Give it a Rest: Fidget Toys

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When I was a young mother, a fidget toy was anything you handed to your child to distract him and keep him quiet. In church it was a book or a piece of paper and a pencil. In the car it might have been something from your purse or a cracker.

Then, a mother usually said “now, hold still and quit fidgeting”.

My grandmother had a fidget toy when I was a child. It was an old coffee can full of clothespins. Every grandchild fidgeted with it sometime during his or her life. It was the only toy she had except her button tin which was off limits to those under twelve.

Today you can’t just tell a child to hold still. Psychologists think that maybe he or she can’t hold still and that would be unkind to expect and with the acceptance of that possibility has come a very lucrative ( root word:  lucre) business of scientifically designed “fidget toys”.

When my grandchildren tell me things I have never heard of, I go to the Internet. That is where I learned about marbles in mazes and bike bearings in triangular patterns and big elastics on the bottom of school chairs so that kids’ legs don’t just hang down because that causes children to fidget. Like so many things that have happened in my lifetime, I wonder how I got through it without all of these special things or how many times I was unfairly critical of my own children when they couldn’t hold still. I actually don’t remember asking the dentist if he had any special things they could fidget with while he drilled their teeth. I think that I and the dentist just said “hold still”.

After I made the rounds of the Internet specialty companies who are capitalizing on this newest craze via an enormous guilt trip which young parents pack for willingly, I turned to DIY ( do-it-yourself) on Pinterest and other places to make my own fidget-type toys. My purpose was to have a big bowl of interesting things for the kids to sift through when it was time to take a break. In the end, my Grandma Fidget Toys came from around the house and the dollar store. It would never have occurred to me to market a pink, foamy curler as a fidget toy or a sensory experience but what do I know ? I think of pink foamy curlers as one more thing with a curious past and something that just happens to still be hanging around the house.

I am completely baffled by this one

and that has made me a little fidgety.



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