Do Fidget Toys Actually Work?

Fidget spinners were everywhere in 2017; you couldn’t escape them. The bane of classroom teachers and clickbait for YouTube videos, it seemed that you couldn’t go too far without spotting a business selling fidget spinners, a child playing with one, or a news report talking about the skyrocketing value of the fidget spinner market. The hype may have died down over the past few years, but interest in fidget toys remains.

In fact, we learned that many of our adult customers buy Yentai Halftoys on our website because the simplistic 3D puzzle acts as a fidget toy while they are trying to be productive. We couldn’t help but ask: why are people so drawn to fidget toys? And more importantly, how can fidget toys actually help?


Fidgeting Is Natural

Maybe this sounds a little familiar: you’re at work with a long to-do list that needs to be completed soon. You focus on your work, but you find yourself fiddling with your hair, or you click and unclick your ballpoint pen, or you spin a pencil in your fingers as you think. Even though these items are different from fidget spinners, Computational Media Professor Katherine Isbister posed the idea in The Conversation that ordinary, easily on-hand items can act as a sort of fidget toy.

But if the habit is so common, why do humans do it? It’s a relatively understudied subject, but some studies suggest that fidgeting with an object allows the brain to focus at the task at hand, and researcher Harriet Dempsey-Jones posed that fidgeting could be a self-regulating response of the body to either lessen or increase attention, depending on the person. And preliminary research suggested that when children were allowed to move around their hands or had a stress ball, they performed the task better or had more positive self-reports than children in the same study who weren’t allowed to fidget.


Americans Are Stressed

Yet there’s more to fidgeting than regulating boredom or focus; another reason people fidget or is to cope with stress from tasks. Workplace stress has increased compared to previous generations; in fact, the American Psychology Association reporting that 61% of Americans listed work as a source of stress in 2017. When people face stressors that overwhelm them, such as impending deadlines or planning events, it triggers their body’s fight or flight response. Similar to how the body possibly uses fidgeting to regulate focus, the body might also use fidgeting as a way to release energy and cope with stress.


Play is Good For Adults

With that context, fidget toys certainly make sense. And with the wellness movement advocating self-care, some people have looked at play as a way for adults to reset and recharge. Before you scoff at the idea of grown adults playing with toys, soccer player David Beckham has told reporters that he uses lego sets, to control anxiety and stress.

Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, told The Washington Post that all play gives a sense of engagement and pleasure, where the player often loses sense of time and place. In this sense, adults can use fidget toys to provide brief sessions of play and a way to cope with environments that are stressful or not at ideal stimulation levels. And just like when you were a child, play allows for creative inspiration and a new way to look at a problem.

As adults focus more on their health and find ways to cope with daily stressors, fidget toys and short breaks for some form of play can increase focus and productivity. With that in mind, we can definitely get behind kids of all generations finding ways to spark their creative spirit.


Curious to find a unique (and adorable) alternative to fidget toys? Come learn why so many of our customers love using Halftoys here.