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Toys Vs Tools

Posted by Sara Van Schyndel on

toys and fidgets

There’s lots of confusion and discussion around the topic of fidgets. The main argument is are they tools or toys?  Sounds like a simple question right? Unfortunately it is not. Fidgets can be used as both, depending on how they are used, the style of the product and most importantly the user. 

USER DIFFERENCES:

If the user is someone who genuinely needs a fidget to help them through a stressful situation, cope with a busy environment or help them focus then the fidget is a tool. If it’s just something you picked up at the store as your child thinks it’s neat, saw their friends had them or just like the look of it then it now becomes a toy. 

PRODUCT DIFFERENCES:

Toys are often noisier,bright and flashy and cause a distraction to others. Tools are smaller, quiet or mute, not as flashy and discreet. 

 

WHEN A TOY BECOMES A TOOL:

Here’s where the grey area comes into play, when a toy becomes a tool.  A flashy fidget spinner that lights up, will often cause a distraction. However when this “flashy” fidget is able to prevent a child from having a melt down, provides a distraction to a teen at a busy store, or allows an adult to focus on their work or meeting it has now become a tool.


EXAMPLES OF TOOLS VS TOYS:

TOOLS

TOYS

Poppers

Light up toys - ie: Fidget Spinners

Fidget Cube

Fidgets - with Noise

Putty

Larger Items

Squishy Balls

Sound Tubes

Mesh Marbles

Stretchy Toys- ie: Silly Noodles 

Chews


WHY PEOPLE USE THEM

There are many different uses for fidgets. It could be to help someone focus, it could be to provide a sense of calm in a situation that causes anxiety, fidgets can be used to disguise a tick and make it more socially acceptable.

A fun fact is - a student who fidgets during a lesson is more likely to retain the information!

The important thing to remember is that a “toy” to one person can be a “tool” to another. In the end it depends on the user's needs and how they use the particular object.