Why do children love to play with slime, putty, fidget spinners and push pop bubble toys? Well, it’s super fun of course, but did you know there are also health benefits to all the squishing and popping? Here are some ways in which playing, popping, and smushing can decrease the worry and improve the happy!
- Playing with sensory toys (such as slime) helps children focus on that activity rather than whatever worries are on their minds. The tactile sensation of feeling the toy in their hands (or slime move through their fingers) creates a temporary distraction. This helps them to be in the moment rather than thinking ahead and focusing on the worries!
- Fidget toys are stimulating, so the physical act of squishing them becomes an immersive experience that puts children in a state of flow - the mental state where someone is fully engaged and focused on an activity. When children are in flow, they are more open to changing the way they think, which provides an opportunity for a new perspective.
- Playing with fidget toys can also provide neurological benefits, such as releasing endorphins - our body’s natural sedatives, pain relievers, and mood boosters.
- The squeezing action allows the child’s hands to contract and relax, and repeating this calming action releases any tension in the muscles and stimulates nerves connected to the brain.
- The physical action of squeezing, stretching, folding, or poking fidget toys creates a popping or slurping noise that can cause even more relaxation!
It is not a coincidence that the rise of slime, pop fidget toys, and putty has coincided with the amount of stress in the world. Providing some simple ways to feel more relaxed and calm sets the scene so children can smile more and worry less!