Read about how and why fidget toys for kids work and learn how to make some super simple fidget toys using balloons and other supplies you have on hand!
Many kids (and adults) have a strong need to fidget with objects in order to pay attention and remain calm and focused.
Some research indicates that fidgeting may be related to increased attention as well as retention of information. And this is consistent with the anecdotal evidence we see every day in our school-based therapy practice.
Most kids can be seen fidgeting with objects in the classroom, during homework, while reading, or even while watching television. Fidgeting with the hands can serve as a means of satisfying the need for additional tactile (touch) input and can also provide subtle movement input that can be calming and organizing.
If you’re reluctant to try using fidget toys in the classroom because your’e worried about them becoming a huge distraction…you’re not alone. Many teachers and therapists struggle with how to introduce fidget toys in the classroom. Typically, we find that a structured approach that involves all of the students in the class is a successful strategy.
Today, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to make the simplest type of DIY hand fidget using super simple supplies that many people already have on hand – balloons!
How to Make DIY Balloon Fidget Toys for Kids
Using balloons is a cheap and simple way to make fidget toys for kids. Using a funnel (see notes below), you can use various materials to create balloons with different textures (smooth, crunchy, hard to squeeze, easy to squeeze, etc.).
Simply fill a deflated balloon with one of the following and have kids test the results to determine their favorite!
1 || Marbles
Have kids fill a balloon with marbles to create a hand strengthening hand fidget.
2 || Play Dough
This may be one of our favorite ways to create a fidget toy for kids. Simply squish and squeeze play dough inside a balloon until it’s squeezable!
3 || Flour
Flour is another great filler and creates a softer, easier to squeeze version.
5 || Sand
This filler makes for a more dense, harder to squeeze fidget.
6 || Dry Beans
You can use a variety of different types and sizes of beans to create different texture and density.
7 || Rice
Filling a balloon with rice creates a fidget toy with a satisfying, crunchy squeeze factor!
8 || Water Beads
Filling a balloon with this favorite sensory bin filler is a great way to take that slimy, smooth, squeezable texture on the go!
9 || Baking Soda and Conditioner Balloon Fidget from Your Kids OT
Don’t miss this awesome balloon fidget idea from Cindy over at Your Kids OT. Our favorite is the second one on the page!
10 || Pompoms
To create a soft and squishy fidget toy for kids, try filling a balloon with pompoms! This is a good one for kids who might scratch, pinch, or tear the balloon, as it won’t make a huge mess if it gets broken.
Tips for Making DIY Balloon Fidget Toys for Kids
1 || Double Layer
We recommend using a double layer of balloons if possible, especially with kids who are particularly rough on their fidget toys.
2 || Water Bottle Funnel
When making balloon fidget toys for kids, we usually cut the top off of a plastic water bottle to use as a funnel. The opening of the water bottle makes a nice large opening, perfect for pushing materials into your balloon.
3 || Have Kids Help!
We love having kids help to create their own fidget toys! First, it creates a feeling of ownership and accountability. And, kids get tons of hand strengthening benefits from creating these fidget tools, as they stretch their balloons and push the materials inside.
How to Change it Up:
1 || Make it a guessing game! Make a variety of balloon fidget toys. Can kids guess what’s inside each one?
2 || Have a DIY Fidget Party! Set out all of the materials on trays and let kids go wild, mixing and matching the various fillers.
3 || Try this awesome Baby Bumble Bee fidget and movement activity for kids!
4 || Check out these fun and simple DIY fidgets for Halloween!
What are your favorite DIY fidget toys for kids? Share them in the comments below!