The Importance of Keeping Toys Nearby
You may think that having toys in a box somewhere may be good enough. But, in that moment when I feel the urge to pull but haven’t yet done it, the toys need to be within reach. Otherwise, I might just go for my own hair. I keep some of these toys on my body, on my desk or in a “toy box” next to my desk. The point is for the switch to be easy. I want to feel something tactile and feel it fast. So, keep the toys you do have within easy reach 🙂
Cheap, Fantastic Toys
I’ve bought a lot of different toys I’ve thought would be good over the last 15 years. Some worked out and some didn’t. For me, price has nothing to do with effectiveness either. Seven of the eight toys are from the dollar store. Because every trichster is different (different triggers, different pulling wants and needs), there’s no telling if these toys will perfectly suit your needs. But, there’s no harm in trying, right? With each one costing around $1 U.S., you really don’t have anything to lose, and a lot of potential toys to gain 🙂
Note: I’m using Amazon pictures and links because my dollar store (Daiso in Japan) doesn’t have an online store.
1. Spiral Plastic No-Pull Hair Ties
I swear by these. I wear one on my wrist pretty constantly. The spirals are excellent for running my fingers along. I can also twist them around my fingers or stretch and pull them and they provide just enough tactile engagement for my fingers. When I work at my laptop, I will often play with these hair ties as I think. Sometimes, I’ll even put them in my mouth if I really can’t work something out. The spirals along my lips give a nice sensation. Hilariously, I don’t use these for my hair. Something no one has ever commented on. 🤣
2. Squishy Ball
The squishy balls I prefer either have a liquid (water?) or a play-doh type of material inside of them. Something about squishing them is so satisfying. I use these every day. Of course, because they are from the dollar store and I squeeze the bajeezus out of them daily, they tend to last about one week each before springing a leak. Again, I usually buy a few whenever I go to the dollar store and it seems to work out great. I also love the smooth plastic or rubber outside of the ball. Dragging fingers along that is so nice. Something to note is that I don’t ever buy squishy balls with hard beads inside of them. I worry my dogs may accidentally bite it and choke. Not that I leave them within reach, but dogs work in mysterious ways sometimes.
3. Lego Knock-Offs
I never thought of Lego blocks before until I was in the dollar store. Man! Those raised bits on each brick are amazing! If I want to switch up engagement (if I get bored with the squishy ball or hair band) then I’ll deconstruct whatever I last built with the Lego knock-offs then construct something else. This may seem like such a basic method, but seriously, the bricks are a great width, they have raised and negative space and I can be passive (just stacking them or rolling them in my hand) or active (sorting by color, size or building something specific). My dollar store had a small set which all fit in a Ziplock bag. Right now, I build a throne/shrine for my desk eraser. Sounds lame, but totally works. If in doubt, give Legos or knockoffs a try. If you have kids who already have Legos, then lucky you!
4. Alien Fidget Spinner
As mentioned in my trichster toolbox school supply edition post, I do have a fidget spinner. Much like my initial aversion to Birkenstocks and leggings, I was slowly won over after trying them and realizing people were probably onto something. I bought the spinner from a random shop after liking the alien design and the heavy weight of the spinner. Now, I really love it. I usually keep it in my purse. It is smooth and the spinning is nice both to make and also watch. There are so many out there, but I haven’t yet broken my alien one so I haven’t got another. Do any of you have spinners you love? I’ve seen some pretty cool designs out there. I wonder which ones are best?
Good old slime. Mine is green. I can’t use it when writing, obviously. But, I do use it when I watch videos, movies or TV shows. I love the way it works. If I let it sit on my fingers it will gloop down. If I pull it apart it will break then form back together. Everything about it is extremely satisfying. The best thing of all, perhaps, is that I don’t want it to get dirty. So I use my toy box (the size of a shoe box) lid and make sure never to place it anywhere else. This means that I do not put my hands anywhere else when playing with it (dog hair would get all over it if I touched the couch/my clothes/anything). Slime is the PERFECT toy for any TV watching because it keeps your hands 100% engaged.
6. Spiky Flash Ball
Picture a hollow pink rubber ball the size of a clementine. Inside is flasher activates with any impact like bouncing. On the outside are semi-hard rubber spikes. Now, the whole ball is pretty hard so you can’t squishy it or pull the spikes. However, I will usually run my palms along it for that scratchy spiky stimulation. Also, I like to throw it lightly against the wall or desk while I’m thinking. If I do it hard enough, it flashes neon colors. It also lets out a chew-toy squeak if you squeeze it hard enough. Which has nothing to do with trich, but freaks my dogs out, which is an added bonus.
I don’t know what it is about my slinky. It’s the standard circle model, although I’ve seen stars and hearts, too. It’s also rainbow colored. Pretty much, it is just nice to play with and look at. I think the fact that you can contract or expand the ridges makes it interesting to touch. This is one I usually grab if I’m feel tired. I like the rainbow effect. Who doesn’t?
8. Rubik’s Cube
This is a knockoff from the dollar store. As everyone knows, the goal is to move the pieces so that the colors on each side match up. It is a great way to keep the fingers busy. You also need both hands, which is ideal. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel a lot of anxiety about messing up the perfect sides SO I only every twist a few times then twist it back to “perfect.” While I’ve been told this is “not how you play with a Rubik’s cube,” I can assure you that it works great for me. I get so nervous about forgetting the order to get it back to perfect that I quite forget to think about my hair. Not sure if using my quirk (perfectionism? OCD? Idk I just like things to be in their right place lol) to sideline my pulling is the best route, but hey it works for me and doesn’t hurt anybody. So, try my way if you have similar quirks as me. If you don’t, twist the cube to your heart’s content!
What Are Your Favorite Toys?
Do you have some favorite go-to toys? Please let me know down below! The more toys that everyone can use to divert urges, the better! If you’re looking for more things to keep your fingers busy, consider checking out 10 school supplies to keep your fingers busy. If you’d like more trichy resources, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. As always, thanks so much for reading and take care. xx Rexie
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