Sometimes fidgets find their way into mouths or are chewed because many of those who fidget (or need tactile input) also seek oral input for self regulation, calming and focus.
There are not a lot of fidgets that perform the “double act” – that provide tactile input PLUS are safe to chew. We’ve put a list together below of the ones we’ve found and like plus a description to help you select the best ones for your situation.
The desk buddy is a flexible, bendable ruler with a few different raised elements on the surface that provide tactile input. I love that the ruler can be placed on a desk and busy fingers can run along it yet no-one even need know that it’s a fidget – it is a very discreet option especially for adolescents and adults.
The desk buddy can also be cut into smaller pieces and kept in pants pockets or pencil case. It can be hole punched and attached to a key ring to give even more options.
The only issue is the ruler is in inches and not centimetres.
The sensory stixx is a hand held squeezable fidget and stress reliever. It is safe to chew and can fit in a pencil case, pocket or backpack.
The sensory brush is also hand held. Run your fingers over the bristles, press against the bristles or fidget with the raised surface on the reverse side. The sensory brush can also be sued to brush the skin. The sensory brush easily fits into a pocket, bag or backpack.
The sensory bookmark is similar to the desk buddy ruler. They’re a different brand but similar design, only the bookmark is much smaller. The bookmark is flexible/bendable and has a variety of raised elects to give differing tactile input. The bookmark can be cut into smaller pieces. It can also be hole punched and attached to a key ring to give an option of securing it (eg sewing a loop inside pants pocket and attaching key ring OR putting onto a lanyard).
I really like the springz wrist bands for a number of reasons. Many wear this type of “jewellery” as fashion, so they are an “on-trend” and discreet way to provide both a chew and a fidget. These are especially good for those who chew or bite their arms, wrists or fingers. They also provide a fidget option when gently flicked against the wrist. I have worked with behaviour plans where this is one strategy employed to distract, calm or “ground”.
The springz band is available in black or clear which is an extra bonus as clear chew items are extremely difficult to find.
Like the above wrist band, chewlery is originally designed to provide oral input. However some often have raised elements to provide differing sensory options for the tongue and mouth. This can also provide tactile input for the hands, and as the chewlery is worn, it means the fidget is always available. You’d would need to select chewlery that does have this option such as the “Best Friends” from Ark featured below. This is a set of two and is a popular choice as one can be worn and one given to a friend.
Squigz are a toy – an open ended creative play and construction toy. That said, they are fabulous for use in therapy, and for providing proprioceptive input, hand strengthening and as a fidget. Squeeze them, attach them and pull them apart, suction them to table and pull off. The only potential issue is when they are pulled apart they do make a noise.
I think squiz are a must have at school, home, the sensory room, fidget box, “waiting room” pack – and they are safe so definitely make this list.
Oogis are similar to squigz (above) but they can be used on their own. They can be stretched, attached to each other and surfaces and then removed (pulled) with a little force. One or two will occupy children for some time and they’re handy to have in the car or sensory box.
Pencil toppers, like chewlery, are designed primarily for oral input rather than as a fidget. However, look for those that have raised elements on their surface as they can also provide a discreet option for tactile input. The ones featured below come in yellow or brown which has a ‘chocolate’ flavour. How cool is that!
Be aware that most pencil toppers only fit a standard size (narrow) pencil.
10. Chew lolli
Like the Pencil Toppers above, the Chew Lolli was firstly designed as an item for oral input. It has surfaces have differing textures, and its shape (handle) makes for easy grip, for attaching a safety lanyard or stretching the mouth. These features make the chew lolli a double act – a fidget that is safe to chew.
Last but not least is the popular fidgipod. The fidgipod was originally designed for adults at work – for those who need to fidget in order to focus and get more work done. That said, we’ve had schools purchase a whole heap of these because they love them so much. The size of the fidgipod gives tactile input for the whole hand (or for that matter the bare foot, if placed on the floor). These are appropriate for all ages.
Please add a comment if you know of other fidgets that are safe for oral input.