What Toys Are Good for Anxiety at School?

Starting school or returning after a long break can cause anxiety for many kids. The new environment, schedule, expectations, and social situations can feel overwhelming. Having a comforting toy from home can help ease some of that anxiety during the school day. Here are some of the best toys for reducing anxiety at school.

Fidget Toys

Fidget toys are small, portable toys that kids can play with in their hands. The act of fidgeting helps release nervous energy and can calm anxiety. Popular fidget toys include fidget spinners, Pop Its (silicone bubbles you pop in and out), and various squishy/stretchy sensory toys. Look for toys with textures and materials your child finds soothing. Fidget keychain toys can attach to backpacks for easy access at school.

Comfort Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals or “lovies” can be a calming companion for school. They are soft and cuddly, providing tactile soothing when a child gets anxious. Knowing their special stuffed animal is with them at school can help kids feel secure. Look for a small sized stuffed animal that can fit easily in a backpack without crowding out other items. Having the stuffed animal readily accessible during stressful situations, like lunch or recess, can be comforting. Some schools may only allow stuffed animals to stay in backpacks rather than be held during class.

Worry Stones

Worry stones are smooth-feeling palm stones that provide sensory calm as kids rub and handle them. Their smoothness offers a soothing feeling that helps decrease anxiety. Worry stones are very portable and can be carried in a pocket or backpack for quick access when needed. They do not make noise or cause distractions that could be problematic in a classroom setting. Look for worry stones made of materials like quartz, marble, jade, or other polished stones. Remind kids they can handle their worry stone when they feel anxious at school.

Fidget Cubes

Fidget cubes have multiple sensory sides that appeal to various fidgeting needs. Different buttons, dials, switches, and textures give anxious hands lots to interact with. Fidget cubes are small enough to fit in a pocket where their many sides and features can be accessed to help calm nerves. They have the advantage of keeping hands occupied without making noise. Since some sides like the clicky buttons may make noise, kids will need to learn which sides are appropriate during quiet classroom times. Overall, fidget cubes are one of the most versatile anxiety-calming toys for school.

Hard Fidget Toys

Some kids may find hard, textured fidget toys most satisfying for alleviating anxious energy. Hard fidgets like metal fidget spinners or silicone popper toys provide more resistance and a firmer tactile experience. Hard fidget toys can withstand more forceful handling, which can be ideal for kids who grip or press hard when anxious. Teachers may limit how often hard fidgets can be used if they make excessive noise in class. Having access to the fidget toy at non-instructional times can still be helpful for anxiety relief.

Finding the right comforting toy that can help alleviate a child’s anxiety during school may take some experimentation. Pay attention to the textures, materials, and features your child gravitates toward for sensory soothing. Then look for portable versions that can be easily kept in a pocket or backpack for school. With the right toy at their side, school can feel a little less stressful.