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What Are Fidget Toys and Where Did They Come From?

You may have seen your best friend, or your niece, child or mom playing with a fidget toy in the last year. From fidget spinners to stress balls, there’s many different options and styles of fidget toys. But where on earth did these stress-relieving toys come from? We’ll walk you through the history of fidget toys, below.

Where did fidget toys come from?

While it might seem that fidget toys cropped up from nowhere, parents have used fidget toys for hundreds of years in different variations in order to relieve stress and entertain their children. One of the earliest examples of fidget toys are the Baoding balls.


The Ming Dynasty first produced metal Baoding balls thousands of years ago as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to BaodingBalls.com, the Baoding Balls were prescribed as a health measure in order to keep fidgeting hands occupied and out of trouble.

Why do we fidget?

Most humans tend to fidget at some point during the day, most likely due to boredom or anxiety. When someone begins to fidget they are experiencing pent up energy and their body’s need to release it in one way or another. The act of fidgeting - such as drumming your fingers or spinning a pen - allows your brain to focus on something subconsciously, which in turn reduces stress.


Fidget toys help by providing a productive outlet for excess energy. Fidget spinners and Speks are just two products that can help keep you occupied if you need something to do at all times. These tools will help burn off energy and can provide an entertaining daily challenge.


Research at the University of Hertfordshire in 2005 found that fidgeting improved performance in memory tests in children. They concluded that this might be because fidgeting lowered the stress hormones that interfered with the childrens’ ability to learn. So not only is fidgeting a way to reduce pent up energy, it can also make you smarter!

The benefits of fidget toys

Utilizing fidget toys reduces stress and anxiety while increasing focus and concentration. According to John Ratey, M.D., fidgeting increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. This naturally reduces anxiety and increases the level of happy chemicals in your brain. This is why many people gesture or pace in stressful situations, our bodies are trying to calm us down.

 

Using fidget toys is also just plain fun! Building different shapes and creating new figures is a great way to relax, use your hands and have an enjoyable afternoon.

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