The Great Big List of Favorite Fiddles

Featured Image for this article: a collection of fidget toys

What are your favorite tools?

  1. Brush, pet, or play with your pet.
  2. Practice origami or engage in an art project
  3. Learn how to knit, crochet, quilt, embroidery, cross-stitch, needlepoint, or sew.
  4. Play a musical instrument and/or take lessons (ex. guitar, piano, flute, drums)
  5. Pull out threads from a piece of loosely woven muslin cloth or band-aide.
  6. Rip Paper or poke holes in it
  7. Stretch saran-wrap or poke holes in it
  8. Play with Silly Putty™ or try Theraputty™, which comes in several different levels of firmness and comes in larger quantities.
  9. Make your own slime and put in small beads for additional tactile sensations.
  10. Use various types of brushes and combs to massage your scalp or skin or rub on your hands. This could include hair brushes, mushroom brushes, toothbrushes (natural bristle or nylon), electric toothbrush, nail brushes, massage brushes, makeup brushes, scrub brushes, shoe shine brushes (the soft kind, used for buffing), or paint brushes. Those who like to stimulate their cheeks or lips with hairs they have pulled sometimes find they can get the same type of stimulation with fine-tipped artists’ brushes. Some like to pull the bristles out of inexpensive house painting brushes while some wood or plastic brushes and combs can be used to massage your scalp. Plastic surgical brushes, which are used by medical personnel to scrub their hands have very fine bristles and come in one or two-sided versions (also widely used for training purposes in occupational therapy sensory integration programs). Animal curry combs or brushes are another type of substitute you might take a look at. Check out pet stores or equestrian supply stores. Breaking the heads off toothbrushes will give you something that is quite small and can be hidden in your hand. There is also a small paintbrush that fits over your fingertip, called the FingerMax™. Wig brushes such as a loop brush is also satisfying. Handle Grip Nail Brush with sturdy bristles is also a nice soothing sensation.
  11. Make or buy jewelery, such as bracelets or necklaces with beads and objects that have a lot of texture and that are very tactile. For the bracelets, try using ones that are elastic so you can move the beads around.
  12. Try Spinner rings, especially those with some groves
  13. Fidget pendants!
  14. Fidgeto sensory fidget bracelet-rubber
  15. Gently scrub the areas you tend to pull from with a loofah (the rough fibrous shell of a gourd, available in most drugstores) used for scouring your body, if you tend to pull while in the shower or bath. It comes in the form of a mitt, or in its natural state.
  16. Use various types of small dolls to stimulate your hands. Dolls with curly hair feels really good.
  17. Koosh Balls™ or other feathery, rubbery type toys
  18. Squeeze a spring-loaded hand exerciser.
  19. Handle a piece of velvet or corduroy or some other textured fabric
  20. Play with feathers or get a feather boa. Or pull feathers out of a pillow or comforter.
  21. Handle a textured pot scrubber (Dobie Pads™ are good) or rubber pot holder
  22. Pipe cleaners, which come in many different shapes and sizes (many folks especially like the extra-large and fuzzy type)
  23. Play with a strip of the hooked half of Velcro™
  24. Rub fingers lightly on extra fine sandpaper (be careful to limit this) or engage in a sanding project.
  25. Try stringing beads, or even try using a bead loom you can use to make colorful beaded bands.
  26. Pop the plastic bubbles in bubble wrap. You can also buy a small hand toy known as Electronic Bubble Wrap that won’t waste plastic, or try the push pop bubble fidget sensory toy. This comes in different sizes and key chains. There are also Bubble Wrap Apps for your phone.
  27. Cuddle a furry or velvety stuffed animal (popular with both adults and kids). As a plus, some have whiskers or are filled with plastic beads for further tactile stimulation. Another plus are stuffed animals with beans inside such as beanie babies.
  28. Make a bracelet with a type of hardware known as ‘toothed lock washers’ [also known as star washers (they have spurs that stick out)]. You can buy two dozen of them and string them together on a piece of string or a shoelace.
  29. Silly bandz bracelet in different shapes
  30. Use small toys such as a miniature Slinky™
  31. Try to solve the Rubix Cube
  32. Try a Yo-Yo
  33. Try a good old fashion puzzle or a new 3D puzzle ball
  34. Push pop bubble silicone jigsaw puzzle
  35. Rotate and slide puzzle fidget or slider puzzle or magic finger puzzle fidget
  36. Cuberspeed rainbow ball
  37. Little plastic soybean (edamame) toys (also known as Bandai Edamame Soybean Pod Key chains) that squeeze the little beans in and out of a plastic pod and are very tactile and amazingly satisfying.
  38. Carry rubber bands or paper clips to snap, bend, and manipulate
  39. Carry a string of worry beads or a worry stone to play with. One version of this is a Tibetan Buddhist mala, a type of rosary, used to count mantra recitations while helping to focus awareness and concentration.
  40. Manipulate dental floss or fine nylon fishing line with knots tied in it. Dental floss can also be a good substitute for those who like to bite on hairs, chew them, or pull them between their teeth or rub on your lips.
  41. Break, twist, or peel apart yarn or lightweight sewing thread - this can be satisfying to those who like to break hairs after they are pulled.
  42. Chew sesame seeds – good for those who like to bite or swallow hairs or the bulbs at the ends.
  43. Eat and crack sunflower or pumpkin seeds (in the shell) to stimulate both fingers and the mouth.
  44. Eat strong mint candies, or those with a strong sour fruit taste as another way of stimulating the mouth.
  45. Chewing gum (sugarless, such as Trident™ is best) can also be helpful.
  46. Chew pieces of gummy bears.
  47. Chew on pieces of uncooked spaghetti.
  48. Peel and eat string cheese.
  49. Try using an athletic mouth guard or night guard, to help block chewing or biting of hair, skin, cheek, lips, or nails.
  50. To prevent pulling arm and leg hair, wear clothing with sleeves and/or long legs around the house. These can be lightweight items. Ex: yoga pants, knee high socks, stockings. You can also purchase sleeves only (common for runners)
  51. Draw or doodle on a pad with a pen or pencil, especially while talking on the phone. Don’t be afraid to press hard!
  52. Draw on your own skin or put stick on jewels or stickers on trigger spots as a pretty reminder.
  53. Clay, fimo polymer modelling clay, pottery.
  54. Wood working, wood carving, wood burning
  55. Play a very engaging video game with a controller that requires both hands, or if playing on your phone, again, be sure to use both hands. There are SO many game apps now!
  56. Get hair samples from beauty supply outlets or wig makers who often have leftover long hair, if only the real thing will do for you. Either you, or they, can bind them into small hanks.
  57. Some find that keeping your hair in hair-curlers is helpful
  58. Wear and manipulate a ring. You can also try a massage ring (but don’t keep that on your finger too long!) They also make massage bracelets!
  59. Play with rubber cement, rubbing it between your fingers.
  60. Apply Elmer’s Glue to your hand and pick it off. But be careful that this may trigger more skin picking. Try applying to a plastic surface instead if you need.
  61. Experiment with different types of gloves. For around the house or when sleeping, one good type is a white cotton dermatological glove, found in drugstores. It is cheap, lightweight, won’t make your hands perspire, and is soft and comfortable to wear. It is generally used to keep medication from rubbing off hands or getting on other things in your house. When you are in the car, you might make use of perforated leather driving gloves. They cover your fingers completely, and won’t make your hands too warm. One plus is that they will give you a better grip on the steering wheel. One other type of glove is that used by pool players. They cover your thumb, index finger, and middle finger, but leave your fingertips free for things like using the phone or computer.
  62. Try using a type of dust mitt that has a microfiber side, and a yarn-duster side.
  63. Find a toy known as a Hairy Tangle™, or Ziggy pasta, which is very textured and can be twisted into many different shapes.
  64. Look for plastic spaghetti-like toys: noodles. You can make a knot and roll them out over and over and over again.
  65. The stretch centipede, available in packs on amazon.
  66. Cover your face with a cosmetic mask.
  67. Another useful toy is a textured, spiky, squeezable ball known as a Nubby Ball™.
  68. Handle Kinetic Sand™ which is specially treated sand that is very tactile.
  69. Weed the garden (seriously).
  70. Vacuum (also seriously). Try a hand vacuum
  71. Use Tippi™ rubber finger tips used for counting money or going through stacks of papers. They cover the ends of your fingers, and are also very textured, which is a plus. There are also softer finger tips called finger cots.
  72. Try using the B2R app (Breathe to Relax) or other meditation apps
  73. Try a tracking app: Trichstop, HabitBull, Habit Tracker, SkinPick-Dermatillomania, etc.
  74. Handle a Buff Puff™
  75. Cover your fingertips with a special knuckle band-aid, or try using surgical tape.
  76. Use band aides or scotch tape on your fingers. You can play with the edge of the tape or unravel the band aides.
  77. Tape your fingers together or use a finger splint
  78. Apply Lacrilube™ to your eyelashes to make them slippery.
  79. Handle differently textured pieces of yarn, put knots in them.
  80. Try the Pull Apart Fidget Cloth at therapyhoppe.com
  81. Get a set of acrylic nails
  82. Wear a hat, scarf, bandana, wig, lashes, swimming cap to act as a barrier
  83. Scalp massager or vibrating scalp massager
  84. Get fun pens to play with ex. Spinner pens, magnetic fidget pen, abilitations Musgrave pencil company pencil fidget, puzzle pen, Fidgi Pen - The Original Fidget Pen, pen/pencil toppers and grippers.
  85. Do your nails and paint one a different color to add variety and interest. You can also pick your nail polish off
  86. Cover your mirror (try a sheer fabric if you do not want to fully cover it)
  87. Do not use magnifying mirrors. Hide your handheld and compact mirrors
  88. Reminder post-it notes and/or photos for motivation
  89. Stand at least an arm’s length away from your mirror.
  90. Put tweezers in the freezer or freeze tweezers in a cup of water
  91. Ice your hot spots
  92. Write!
  93. Listen to music or a meditation (nature sounds, rain, fireworks, rhythmic music)
  94. Squish plastic grapes
  95. Fidget cubes and spinners, puzzle key chains.
  96. Sensory strands by Laura Santner, LCSW PTR (order through LauraSantnerLCSW@gmail.com) to be worn around your wrist, finger, hair tie, hair clip, key chain, bag/purse.
  97. Fidget simple dimple keychain with silicone 2 buttons for endless popping
  98. Pimple popper toys with ooze
  99. Lotion lotion lotion
  100. Overnight hydrating face masks for face pickers. It will act as a barrier and hydrate your skin!
  101. Sleeping caps and sleeping eye masks for hair and lash pullers.
  102. Certain shampoos and conditions cause a tingle sensation which can be stimulating. Ex. Nioxin
  103. Vaseline on your fingers or spots to make it slippery and harder to pick and pull
  104. Finger traps/finger traps with a marble in it! Feels so good to push that marble back and forth.
  105. Marble maze mat-LAKIKID or the furry marble looper
  106. Scrunchie, hair tie, ribbed hair ties around your wrist
  107. Go to the gym or exercise at home: weights or a pull up bar or push ups to wear out your arm muscles, stretching for relaxation, bicycle or step machine, kick boxing, yoga, climbing, running, swimming
  108. Wear wrist weights, especially when at the computer or watching tv
  109. Place hands palms up and see how long you can sit without moving your fingers. In contrast squeeze your hand tightly in a fist and then release and shake out.
  110. Grip Master prohands with different tensions to strengthen and exercise your fingers, RitFit Best Finger & Exerciser Stretcher, other finger stretching balls such as the handmaster.
  111. Theraband flexbar resistance band
  112. Roleo arm massager or other arm/finger massage and rollers
  113. Keep your arms straight as often as possible
  114. vibrating necklace (vesper vibrator)
  115. Keep lights on dim or utilize Christmas/Twinkle lights
  116. Barrier for upper body picking: turtle necks and sweatshirts, long sleeves with small head openings
  117. For cheek/lip biting: sucking candy, puff cheeks out, smile, tongue to the roof of the mouth, tongue between teeth, mouth guard (oral B), water bottle with rubber spout
  118. For cheek/lip biting: Chew on tooth pick, plastic spoon, pen cap, pencil erasers.
  119. For cheek/lip biting: sensory chewable necklace/pendants. Usually silicone based. Good for all. Many choices available on amazon.
  120. For cheek/lip biting: chew tubes, chew sticks, fluxy oral motor tool
  121. Shirts, skirts, sweaters, scarves with fringes
  122. Pillows with fringes-ex. 425 South Los Angeles pillows
  123. Tinsel sparkle pom pom balls (pull out the tinsel!)
  124. Pull a part cotton balls!
  125. Keen awareness bracelet
  126. Relaxing scents such as lavender
  127. Finger paint, art projects, adult colouring books, mandalas
  128. For infants: pacifiers attached to stuffed animals and different teething toys, kissing fingers
  129. Drink decaffeinated tea or hot water with lemon
  130. Make yourself a smoothie-sunwarrior protein powder has a lot of amino acids which we may be lacking. It’s organic, all natural ingredient
  131. Try EMDR with hand-tapping and audio stimulation
  132. Search on YouTube ASMR sounds and Binaural ASMR sounds. Use headphones for binaural sounds so you can hear them taking turns in right and left ear.
  133. Wear and/or play with fake hair hair-ties or braided hair headbands
  134. Wear and/or play with wigs
  135. Rubber pop-up poppers
  136. Pop snap plastic beads
  137. The Fluxy Fidget on at therapyhoppe.com has holes you can poke your fingers inside of and has textured fabric tails you can pull out, plug back in, twirl, toss, or swing around.
  138. Lie on your back (preferably the floor) and breathe
  139. Hold your breath and submerge your face in cold water and slowly breathe out making bubbles. Try also making a noise when you breathe out. Repeat as necessary.
  140. The new PickNPeel Stone
  141. Skin/acne circle patches. For example-Hydrocolloid patches. They also come in fun shapes such as stars
  142. Gel or rubber finger tips or finger cot guards
  143. Pick the pills off an old sweater
  144. Portable lint remover, manual- You can use on your floor, bedding, carpets, sofas, car seats, clothes, etc. to clean your pet's hair, dust, snacks, hair, skin flakes, etc. Very satisfying and intriguing!
  145. Rainbow scratch paper
  146. Under the desk fringes and fidgets
  147. Under the desk mini bike pedals
  148. “Calm strips” to attach to your computer, phone, steering wheel
  149. Steering wheel covers such as a silicone textured cover or furry cover
  150. Clean your space! An organized and relaxing place=a relaxed you (and scrubbing the tub feels pretty good too)
  151. Magnetic stones, magnetic balls, magnetic building sticks, spek fleks magnetic silicone building set, magnetic rings, magnetic putty, magnetic bracelets and necklace.
  152. Fidget spinners metal gears and links
  153. LT Siamese Massage Ball by Unique Design. This is a one-handed fidget that is bumpy with divots and grooves and rotates, making a satisfying clicking noise.  
  154. Snappers Fidget toy-made of smooth silicone with suction cups in the center!
  155. For trichophagia- try eating sprouts, string cheese (peel and eat), broccoli (pick it apart), Japanese seaweed called wakame, vegetable spiralizer, de-string snow peas.
  156. For pickers and peelers and Trichophagia-peel the white membrane off of oranges and grapefruits.
  157. Practice resistance by not scratching an itch
  158. Practice resistance by not looking at phone notifications
  159. Practice resistance by keeping a small pebble in your shoe
  160. Search online for sensory balls or fidgets and discover what will work for you! There is a HUGE HUGE HUGE selection on Amazon and at the Therapy Shoppe .
  161. Remind yourself that YOU ARE NOT YOUR BFRB! Feel your urges, and listen...ask yourself “what is it that my body needs right now. What is it trying to tell me?
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Cheek Biting
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