By: Stephanie Kaliades, OTR/L

We are all well aware of the fidget spinner craze that took classrooms by storm. What was meant to be a tool to aid concentration and focus during class has seemed to have the opposite effect. Teachers and schools are banning fidget spinners in the classroom, dismissing the item as a disruptive toy.

But what if your child really does perform better in the classroom when they have something to occupy their hands? Here are five cheap and easy ideas for fidgets that won’t drive you or your teachers crazy.

Stress Ball

Stress balls are cheap and easy to make. All you need is some balloons, a funnel, and whatever you’d like to place inside! Beans, rice, sand, and flour all make successful stress balls that can be cheaply replaced if broken or lost.

Silly Putty

This amazing toy that has lasted generations is a great fidget for quiet classrooms. It has its own container for storage and can easily fit in your child’s pocket. Plus for around $8.99 for a six-pack, this fidget won’t break the bank, and you will always have extras lying around.

Kneaded Erasers

Another favorite of my childhood! This fidget operates much the same way silly putty would, but with the added bonus of working as an eraser. It’s quiet, it’s functional, and it actually belongs in your child’s pencil box.

Beaded Pencil Topper

This fidget idea is a fun craft you can do with your child. All you need is pipe cleaners and pony beads easily found at your local dollar store. Wrap the top of a pencil with one end of a pipe cleaner, add a few beads, and then wrap the other end around the pencil to secure. Once finished your child can bend and twist the pipe cleaner, and spin the beads without causing a disruption in class.

Nuts and Bolts

Head to the garage for this quick, easy, and cheap fidget “spinner.” Take a bolt and thread two nuts onto the end. Use a hot glue gun to secure the second nut to the end of the bolt. Now you have one nut that is free to spin and up and down the bolt quietly without ever falling off.

These are just a sample of the countless ways you can create quiet fidgets for your child that are less distracting to teachers, other children, and even you! In addition to the classroom, these fidgets are welcome additions to homework time, long car rides, and even waiting in line!