The BEST Fidgets for Surviving Amusement Parks with Kids



Amusement Parks – Bombarding The Senses

Our family LOVES to go to amusement parks. We are a foster turned adoptive family that is always looking for an experience that will bring our family closer together. After all, we have an obvious disadvantage – we haven’t all known each other since the kids were born.

However, the issue that many families experience is the fatigue that comes along when all of your senses are being bombarded. Now let’s throw in sensory processing issues that have born out of trauma. It’s almost like planning to run a marathon with the general populous but you have a broken leg.

I have had it explained to me best that going through life with sensory processing issues is like walking through the center of a crowded midway at a carnival.

  • Loud Noises
    There is theme music blaring, throngs of people talking all at once, and various other sound effects
  • Visual Overload
    Bright colors are everywhere. People are moving all over the place. There are flashing lights, puffs of smoke and so on.
  • Odd Touches
    Did we already mention the crowds of people? They’re constantly bumping into you. There could also be extreme heat outside and then into cold air conditioning in buildings.
  • Balance
    Roller coasters, 3-D or 4-D rides and so on are all designed to take us on adventures where we are spun, twirled and turned around. If you’re a foster-adoptive child that has trouble with balance or know where you are in space, these sensations are downright scary.

Fidgets to Help Foster-Adoptive Kids

We have witnessed first-hand that when the senses are overloaded that kiddos can either deflate or get more ramped up. Fidgets have the ability for people to transfer that nervous energy and get it out of themselves. We tested out four fidgets from Office Playground. Let’s see how they tested.

  1. Wooden Fidget Puzzle
    The Wooden Fidget Puzzle was quite fantastic for keeping kiddos entertained and calm while waiting in lines for rides. Our kids had a great time forming shapes out of the blocks. This fidget was very mobile and easy to fit into a pocket before getting on a ride. Since the blocks were made of wood, it made the puzzle very durable. As a parent, I gave it an “A” and my kids gave it an “A” also.

Find it on Amazon:

2. Hairy Tangle
hairy-tangle-puzzle-foster-kidsThe Hairy Tangle was enjoyed by our kids because it was squishy. The kids, however, really wanted to make shapes with the tangle. The tangle is really simply designed to move around and give nervous hands something to do. Again, this fidget was very mobile. We could put it in a pocket before getting on a ride and quickly give it to a child while waiting in line. Two of our children started to have meltdowns in line. We thrust the fidget into their hands and had them talk to us while playing. The fidget really did help the kiddos to calm down before the meltdown when catastrophic. For all these reasons the parents’ score was an “A” but the kids’ score was a “B.”

Find it on Amazon:

3. Octopus Water Stress Ball
The Octopus Water Stress Ball was a great fidget for our kids who weren’t having as much fun with the hairy tangle. The legs of the octopus could be pulled and stretched. The main body could be squeezed. While the ball seemed to be therapeutic for the kiddos, it wasn’t very mobile. We couldn’t take it on some rides with us and had to put it in a ride locker. Lastly, in the duration of a 24 hour period the ball sprung a leak. The kids’ score was an “A.” However, with leaky goo all over my hand, the parents’ score was knocked down to a “C.”

Find it on Amazon:

4. Neon Mesh Squishy Ball
The Neon Mesh Squishy Ball was a kin to the octopus stress ball. It was very therapeutic for our kids. You would do well to watch the YouTube video at the top of this page to see this ball in action. However, like the octopus ball this ball sprung a leak within a 24 hour period. As the fidget above, the kids’ score was an “A” but the parents’ score was a “C.”

Find it on Amazon:

What are ways that you survive amusement parks when your crew has sensory processing issues?


Written by
Co-founder and President of Transfiguring Adoption. Darren is a graduate of Illinois State University where he studied fine art. He offers foster and adoptive parents over a decade of experience in parenting foster and adoptive children, as well as his introductory to counseling training. Darren is the author of the "A Guide to Magical Creatures Around Your Home," book series. [email protected] LinkedIn: Book series:

What do you think?

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  1. For kids who like the squishy feel without all the mess, the Tangle Relax Therapy toys are great! There are different tangles with different textures, too, so there are plenty of options (and they’re pretty inexpensive.) I’m a young adult and I still use one to calm my anxiety sometimes!

    • Autumn, we completely agree. At least three of us at Transfiguring Adoption have admitted that we LOVE playing with the hairy tangle just to calm our nerves. Thanks for chiming in and let us know if you think of any other fidgets we should review.

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