Whether you bite your nails or twirl your hair, fiddling is an all too familiar impulse to distract from our inner monologue. The polarizing fidget spinner tapped into that idea, showing that both kids and adults alike enjoy tangible toys to transfer their energy. Now, there is a new it-toy to remedy restlessness, delivering knuckle-cracking sounds in soft, silicone molds, push pop fidget toys help soothe stress and anxiety one pop at a time.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Little Lab regularly tests the latest and greatest when it comes to the best toys for kids. Our Lab experts road tested pop fidget toys from best-selling brands firsthand to find the top ones based on reviews and fun factor. Here are the best pop fidget toys of 2021:
- Best Overall Pop Fidget Toy: Chuckle & Roar Pop It! Fidget Toy and Sensory Game
- Best Value Pop Fidget Toy: FPXNB Two-Pack Pop Fidget Sensory Toy
- Best Pop Fidget Toy Set: FESCUTY Rainbow Fidget Toy Pack
- Best Pop Fidget Toy for Traveling: Fat Brain Toys Simpl Dimpl
- Best Pop Fidget Toy for Adults: LEBEMPEL Glow In The Dark Bubble Sensory Toy
- Best Pop Fidget Toy Game: ANATYU Jumbo Push Pop Fidget Toy
- Best Pop Fidget Toy for Anxiety: LASMEX Unicorn and Pineapple Fidget Toy Pack
- Best Pop Fidget Toy Bracelet: Ohziy Rotatable Stress Relief Fidget Bracelet Pack
- Best Pop Fidget Toy for Gifting: LAVONE Baby Yoda Fidget Toy
- Best Durable Pop Fidget Toy: Claire's Super Pop Controller Fidget Toy
What is a pop fidget toy?
Pop fidget toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes but most typically as circular silicone molds that are both low maintenance to clean, easy to carry and are satisfyingly fun. They offer a mindless activity that helps reduce anxiety in a similar way to other fidget toys, says toy expert, Amanda Gummer, Ph.D. "Children with autism find the repetitive action reassuring and calming," she adds. "They can be a great way for any child to calm down or get rid of those wriggles."
A fascination for fidget toys certainly spun into the mainstream in recent years, but people have long used sensory gadgets to help children with attention-deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism concentrate. Some occupational therapists use pop fidget toys for kids with sensory needs who seek input on their fingers to transition into a calm, alert state.
Rigel Lagumbay, OTRL, an occupational therapist in New York, gives her pediatric patients pop fidget toys to increase their attention span and focus for activities. "I use them as a pre-activity before I give my patients their assigned tasks," she says. But these fun toys aren't just for kids who are nervous or have high anxiety levels: "Anyone (kids and adults alike) can use pop fidget toys as a stress reliever."
What is the most popular pop fidget toy?
As the first to claim the original pop fidget toy title, Chuckle & Roar's Pop It! landed in our top recommended fidget toys that soothe anxiety. Its popularity has encouraged a bout of iterations from other brands. Though you can't go wrong with most, ideally, Gunner recommends buying from a reputable company or finding one with a toy safety symbol such as the Kitemark or the Lion Mark, which ensures each toy meets high quality and safety standards.