I’ve frequently found myself holding some sort of desk toy during a large part of my working days for many years. For a long time I used a squishy toy of some sort or other. That all changed when I saw a Kickstarter for the Fidget Cube from Antsy Labs. This has become my go-to desk toy because it provides 6 different experiences for my busy fingers. I can’t imagine sitting at my desk without a Fidget Cube!
This can go one of two ways: very simple (i.e. touching something with my hands while I work or think helps me be more productive) or scientific (i.e. studies show that engaging multiple senses helps to subconsciously assist the thought process, or whatever). I’ve always been somewhere in between these. I like touching something while I work, but I can also imagine some scientific evidence backs up the reasons that make me like this.
As it turns out, there’s a learning style called Kinesthetic learning (or tactile learning) that takes place when students perform physical activities in association with learning. While this can involve whole body movement, it can also involve just hands or fingers. I became very familiar with this concept as a singer in choirs. The most successful choir directors find ways to engage the singers’ bodies to reinforce musical concepts. In my experience, this makes a huge difference.
I think my desk toy experience started with a stress ball given to me by a friendly Human Resources person many years ago. As I would stop typing to think for a bit, I found myself reaching for this toy.
The Original Fidget Cube
Sometime in the fall of 2016 I saw a Kickstarter campaign for Fidget Cube from Antsy Labs. I was blown away and knew that I must have this!
Yeah, there are multiple colors and styles. While it’s cute, the colors don’t really matter for the way the product feels or works. Granted, some of the newer designs – featuring Marvel characters – will undoubtedly feel very different from the original.
I’ve also seen quite a few knockoffs. I have not used any of these and therefore can not vouch for their quality. They appear to be very similar to the original, but with some slight variations to the types of activities and quality. For the price ballpark we’re talking here (less than $10), it’s probably no big deal to buy a knock off if you think you’ll like it. You can always buy one of the real ones if it doesn’t hold up or doesn’t satisfy.
There are 6 separate “activities” included with the cube (one per side, in case you happen to be unfamiliar with the number of sides on a cube):
- Click – 5 buttons you can click; two are silent and 3 make a clicky noise
- Flip – a switch that rocks back and forth (very similar to a light switch)
- Roll – a clickable metal ball you can roll around and 3 tactile gears that turn
- Glide – a spring-loaded joystick that glides smoothly across the surface
- Spin – a rotating dial with a raised dot that allows you to control it with your thumb
- Breathe – a smooth place you can either rest or rub
Additionally, Antsy Labs sells a rubber wrapper called Prism. This allows you to carry your Fidget Cube on a key chain, but I like it because it gives the cube a bit more girth and weight. (Truth be told, I have two Fidget Cubes – one with the Prism and one without.)
I ALWAYS have my Fidget Cube(s) nearby while I’m working. Anyone reading this who has worked with me or seen me on a video call can verify this. It honestly helps me think more clearly and work more productively. I’ve seen these for sale on Amazon and at Target, in addition to purchasing directly from Antsy Labs. Just buy one – it could really make your productivity blossom!