing Fidgets in school, and even though the science community hasn’t come out with a clear yea or nay on the subject, many parents and teachers swear by them. The closest significant research was done by UC Davis behavioral science professor, Julie Schweitzer’s study where she studied how Fidgets were actually helping children to concentrate.

The one Fidget toy that might interfere with class work is the Fidget spinner, and some schools have banned them, but with the other Fidget toys, distraction is low while focus has increased. Children even enjoy using the Fidgets to help them study or memorize work for tests.

Fidget Caterpillar available at Five Below

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, then buy your children or grandchildren a Fidget. Heck, get one for yourself. The Fidgets help keep me calm when I am waiting for the doctor at my appointment. Why do they schedule us to come in at 9 a.m. but don’t sashay into the office until 9:30? I hate waiting! I get angry…but now, my blood pressure stays low because I am playing with my Fidget. In fact, I just picked up a few more

You can find Fidgets everywhere, but the best can be found at Five Below.

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