Fidget spinners and toys have been getting a bad rap lately. Honestly, I’ve been taking little toys away from my son for years. Telling him he needs to pay attention. But the truth is, I struggle to pay attention and often do better with something to fidget with. As fidget spinners and toys have become a hot topic lately, I realized O-Man can benefit from one. Alas, the spinners have already been banned in his school. We set out to make our own option. Something that would meet his needs and be acceptable for him to have in his pocket.
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Fidgeting Helps Me Focus
Frequently, I have crocheting with me. Anytime I have to wait, sit, or listen; I crochet. Several years ago, I unintentionally realized I listened better while crocheting. I’ve never been able to just sit and watch TV. Once I started keeping a crochet bag with me, I realized how much easier it was to pay attention to something else. Yes, I even crochet during church!
O-Man has always been drawn to soft textures and small toys. If he doesn’t have a pocket, then a small toy is always in his hand. As I think back, he’s always been this way.
Recently, O’s teacher has given him a piece of giant pipe cleaner. He has kept this in his pocket, bending and shaping it. It started out super soft, which he liked. Soft textures comfort and calm him. He calls this his pocket fuzzy.
Designing Our Own Fidget Toys
The first thing I did was have O-Man gather his favorite toys. Things that comfort him. The toys and items he wants when he is upset, feels calmest, or at his best.
Once we had these, we found a piece of fabric that met his texture needs. A scrap piece of fleece I had from making O-Man and IronFish Colt’s scarves.
Then we looked at the size we wanted. The finished item needed to fit nicely in his pocket and hand. I used his hand to determine the size of fabric to cut.
Next, I sewed a small pouch, leaving an opening for turning.
Filling the Pouch
Once we had a pouch sewn, we used this to test what would go inside. O-Man gathered small things he liked. We did a bit of brainstorming, searching his room and my craft room. Here’s what we came up with:
Mardi Gras beads, pipe cleaners, marbles, and slime. He made the slime a few weeks ago but likes the feel of it inside the plastic bag.
Then we began testing the items inside of the fleece pouch.
Despite liking the jumbo pipe cleaner, he vetoed the pipe cleaner. We also tried a few different sizes of the marbles and he decided one large flat marble was his preference over the smaller or round ones.
I wasn’t keen on putting a plastic baggie of slime inside the pouch. It could end up in the wash or the plastic bag could break. The baggies I had were all too big to fit inside the pouch also.
O-Man suggested we make stress balls!
DIY Stress Balls
We gathered more supplies. Balloons, flour, and a funnel.
He didn’t want the stress ball to be too firm. It also needed to be small enough to fit inside the pouch. I did ultimately make the pouches for the stress balls slightly larger.
After filling a balloon with flour to his liking with the funnel, we cut the stem off of another balloon.
I then stretched the second balloon to fit over the top of the first balloon. Just before we shoved the flour filled balloon into the second, we snipped off the knot. We then continued to add additional balloons over top, always alternating the openings.
Each stress ball has a total of 5 balloon layers (the flour filled one and 4 more).
DIY Alternatives to Fidget Spinners and Toys
We made several. His final choices for fillings were the large flat marbles, half a strand of Mardi Gras beads and the stress balls. This was a great project for the #CraftRoomDestashChallenge as we had everything on hand!
It was also a great way to spend the rainy afternoon together.
He is only allowed to take one in his pocket each day. I will have plenty as I’m sure over time, he will loose them. Or they will no longer be as soft and fuzzy as he likes.
They fit perfectly in his hand. Because they are cloth outside, the fidget toy makes little to no noise. The Mardi Gras beads make a little bit of noise, but nothing noticeable when it’s inside his pocket.
Pin for Later
And don’t forget to see what else my fellow bloggers made for this month’s challenge!
Craft Room Destash Challenge
Every month, a group of bloggers challenges each other to create a new craft or project from their own stash of goodies! Check out some awesome creations you might be able to make from your own stash! #CraftRoomDestashChallenge
If you’d like to join in the Craft Room De-Stash Challenge, you can request to join our Facebook group here!