Fidget toys are everywhere. They’ve moved beyond the school playground... and the squishy, stretchy, squeezy, spinny designs now come in all shapes, sizes and colour combinations.
Even adults can’t get enough of them – and not just the ones on TikTok, where the #fidgets feed has over 12B views.
While rainbow-hued push popper toys from HGL (which exploded in 2021 as kids returned to school mid-pandemic lockdown) are still ubiquitous, you’ll notice they’ve evolved into multi-tasking items. Push popper dots now decorate pencil cases, handbags, game boards, key rings, pens and more.
Sensory toys are purported to have all sorts of benefits: from acting as soothers to easing anxiety, as well as helping to improve focus. Puzzle cube brain teasers, magnetic building fidgets and articulated animal designs are also having a moment, allowing kids to problem-solve and create while keeping their fingers busy.
“Tactile therapy for stress release and focus is a scientifically proven phenomenon,” explains Dr Jet Khasriya, an NHS-registered and private GP for GPDQ, the UK’s first doctor-on-demand service. “Stress balls have been shown to improve concentration and performance in adults and children for various tasks. In that vein, fidget toys can be very useful as well as fun.”
“However, the separation between mindfulness and mindlessness should be made.” They added. “Using them to refocus and be present in the moment is great, whereas the temptation to overuse them and be distracted from your aim needs to be avoided.”
How we tested
With four children aged four through 11 at home, we have a house full of fidget toys at all times (as well as eager testers available on tap). Our testers have been playing with fidget toys for weeks, months, even years, and are well-informed on the latest trends and must-haves. We’ve also passed along various fidget toys to school friends and family members, so can tell you which fidgets appeal to younger kids (as well as which ones adults can’t get enough of). And these are the best of the bunch.
The best fidget toys for 2022 are:
- Best fidget toy overall – HGL rainbow wiggle slug fidget toy: £4, Theworks.co.uk
- Best fidget toy for multi-tasking – Claire’s rainbow popper pencil case fidget toy: £11.20, Claires.com
- Best value fidget toy – HGL bumper fidget fun box: £10, Theworks.co.uk
- Best fidget toy for adults – Feel Flux skill flux toy: £35.96, Amazon.co.uk
- Best fidget toy for squeezing – Claire’s pastel rainbow squish ball fidget toy: £6, Claires.com
- Best brain teaser fidget toy – Smart Toys and Games plug & play puzzler fidget toy: £9.99, Smarttoysandgames.co.uk
- Best fidget toy design – Mushi paint palette pop it toy: £12.99, Weststantonstore.com
- Best wooden fidget toy – Janod pocket articulated snake and crocodile fidget toy: £5, Thekidcollective.co.uk
- Best bathtime fidget toy – Suction snap band fidget toy: £2.29, Partydelights.co.uk
- Best fidget toy set – Moluk Oogi family set: £26.95, Trouva.com
- Best pocket-sized fidget toy – Antsy Labs Zuru fidget cube: £3.99, Smythstoys.com
- Best magnetic fidget toy – Clixo rainbow pack: £54.99, Amazon.co.uk