Best Cheap Fidget Toys for Anxiety for 2024 – CNET

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Updated Feb. 14, 2024 10:50 p.m. PT


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Caroline Igo

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Caroline Igo Editor

Caroline Igo (she/her/hers) is a wellness editor and holds Sleep Science Coach and Stress Management certificates from the Spencer Institute. She received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Miami University and continues to further her craft in her free time. Before joining CNET, Caroline wrote for past CNN anchor, Daryn Kagan.
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$6 at Amazon


Best cheap fidget toy for all ages

Retro Game Controller Fidget

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$8 at Walmart

Fidget Cube

Best cheap fidget toy for adults

Appash Fidget Cube

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$7 at Amazon

Pop It balls

Best cheap sensory fidget toy

4 Set Pop It Ball Fidget Toy

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$7 at Amazon

Pop Tubes

Best cheap fidget toy for young kids

4 Set Pop Tubes

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$13 at Amazon

Water Bead Stress Balls

Best cheap fidget toy for the classroom

3 Set Water Beads Stress Ball

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While they may look silly, fight toys can be incredibly beneficial for those dealing with anxiety. In the last few years alone, the popularity of fidget toys has risen exponentially, as well as the discourse surrounding them. Many groups of teachers, parents, professionals and students swear by them. Fidget toys are small tools you spin between your fingers to help reduce anxiety. Think of it as an outlet to channel everyday stressors. That being said, they’re not a substitute for professional help, but they may be a great tool to help manage anxiety and stress symptoms.

We searched the internet for the best cheap fidget toys and chose the ones with the best price, appearance, durability and customer reviews. 

Here are our top picks for the best fidget toys for $10 and under.

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A fidget that interests people of all ages with anxiety needs to be fun and easy to use, all without making adults feel childish. WTYCD’s retro fidget toy does just that. The small game controller fidget is discrete and has eight different functions to play with and touch — including four colored buttons, a joystick, a textured roller, a gear scroll, a switch, a dial, a keyhole and a pick. This fidget could be used at home, work, school or during travel, but be aware that two of the colored buttons do make a little noise (similar to a pen clicking). 

Use the keyhole to add a wristband or add to a keyring. 

Best features:

  • Pocket-size and lightweight; fits in an adult’s and a child’s hand 
  • Comes in eight different colors and designs, as well as a two-pack option for $10

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One of the more popular fidget toys for anxious adults is a fidget cube, and Appash offers an excellent affordable and sturdy option. The six-sided fidget has seven features — a joystick, a cluster of five buttons, a switch, a dial, gears, a silver rollerball and a large smooth button. In addition, the cube is made of soft textured rubber so each side is smooth and sleek. It is easy to rotate from one textured side to another and designed to keep your hands busy during long meetings, classes or anxious periods. It comes in six different colors. 

Be aware that the switch, buttons and gears make a small clicking sound. 

Best features:

  • Portable, fits in a pocket
  • Seven features in one small fidget

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Pop It balls combine two popular fidgets — a pop it and a stress ball. This set of four balls is covered in plenty of raised bumps that can be pushed and squeezed. Made of non-toxic silicone, the rainbow colored balls are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are very lightweight. As a sensory toy, the fidgets offer texture, noise and stress relief to anxious hands. They’re also easy to clean.   

If you decide to use these in a classroom, be aware that they do make noise.  

Best features:

  • Makes popping sounds
  • All the benefits of a stress ball

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Fidgets for children need to be entertaining enough to occupy their busy hands. These brightly colored, textured and plastic pop tubes are guaranteed to grab their attention. Each set comes with four pop tubes for one low price. Similar to Lego and other building blocks, you can even connect a few pop tubes together to make larger tubes. The rigid tubes can be pulled and bent to make shapes, letters or words. Every time a tube is pulled or pushed together, it makes a sound, similar to a bendy straw. Let your young kids play with these fidgets on their own or join in on the fun. 

However, be aware that the tubes can dented during rough play. If you use these in the classroom, be aware that they make noise. 

Best features:

  • Fun texture and sounds 
  • Can connect the tubes together for more play

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These non-toxic, non-latex and hypoallergenic stress balls are great for students in the classroom. Each ball comes filled with jelly water beads, making them fun to squish and squeeze. One set comes with three water bead stress balls, and there are a few colors and sizes available. The best thing about these fidget balls is that they make virtually no noise, and therefore won’t disrupt class. At home, students can also toss, bounce and play catch with these fidgets. 

Note that these fidgets might not be as durable as their more expensive counterparts.

Best features:

  • Quiet, discreet stress ball
  • Customer service will offer a refund or replacement within 90 days

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How do fidget toys help with anxiety?

When the body is under stress and anxiety, it often responds in a physical way known as fidgeting. This fidgeting is due to discomfort and can look like a tapping foot or having trouble sitting still. Fidget toys are a way to soothe this anxiety and keep the mind focused and calm at the task ahead. They can direct the anxious energy somewhere else, so your mind is clear enough to continue through a work meeting or an important lecture. 

The research on the effectiveness of fidget toys is still new, and has had mixed results. Some children and adults seem to benefit from fidgets, while others find them distracting. Many of the studies on fidget toys are about other uses, like improving attention and focus, rather than anxiety specifically. More studies need to be done. However, based on many first-hand accounts of those who use fidgets, they often can help calm the mind.   

Where can I get cheap fidget toys?

Fidget toys are accessible and already fairly affordable. You can find cheap fidget toys on Amazon or in department stores like Walmart or Target. Your local grocery store might even carry a few fidgets.
However, Amazon usually has the best prices for fidget toys. They even offer variety packs of 50 small fidgets or less for about $20. Here’s one variety pack for $13

What is the most stress relieving fidget?

The most stress-relieving fidget for you is a personal choice. While research on the effectiveness of fidget toys on anxiety is slim, there are many groups of people who swear by them. There are so many different kinds to choose and try — from stress balls to Pop Its, fidget rings and cubes to fidget spinners. If one doesn’t work for you, try another. 

What is the best homemade fidget toy?

If you aren’t satisfied with the prices of cheap fidget toys online, you can always make your own at home. They are fairly simple and many require only a few materials. You can make a bead fidget toy with jumbo paper clips and any colorful beads (although, perler beads might work best). The possibilities are endless, and making these fidgets are a great arts and crafts project for young children. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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