Fidgeting used to be a problem teachers tried to solve. These days, though, we recognize that you don’t need to be sitting completely still in order to learn, and constructive fidgeting actually helps many people focus. You can certainly buy cool and useful fidget gadgets, but the cost can add up if you want enough for a whole class. That’s why we love these DIY fidgets! Make them yourself, or use them as hands-on class projects for students to make their own. Either way, your students will love them, and so will your wallet.
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1. Wear a zipper bracelet
These DIY fidget zippers also make a fashion statement! Wear them when your hands are busy, and take them off to fidget as needed.
Learn more: Moms & Crafters
2. Combine beads and craft sticks
Wood craft sticks, plastic beads, and pipe cleaners are all cheap when you buy them in bulk. Find a few rolls of pretty washi tape (the dollar store usually has some), and you’re all set to make these easy DIY fidgets!
Learn more: DIY Fidget Sticks/YouTube
3. Lace pony beads into patterns
Kids will enjoy the process of making these colorful “snakes,” personalizing the colors and patterns with cords and multicolor pony beads . Once they’re done, they can use them to fidget to their heart’s content!
Learn more: Super Mom Hacks
4. Mix up a batch of fidget putty
Stress putty combines all the fun of slime with the soothing nature of fidgets. Make your own and store it in small tins for a quiet fidget option for your classroom.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
5. Sew a wearable marble maze
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you’ll love these fidget bracelets! The secret? There’s a built-in marble maze hidden inside. So cool!
Learn more: de Jong Dream House
6. Use old T-shirts to make chair DIY fidgets
One of the best things about fidget bands is that they’re pretty much silent but they are perfect for kids who can’t sit still. Cut up old t-shirts that still have a bit of stretch left to them, braid them together, and sew them into a loop. You can make enough for your entire classroom for pretty much nothing!
Learn more: T-Shirt Chair Fidgets/YouTube
7. Add DIY fidgets to pencils
Learn more: The OT Toolbox
8. Spin some DIY fidgets
Remember when fidget spinners were all the rage? They’ve gone from fad to classroom tool now, but they can be pretty pricey. Fortunately, you can make your own from cardboard and coins.
Learn more: Red Ted Art
9. Raid the toolbox
You’ll need one bolt with two matching nuts for each of these DIY fidgets. Spin one nut onto the bolt about halfway. Then, use hot glue to attach the second nut at the very bottom of the bolt. Now kids can spin the one in the middle when they need to fidget, with no worries about having it come loose and getting lost.
Learn more: You Clever Monkey
10. Fold a paper infinity cube
Infinity cubes are so addictive! With some patience and precision, you can fold one from colorful paper squares. Watch the video and make a few by yourself to get the hang of it. Then try this as a classroom project so kids can make their own.
Learn more: Paper Infinity Cube/YouTube
11. Turn dice into an infinity cube
If you’re looking for an infinity cube that’s a bit more sturdy, try this one! Dice are affordable (they’re a great dollar store item), and they look cool.
Learn more: Dice Infinity Cube/YouTube
12. Make a fidget chain
String beads onto key rings, then turn the rings into a chain. Try hanging one from your water bottle to remind you to drink more often too!
Learn more: Party Through the Air
13. Spin a CD marble top
If you’ve still got a box of old CDs hanging around, use them to make these DIY fidgets with a marble. They might be a little big for kids to use during class, but they’re a nice addition to your calm-down kit or corner.
Learn more: Meaningful Mama
14. Put pony beads on a paperclip
You can make a whole bin of these fidgets for just pennies! All you need are Perler beads and jumbo paperclips.
Learn more: Sensibly Sara
15. Slide beads on a shoelace
DIY fidgets don’t get any easier than this! String colorful beads onto shoelace string, knotted at each end. These also make really fun tools for teaching kids to segment phonemes.
Learn more: Marvelous Multiagers
16. Build a LEGO fidget spinner
Every kid loves the chance to build with LEGOS. Try turning this into a STEM challenge by providing the necessary pieces and asking kids to figure out how to construct one on their own.
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
17. Fidget with some pop tops
Here’s another super easy DIY fidget option. Save pop tops from soda cans and feed them onto a key ring or binder ring. Kids can fidget with one hand while the other is clicking a mouse or flipping pages.
Learn more: STEAMsational
18. Squeeze out some stress
These easy-squeezy DIY fidgets are fun to make and even more fun to play with! Fill balloons with a mixture of baking soda and hair conditioner, then decorate however you like.
Learn more: DIY Stress Balls
What are your favorite classroom fidgets? Come share on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out great ideas for your classroom calm-down kit.