To start, what is a “skill toy”?
A skill or Flow toy is a form of “object manipulation” that comes in many forms but more commonly in the way of Yoyos, pen spinning, and those flaming (or non flaming) balls on string (poi) that you see at festivals. The idea is so manipulate an often simple object to make it look fancy and give the illusion of much more, or of magic.
How can they help?
Other then looking cool or being a great conversation starter, skill toys also help to improve a lot more of yourself. I’m no doctor, so I won’t go super fancy into it. The most noticeable advantages found are: - muscle training and build up - increased dexterity - eases anxiety and depression - relationship building as apart of the associated communities. To extend on the first two points, the repetitive movements required to perform the tricks are actually exercising the muscles and joints connected. While your not going to become a body builder, this training/exercising is actually really great for people with associated conditions with that area, and have be known to help promote healing and blood circulation in those areas.
Can they really help...
This is personal for me both as a maker of skill toys but as a user too.. I have anxiety and depression issues, along with a mild Autism and OCD, wich when they all “come to the party” can be an unpleasant experience for me. I’m also a chronic fidgeter and was looking for something new to occupy my fingers, that when I seen mention of a thing called “begleri” which I thought looked cool but probably too hard for me to learn. That’s when I read a post in a EDC (every day carry) forum that said it helped with his carple tunnel in his wrist, so with the starts of it myself I gave it a try.... obviously I wasn’t very good to start off but within a few days I had noticed that it had in fact help release the pain! It’s been almost 2 years now and I’m happy to say that I don’t get those pains anymore thanks the the build up of muscles (and added finger dexterity), but if I don’t “sling” my begleri or use my knuckle roller for longer then 1-2 days I notice the pain does start to comeback.
What would you suggest? Sounds good, but I’m not good at that kind of thing
There are a lot of different skill toys out there, and I have tried learning a few and am making slow progress. What I do suggest is two toys that have helped me Knuckle Rollers & Begleri These two have an easy learning curve, especially the roller which you can almost master in a few days. They are also small/discreet enough to be carried with you every day and can be used where ever you are, to have fun or even something like waste time waiting for a cab.
What is a “knuckle Roller”?
A knuckle roller is similar to what a lot of people do with their pens, drum sticks or even coins, it’s simply passing the roller from finger to finger. This up and down the hand is referred to as a trick called a “ladder” and can easily be learned in 5-10 mins, and when learned is one of the best ways to promote muscles/ dexterity training aswell as blood flow. Once you have master that there are a bunch of other cool tricks you can learn to then branch of intro the skill toy side of them. Generally a roller is about 60mm long with wide points at each end for weight and a tapering fun curve in the centre to allow fo easy finger placement. There are a few companies making them now, and you can find more information on them in the closed Facebook community “knuckle rollers” were you can find a community of people. The two companies that were the first to realise them was myself with the “Braindeef - TWZTD” and Matt with his “Aroundsquare - Knuckle bone (kbone)”
What is ”Begleri”?
Starting it’s life out centuries ago in Greece as “komboloi” a worry bead similar to the rosary beads, the eventual turned into a straight bitnif cord with bead on it. It then eventually became a new thing in its own called “begleri” were you would have 2 or more beads on a string, ussaly made from stones but also made from wood. Over the years in Greece they have been given to school kids to promote learning, and even Doctors prescribing them for different reasons including as a way to quit smoking. In modern days they have become a skill toy that I have grown to love, and is hands down the nicest community of people you will ever meet. They do take more time to learn some of the tricks, but you can master the basics of the grips, rebounds, slips/passes and wraps in an hour to a week. To learn my first tick I learnt “around the world” and had the basics of it worked out in half an hour, but didn’t master the tick till a few days later. While it is a slower process then the knuckle roller, it is one that once you have the basic ticks learned you can make mix them up to make some great “flows” To find out more information go join the closed Facebook group “begleri enthusiasts hangout” (BEH for short) were you meet great people and find an endless supply of helpful tips in the files section. As for makers, there is an ever growing list of people out there but I myself design/make/sell them through my Etsy shop “Braindeef Studio” also most noticeable for almost single handily making the begleri what they are today, Matt’s company Aroundsquare has a bunch of cool items.
What to know more?
Please explore the groups mentioned and have a look into possibly you next hobby/ love. If you have more questions, please fine hesitate to reach out to me via my shop accounts, as I’m always working :) @Braindeef on Facebook and Instagram Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Shamless shop plug: BraindeefStudio.etsy.com Thanks for reading this all the way through, it really means a lot. Happy slinging - Travis