Fidget toys are a current trend. Ask any kid and they’ll be able to tell you all about slime, putty, kinetic sand, fidget spinners and numerous other fidget toys. It’s a great time to be a kid. Fidgetting is mainstream! Fidgetting is fun! Fidgetting is good!
Here’s a very, very, quick run down on why fidgetting is good for our brains. There’s research around the benefit of fidgetting with tactile objects, not just for children, but also for adults. Neurological research has shown that fidgetting and manipulating a moveable small object is a way to regulate the body’s nervous system. Rather than distracting the person fidgetting with their toy or other fidget, by integrating in this tactile way, the part of the brain responsible for processing and integrating sensory information is able to filter the sensory input, actually decreasing distraction, helping calm and aiding concentrate on what is going on in front of them. Of course we’re not all the same. Some people need more sensory input to regulate their nervous system. What works for one person, doesn’t for another. We don’t outgrow the need to regulate our nervous system. A child who benefits from fidgetting to regulate their nervous system will likely be an adult who also benefits from fidgetting to regulate their nervous system. The autistic community understand this to be stimming but it’s not just autistic people who fiddle or stim to calm or alert their sensory system.
The trend in current toys means kids of all kinds get to legitimately play for hours with all the cool fun stuff, while their brains are secretly regulating, adults shouldn’t feel left out. There are actually lots of fidget toys out there specifically targetting adults. They look ‘more grown up’ but what’s wrong with having a small tin of putty in your handbag or a fidget cube in your pocket. Invariably, people make their own fidgets anyway. Clicking a pen, unwinding a paper clip, doodling on a pad with a pen, flicking a rubber band, tapping a knee, twiddling thumbs, squeezing a stress ball, drumming fingers on a table, fiddling with a ring or watch or any number of fidgetting actions. Take a few moments this week when you’re in a group of people to notice the fidgetters around you.
It strikes me that if fidgetting helps concentration and focus for large numbers of people, that this fits in very well with my thoughts on experiential prayer. By deliberately touching and manipulating objects, not only does it help bring a sense of calmness, it also focusses concentration on the prayer. While this style of praying doesn’t work for everyone, and could even be considered a bit of a gimmick by those who prefer stillness there are others who will find this way to pray brings them closer to God than a words based prayer.
One of our young grandaughters has joined with a couple of friends and started a small slime making business. They sell only to their friends through their closed Instagram accounts. They make their own slime (google it if you want to try making it – it’s super easy) and then they make videos of the slime. She’ll spend hours making slime, playing with slime and watching videos of other people playing with slime. I asked her to make me a video for this blog post because I thought it was a great way of illustrating a fiddle and introducing an experiential, tactile, multi-sensory, fidget prayer.
Fidget with your slime. Pull it into long strands, twist it and turn it and fold it back on itself, push your fingers into it, squeeze it and squelch it, get absorbed in playing with the slime. As you put your energy into moving the slime, pray about your stresses and concerns in your own life. Give your needs to God. Talk about things that are bothering you, that aren’t working out, that need some God input. Notice the changes in the slime as you work it. Ask God to be at work in your life, making you more open and malleable to God’s involvement and promptings.
5 Senses to Prayer © Caroline Bindon 2018 (Sense of Touch – Adoration and Praise (SP.T.1)
5 Senses to Prayer Virtual Prayer Room
Our new resource, 5 Senses to Prayer Virtual Prayer Room is now available for purchase. It’s a subscription resource with monthly or annual subscriptions. Every week two curated, tactile, experiential prayers are provided via email. Check out 5 Senses to Prayer Virtual Prayer Room and look at a free sample. Subscribe here and either pay via our website or we’ll send you an invoice.
We’ll shortly be publishing our first 5 Senses to Prayer book and introducing a 5 Senses to Prayer Basic Box Kit. Both will be available for purchase from our website.
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