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If you've ever idly doodled or tapped a pen whilst trying to concentrate on something else then you know how it can help focus your mind. That's the idea behind this tangle jr, a fiddle toy, which is designed to be used by children or adults to help them concentrate or to distract from more negative behaviours, or on a basic level just to play with. I bought a tangler for £4.35 a few months ago when I wanted to distract one of my children from pulling on, and pulling out her own hair when anxious or distracted. This kind of toy can also be used by children who have autism or ADHD and is apparently also given out in packs to those trying to stop smoking. The tangle jr is more than just another toy it's instant distraction for the brain and total occupation for restless hands.
What's in the Box?
The actual teaser I have is made up of orange, blue, green and clear plastic- it's latex and lead free. The Tangle is available in lots of different finishes and sizes, ours has some pieces that are smooth and others that are lumpy for lots of tactile stimulation, you can also buy tanglers in hairy, glow in the dark, or shiny finishes and larger sizes. The tangle jr is made up of 18 links which are all 2cm long and a 90 degree curved angle and is just the right size to fit into a bag or pocket - when coiled up it's only about 5cm long. All the pieces of the Tangle jr all fit together and pivot so what you get is a curved, wavy circle that can turn in on itself and be manipulated into various different shapes and curves. There's no beginning or end to the toy - it's easier to understand by picking it up than trying to explain but basically the tangler jr is a toy that is just made to be fiddled with. As soon as you pick it up it's pretty hard to put down, you end up working out how to coil it up or make different shapes - within a couple of minutes of owning it my daughter had worked out how to shape it into glasses - the great thing about this toy is that it's simple and intuitive in equal measures.
Any Good in Practice?
As a distraction aid, in my experience this toy works well. For my daughter it seems to be a real calming item. As the links can be unclipped she often will clip it onto a belt hook for fiddling with in idle moments and she also likes taking it apart and reassembling it in different colour variations or making smaller links with it. The fact that it can be taken apart does mean it's not really suitable for under 3's. It's not a toy that makes any noise or which is complex at all - it is well made for what it is and the plastic seems to be very solid as it's been assembled and taken apart many times, and fiddled with a fair amount with no visible damage so far and, surprisingly no lost links.
I think that the tangler, which I suppose is part puzzle, part game and mainly just unputdownable whoever you are, is an excellent item. We find that my daughter will go through phases of using it and then it may lie unused for days. It's quite a good thing to have ready when we want her to switch off and relax - we plan to buy one for our other daughter to see if it will reduce her thumb sucking. Although neither of my children particularly need this item at school I have also seen it used by a child of secondary school age to help them focus, to good effect - it's quite a discrete and non babyish looking item that could be useful to anyone needing focus or distraction, whatever their age.
Like all the best toys this item is simple, addictive and most of all great fun - highly recommended whatever your age and needs, every home should have one!
For more details here: www.tanglecreations.com