Fidget toys originated from the fidget spinner, invented by Catherine Hettinger in the '90s when she needed to distract her daughter because she was sick and couldn't take care of her child. Since then, fidget toys have come in different shapes, sizes, and purposes. Initially, fidget toys were created for children. Still, adults have learned to enjoy them, especially for easing anxiety, stress, and other mental disorders or simply just for relaxation purposes.
There are several kinds of fidget toys, such as fidget cubes. Each side has a different purpose, such as clicking, popping, flipping, spinning, rolling, and gliding. There are also fidget poppers, which aim to simulate popping bubble wrap. Slimes, Rubik's cubes, and stress balls are all considered fidget toys.
Fidget toys have long since graduated from being just toys to becoming sensory objects. Psychologists and physical therapists have been singing praises for these sensory objects because they have been proven to ease stress and anxiety among their patients, leading them to play with the fidget toys instead of focusing on harmful habits such as nailbiting, skin picking, and being on their phones too often. These toys can also ease boredom for children and become a stress release for adults at the office.
Another kind of fidget toy has been becoming a crowd favorite over the past few years. It's called Wacky Tracks, and it's a snake-like plastic toy made up of linked chains that can be bent and formed into different shapes. A Wacky Tracks fidget toy is very colorful, and kids can spend hours creating different shapes with them or looping them together to form anything. They can even be formed into bracelets and necklaces, which can be traded among friends.
Wacky Tracks are made of lightweight plastic made to withstand several hours of play. They're flexible, portable, and colorful, making for an exciting fidget toy. However, they are very loud and can be pretty distracting, especially in a quiet room. But, keeping in mind its more positive aspects, a Wacky Tracks fidget toy is suitable for people with arthritis. Playing with it helps lessen pain and stiffness in the hands, and people with arthritis who use it have reported more mobilization with their hands.
Some physical therapists have also sworn by its cognitive and emotional support for children and adults alike. For example, during the pandemic, it has kept kids distracted, allowing their parents to power through meetings and household chores without distraction, making them more efficient. Adults would also play with a Wacky Tracks fidget toy to relieve the stress they feel throughout the day.