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If you have a child, chances are good that you're familiar with a particular type of fidget toy, Pop Its, which has become ubiquitous in recent years. But these simple but satisfying sensory tools are more than just a passing trend. Not only are they enjoyable and engaging, but they also provide a range of benefits that support many aspects of children's development.
In this article:
What is a fidget toy?
A fidget toy is a small gadget that you can spin, mold, or manipulate with your fingers. They keep kids' (and adults') hands busy as a way to focus their energy, keep their minds engaged, and relieve stress and anxiety.
There are a wide variety of fidget toys available from countless sellers, from simple stress balls to intricate fidget spinners. Whatever the price or the type, the goal is the same: to provide a healthy outlet for nervous energy.
What is a Pop It?
This is a simple fidget toy that is made of silicone and comes in a variety of shapes and colors. It has bubbles that you can push through to the other side with your fingers.
Fun fact: These fidgets became a huge trend in 2019 thanks to a video of a monkey playing with one!
How are Pop It toys helpful?
1. Alleviates stress and anxiety
Many people find that fidgeting with something small and tactile, like making a fidget toy pop, can help them relax and feel more centered. The repetitive motion can be calming and having an object to focus on can help distract from negative feelings or racing thoughts.
2. Aids in focus
Lots of kids (and adults!) struggle to stay focused for long periods of time. The repetitive and rhythmic action of popping each bubble can be a helpful and discreet way to channel their excess energy and help them concentrate on the task at hand.
3. Encourages fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
These toys also help kids refine their fine motor skills. Pushing the small bubbles is an enjoyable and interactive way for a child to enhance their precision and coordination.
This toy can be especially helpful for younger kids who are in the early stages of fine motor development.
Pop Its can also be combined with beads, tweezers, and other tools to further promote fine motor development. A fun twist is to fill the bubbles with yogurt, freeze the entire thing, and have your child pop out the frozen yogurt circles!
4. Supports education
Some versions of these toys include numbers, letters, or shapes on each bubble, allowing them to be used as educational tools and games.
For example, counting, adding, and subtracting the popped bubbles on numbered Pop Its can reinforce early math skills in a fun and interactive way.
Who benefits from Pop Its?
Fidgets are particularly helpful for people with ADHD, anxiety, or other conditions that make it difficult to concentrate. They are also great for people with sensory processing sensitivities.
But really anyone can benefit from having some bubbles to push!
Pathfinder Health recommends:
Frequently asked questions
1. Are fidget toys for ADHD?
Although fidget toys are helpful for anyone who struggles with focus, research has shown that certain types may particularly benefit individuals with ADHD by helping them release energy in a calming manner. Fidgets are not an alternative or stand-alone treatment for ADHD.
2. Are fidget toys for anxiety or ADHD?
While fidget toys may provide some individuals with a way to manage anxiety, channel nervous energy, and improve attention and focus, they should not be considered a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment, and support.
3. What is a Pop It fidget toy used for?
Pop Its are used to help kids and adults manage anxiety, improve focus, and reduce stress. The repetitive popping action offers a calming effect and can help redirect restless energy. They also aid in sensory exploration and tactile engagement, which can be beneficial for those with sensory processing differences.
4. What is the point of a Pop It fidget toy?
A Pop It provides a simple, enjoyable way to reduce stress, redirect nervous energy, and engage the senses. Its repetitive popping action can offer a soothing and calming effect, making it beneficial for managing anxiety, improving focus, and promoting relaxation.
5. How do you make a homemade Pop It fidget toy?
You can make a simple version of this toy using cardboard and craft foam. Cut two matching shapes from cardboard and then cut a circle in the middle of both. Using craft foam, make a cone slightly larger than the holes in the cardboard. Hot glue the cone in the hole between both pieces of cardboard.
6. Is a Pop It fidget toy reusable?
Yes. They are typically made of silicone and are designed to withstand repeated popping. Silicone can be washed with warm water and mild soap, making them durable and suitable for long-term use.
7. Is a Pop It fidget toy good for kids?
There is evidence that Pop Its can serve as self-soothing tools, potentially aiding older kids and adults in managing their emotions and improving concentration. However, these items are only for kids over 3 years old because they can be a choking hazard.
8. Who made the first Pop It fidget toy?
The concept of the Pop It fidget toy was originally the dream of Israeli game designers Theo (a classmate of Anne Frank!) and Ora Coster. Because the silicone to make the bubbles didn’t exist yet, they weren’t manufactured until 2014, when the Costers' sons brought back the idea.
9. What are the top 5 best fidget toys?
To support early math skills: Hand2mind Hundred Board Sensory Bubble Popper
For babies and toddlers: Fat Brain Toys Original Dimpl
For social-emotional learning: Learning Resources Rainbow Emotion Fidget Poppers
For an interactive game: Light Up Pop It! Pro
For a reasonable price: Four-pack rainbow pop it
10. Are Pop It fidget toys safe?
The typical silicone Pop It should only be used by children 3 years old and up. These items can be made of flimsy material, which can break off and present a choking risk. Similar bubble toys made specifically for younger children (like the Dimpl) have plastic frames and are safe for chewing.
11. Are Pop It fidget toys for autism?
Pop Its aren’t only for kids with autism, but they can be very helpful. Among other benefits, they can assist kids in self-regulating their attention spans and emotions, potentially reducing stress and anxiety. They also offer sensory engagement, which can be a source of comfort.
12. Do fidget toys help with sensory issues?
People with sensory processing challenges can experience sensory overload and feel overwhelmed by stimuli such as bright lights, loud noises, or certain smells. Fidget toys provide different sensory inputs that can be calming in these situations.
13. What is the most popular pop it fidget toy?
Popular Pop It toys and games include:
Also check out Pathfinder Health's recommendations, above.
The popularity of Pop It toys goes beyond a mere trend. These simple gadgets can provide stress relief, help improve focus, develop fine motor skills, and promote learning. Ultimately, this type of fidget toy can play a versatile role in promoting the overall well-being of your child.