They’re all the rage and if your kid doesn’t have one by now, they’ve at least begged for one.
Fidget spinners have caused a colossal tidal wave among children worldwide. Catherine Hettinger, the inventor of the globe’s most sought-after toy actually created the gadget 20 years ago. Why it’s spreading like wild fire now can only be explained by the same phenomenon that made Furbies and Beanie Babies so popular. Who knows why, but kids love ‘em and they bring their fidget spinners to school every day.
This is causing quite the disruption in classrooms, as you can imagine. What was meant as a therapy tool for the anxious, now fidget spinners are whipping and zooming during reading lessons and math exercises. Some classrooms have outlawed them already.
But that leads to the question of are these spinning toys distraction or therapy?
Distraction or Therapy?
By design, fidget spinners rely on equal weight distribution of ball bearings rotating around a central axis. They’re actually pretty cool. When my six-year-old son first bought one with his own chore money, I thought, “Well that’s stupid.” And then I spun it between my finger and my thumb…and spun it again and again. In a matter of seconds, I was hooked.
And it’s no wonder, fidget spinners are handy little aides for children and individuals suffering from all types of disorders. Fidget spinners are used in therapy to help those with autism, anxiety, and ADHD. The momentum of the toy provides sensory feedback and stimulation that is soothing to kids with developmental challenges.
In the classroom, a fidget spinner can help a hyperactive child focus. It can curb an anxiety attack and provide helpful stimulation for kids with autism. The problem is, everyone is bringing a fidget spinner to class, not just the children who need them. This causes lots of distractions and a heap of unhappy educators.
To Ban or Not to Ban
So should all fidget spinners be banned from schools? No one wants their child’s education being disrupted or worse, thwarted. It is annoying to think that your child can’t concentrate on his long division because the kid next to him is spinning a toy uncontrollably.
But what about the kids who really need them? If there’s a way to weed out the ones who don’t need them from the ones who truly could benefit from having a fidget spinner handy, great. As a mom of four, I can foresee many That’s not fairs! And as a former teacher, I know what a frustrating pill that is to swallow.
Bottom line: if you think your child could sincerely benefit from a fidget spinner, advocate for her. But if it’s about entertainment, save the fidget spinner for recess, or better yet—leave it home.
Fidget spinners are what long car rides and lengthy doctor’s visits were made for, I say.
Sources: “Fidget Spinners: What They Are, How They Work and Why the Controversy.” Live Science. 19 May 2017.
Brunstein, Joshua. “How the fidget spinner origin story spun out of control.” Chicago Tribune. 15 May 2017.
Fidget spinner photo credit: Amazon