Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys – Friday Fave Gadget

Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys – Friday Fave Gadget

Fidget cubes are all the rage from elementary to high school. What are these things, why do kids love them, why do parents like them and why do teachers HATE them? Let’s break it down with this week’s Friday Fave – Gadget of the Week. 

Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys

Fidget cubes are 6-sided desk toys that will keep your fingers busy. Fidget cubes (or fidget toys) specifically designed for people who can’t keep their fingers still, and whether you’re a clicker, a flicker, a roller or a spinner, the cube has something to satisfy every type of fidgeter. 

fidget cubes fidget toys

Why is are fidget cubes our favorite gadget this week? Fidget toys help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening and as a mom – this is a total win! Another bonus? These toys are CHEAP. Amazon has a great selection – many under $10. 

You aren’t limited to just the cube. Since gaining popularity, there are now spinners and clickers, as well as an array of other fidget toys. These toys help keep the kids’ fingers occupied and moving which is great – especially in a classroom setting. Rather than distracting classmates – the kids can move their fingers and move around the toys or cubes various mechanisms to help them self-regulate their behaviors. (Mom tip – these are great for the car when you don’t want the kids to have technology!

Fidget Cubes and Kids

These are the new stress ball. Fidgeting is something I am guilty of, so of course – I’ve managed to pass down that fidget jean to my children. 

One of our kids has A.D.H.D. (I, myself have this as well) and another child has sensory processing disorder. Fidgeting is something that we just can’t help doing – so focusing the fidgets to a toy does help bring some calm and normalcy to some situations. 

For years, I had a clicker on my keychain. I would use it whenever I needed something to occupy myself with as I worked. The clicker finally clicked one too many times and died. When I noticed the fidget toys becoming popular, I was excited to get my hands on one – also to get these for my kids (especially the 2 who need to move!)

If you have a young children, check out our post – 20 toys to help fine motor skills

Sensory Processing Disorder and Anxiety

Fidget toys come in all forms include fidget spinners

Fidget Spinner – Available at Amazon

Anxiety is another issue that fidget toys can help with. They can help the brain focus on something other than the situation causing anxiety. 

Our child with S.P.D. (sensory processing disorder) has a collection of fidget toys that the teacher has provided when needed in class. Speaking of these toys, let’s look at how they are being used in schools. 

Fidget Cubes in Schools

Each our 4 kids are in school and all have classmates with fidget cubes. It’s so funny to me how these trends happen. Last year, it was bottle flipping. Every single kid was bottle flipping. A few years back, who remembers silly bands? Every year there is something new – so this year, the fidget cube wins fad of the year.

fidget cubes in schools

It’s testing season and kids are required to sit still after they finish and read. Several of my friends’ kids were allowed to bring these toys to class to help pass time, quietly. 

Could fidgets help kids in class? Here is what PJ Media says:

…a 2005 study at the University of Hertfordshire found that “children who fidget with their hands in the class learn more quickly than those who stay still.” Use of “manipulating objects,” researchers said, “is known to activate the brain.” Dr. Karen Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire stated, “Therefore, far from restricting children from moving their hands, if teachers encouraged more fidgeting in the class they might find children actually learn more.”

Why Do We Fidget?

According to Science Focus.

Fidgeting is a response to anxiety or boredom. Anxious fidgeting occurs because the body has elevated levels of stress hormones, which are prepping your muscles for sudden exertion.

More On Fidgeting

ADHD and Fidgeting

From the Boston Globe

Julie Schweitzer is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, where she’s also part of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute.

She has studied ADHD and fidgeting — one recent study of teenagers and pre-teens suggested that fidgeting might improve the cognitive performance of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — but she stops short of calling fidget toys a “treatment.”

fidget cubes fidget toys

Is Fidgeting a Productivity Tool?

Here is what Fast Co Design says….

People deep in thought often have a compulsion to fidget. The action might thwart boredom during intense focus. And these mini mind breaks may even be necessary for people to perform their jobs well

Why We Fidget While We Work

Fast Company looks at why we fidget while we work. 

Do your kids use Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys? If so – have you noticed a difference? Leave a comment!

How your kids can benefit from fidget cubes

2016 Year in Review Free Printable

2016 Year in Review Free Printable

In 2011, I created a Year in Review Printable that was downloaded thousands of times. It’s 2016, let’s update this free Year in Review printable and give it an update with a FAVES twist. 

2016 Year in Review Printable

This New Year’s printable was created with your kid in mind. Download, print this out and let your kids fill out (or fill out for your kids.) This is a fun year-end keepsake. 

When I originally created this in 2011, I filled one out (see below.) 5 years later, I chuckle and a bit of sad reading my answers. My fave pet, Bobo passed away the following year. He was our first baby – a fur baby, but one of our’s. I had just had our fourth child – he is now *cry* FIVE YEARS OLD. Instagram was fairly new – but still love me some Insta! Green is my fave color. Poke the Box (my fave book of the year), I just had the pleasure of seeing Seth Godin speak – he’s a long time favorite author of mine – so not surprised by that answer. Chips and salsa will forever be my fave food. 

Here are the questions to answer about 2016:

  • Name (at the top)
  • Age
  • Favorite song
  • Favorite pet
  • Favorite food
  • Favorite book
  • Favorite color
  • Favorite hobby
  • Favorite memory from 2016
  • Goals for 2017

2016 printable year in review

Don’t forget to fill out one of these 2016 FAVES in Review! You, yes YOU! You won’t regret it! And have your kid fill out one too!

And here is the 2011 year in review that I was chuckling about: 

2011 year in review free printable

2011 Year in Review and New Years Resolution for Kids free printable.  Hey and sometimes when you get a creative inspiration at like 4 in the morning and do a blog post about it, you make mistakes like see the above photo? Chip and dip? REALLY?!

Happy New Year! 2017 will be amazing, it has to be.

COMMENT: What are you looking forward to in 2017?

How Family Meetings Have Helped Our Family Connect

How Family Meetings Have Helped Our Family Connect

We decided a few months ago to test the waters with a family meeting once a week.

Our kids are now 10, 7, 3 and 1. Of course, the toddlers don’t really participate, except with the interjections of oh spilling water or throwing crackers. The older kids are getting to an age where so much is going on, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Add in new chores and allowance – we thought it was a good idea to all come together, with a focus on our family once a week to figure out the “state of our family”.

family meetings

My husband is a programmer and does agile programming. He could explain it better and it’s way too complex to go into here, it gives me a headache but the basis-is is that you adapt as you go. I have used the idea of it with a previous team I ran, and after watching Agile Programming for Families TED talk – decided this is how we would run our family meetings. Geeky? Why yes – have you met us?  Psst.. it works. Keep reading….

So here’s the run down. The basis is we’re really trying to encourage the kids to participate. We tell the what – and they are to figure out the how. This is how we run the family meetings. Everyone gets a say, we try to keep the love and peace and kill blame as we’re in resolution mode during this time.

Family Meeting Agenda – Free Printable Template

how to have a family meeting

I told you we were geeks. Yes, I have made a family meeting agenda template to help with the flow of the meetings. I have a handy dandy (and adorable) clipboard that hangs where everyone can see the notes from the meeting. BONUS: the family meeting agenda template has a calendar for the week on it so everyone knows whats up.  No excuses people, it’s on the wall.

Download The Template

The Good

We start with the positive.

What was good this week. Everyone has a turn and no topic is off limits.  One week we had a comment “Izaiah peed in the potty!” yes, that is a HUGE good. Sean and I use our positives for the kids’ behavior with chores and each other.

Needs Improvement

After talking about the good, we talk about what needs improvement – the stuff that didn’t work so well or stuff that we need to address. In our house, frequent “Needs Improvements” in our family meeting include LAUNDRY (kill me, please), fighting, sneaking on the computer, staying up all night…. You get the drift.

After everything has been addressed that needs improvement we encourage the kids to tell us how they want to improve these items. They’ve come up with some pretty creative ideas and again – we are empowering them with the responsibility to make decisions and have a voice.

What’s Going On This Week

4 kids, our lives are insane. While yes, we use Google calendar – there ALWAYS is SOMETHING, okay a lot that is missed. And what better time to lay out everyone’s plans for the week than during the family meeting!


Here is where I keep action items. These are primarily things for me and the husband – because we too take part in the discussion. Like this week, we need our a/c tuned-up and also need our daughter’s shower fixed. This family meeting thing keeps us ALL in check, my husband, and self-included.

Sunday is Family Meeting Day

We have designated Sundays as family meeting days, though several weeks it’s been Tuesday or Wednesday because I’m so not consistent and crap happens.  Sunday works well for us, we do it right after dinner and before getting ready for the week ahead. We also give out allowances at this time as well, so the kids look forward to the meeting.

Family Connection

While I adore my kids, with 4 – and working from home, my head gets clogged with the chaos. My kids love family meeting time (and remind us oh so nicely anytime we slack and forget). The time together gives us some downtime to really think about the direction of where we are going.  Plus, this is a great introduction to real life.

Meetings are a must in the corporate world. Decision making is a must, well every day. Teaching these things along with the plethora of other skills these family meetings teach will help our kids flourish.

I always hate to think about it, as these kids are my babies… but my job is to raise each to be good people who can survive and succeed in the real world.

Make sure to watch Bruce Feiler’s Ted video on Agile Programming for Families – it was a huge AW-HA for us. While we don’t run our meetings exactly like he runs his family meetings, we make it work for us. Isn’t that the secret to parenting? Take an idea, adapt and make it work for you. Wait – isn’t that anything in life.

Do You Run Meetings With Your Family?

Massive Lego Spill Stops Traffic

Massive Lego Spill Stops Traffic

My kids absolutely love Legos, but I do have to say — every time I see their lego creations, I can’t help but think of the pain those things cause to my poor bare feet. It’s inevitable. They love these plastic toys so much and it keeps them quiet for hours. I’ll keep enduring the pain from their lego spills, I just wish the Dyson sucked them up! Wouldn’t that be fabulous? Hello Dyson, did you hear that fabulous idea??

Well, here is one story that could definitely use a Dyson that picked up legos —- a vehicle was going down the Interstate 79 in Harrison County, West Virginia with a collection of Legos strapped to it’s rooftop. Low and behold the Legos come undone causing a massive Lego mess all over the interstate.

Lego Spill Stops Traffic

legos on highway

The first indication of trouble appeared on the North Central and Central WV Working Fires Facebook page early Sunday evening, noting reports of LEGO blocks stopping up traffic, and — tongue apparently in cheek — that a fire engine was on scene with area police “trying to make a traffic arrow with the blocks.”

Another report from local Fox affiliate WDTV noted that “Around 5:15 Sunday afternoon, there was a roadway obstruction of LEGO blocks on I-79 around mile marker 117 in Harrison County” and that traffic had dropped to one lane “until crews could clean up the mess.” One commenter on the WDTV report joked:

“I saw this happen. A giant lego man was driving a car made out of legos, lost control, hit the guardrail, and exploded into a thousand pieces. Investigators are trying to reconstruct the scene, and the car.”

By Monday evening, the mother of the child whose LEGOs apparently caused the crisis had arrived to sort things out, writing on the same Facebook page that the LEGOs belonged to her 11-year-old son, that they’d been in tote bags strapped to the top of her SUV and that they went flying when those straps came loose. “[He] cried it seemed like forever but I tried to recover as many as I could cause I don’t have the money to buy him anymore,” she wrote.

In a heartwarming followup, several passersby on Facebook have since reached out to the mother, offering to send along their LEGOs to help her son “rebuild his collection.”

My kids would be screaming for me to pull over, after I pulled over I’m sure they would be grabbing these Legos, like I would if it were money!

5 Ways to Teach Your Child Unconditional Love

5 Ways to Teach Your Child Unconditional Love

unconditional love

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE : affection with no limits or conditions; complete love

I am not a perfect parent. I fail miserably each and everyday. While this job is hard and emotional, it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

playing in the toilet

Do your kids love playing in the toilet or is just mine??? #GROSS

My kids, they aren’t perfect either. They make mistakes and mess up our house each and every day. Each morning I have no idea what chaos the day holds. Each night, I thank God for making it through the day. While my day maybe crazy and my parenting imperfect, there is ONE thing I want them to always know.

Your parents and God love you unconditionally. No matter what you do, what you say, how you act, or how many times a day you play in the toilet (dear God, please let this phase STOP!) – we love you.

My goal is for our kids to grow up, and leave this house and to know how to live unconditionally. There are so many broken people in this world *RAISING HAND* and if everyone just knew this type of love, imagine how wonderful this world would be. Unfortunately, everyone knowing this is too big of an idea – but I have 4 kids and that’s my goal – love unconditionally. While our method maybe just for us, I thought I would share it. It’s something I am passionate about in my parenting. (more…)