Here we will be sharing program updates, resources, and ideas. First up, how to put together an awesome fidget tool box!
Today we will be diving into the purpose of a fidget box also known as an occupational therapy box, and how to build one for use while on distance learning. As we continue to be learning remotely with the prolonged pandemic, it is important to remember that your student’s may need some support in how to best let out those moments of energy, how to wake up and get reenergized, or how to reduce stress in order to stay engaged with the virtual classroom content.
What your student needs in a box may differ from another student and that’s okay! It’s about trying and learning what works best for them individually to help them stay focused during class. We’ll run through how we create them at school so you can echo the process at home.
Step 1) Start with a specific box for the occupational therapy tools to go into and a specific place for that box to live. It is important to not call the items inside “toys” as they are tools for student success and not toys to play with.
Step 2) Gather your items! When on campus, we make sure to have the following items available for students:
Theraputty - a great tool to use in your hands to stretch, pull, and roll. This tool is mostly quiet too, so great for class time! There are different levels of resistance for this tool, we would recommend you start with the highest resistance.
Stretchy Sensory Strings - a tool that can be used to stretch and hold that is not putty but still offers input to the body!
Kushy Squishy Grips - a tool to add to your pens and pencils to aid in writing skills and offer sensory input while completing writing tasks.
Bubble ball - a stress ball and fidget with tactile nodes to increase connections, can be rolled between hands, on arms and legs, to increase sensory integration, or the jitters!
A timer - after time (around 15 to 20 minutes) tools lose their efficiency as your body connects to it. Using a timer to remind your students to grab a different tool is very helpful.
Exercise bands - these can used in various ways to activate whole body learning; follow the exercises in the pamphlet, stretch your arms, legs, and back! They can also be tied around the base of chairs to offer sensory input to feet while sitting!
Play Foam - another putty type fidget that does make some noise and offer some auditory connections as well!
Weighted vest/blanket/figure- helps offer proprioceptive feedback to calm, focus, and cope with sensory overload. A vest will offer more full-bodied hug like compression. Smaller items will offer more pinpoint support. The turtle also has sequins that can be used to fidget with while using the turtle.
Mazes - helps with visual perception and problem solving skills.
Mandalas and color pencils - to color when feeling anxious or unsure about what may be happening.
If you have space, we also incorporate some of the following bigger items to help with focus and attention:
T-Stool - helps with sitting and posture/focus in class time
Trampoline - when feeling high energy!
Spin disc - helps with balance and posture, or when a student is feeling low energy.
Balance boards - can be used under feet during class time or when standing, helps work on balance and coordination as well as focus in classes. There are various different levels of difficulty with balance boards as your student works on the skill.
Step 3) Put the box somewhere they can access and use as needed during class times. Communicate with school staff if you have one so we can encourage using the tools when we notice they need additional support.
You do not need all these items; start small and try new things out as your student is working with them and figuring them out. Almost anything can be a tool - a piece of chain, slime, a cozy blanket. Ask them questions about how it makes them feel and how it helps. Remember, we want it to be a tool and not a toy! Now put those tools to work! You’re done! If you’re unsure what your student has used while at school, please reach out and we may be able to direct you to some items.
Please share this post and let us know how the tools help your student!