Fidget Spinners are nothing new in this house. In fact one might say that we have enough fidgets in our house to arm an entire fidgeting army. So you can imagine my excitement when I started to see fidgets being used by the neighbor across the street, by the kid in this grocery store, and in almost every classroom in America. But just like any trend that children get excited about (you know slime, Pokemon go, unicorn drinks) for some reason, adults instantaneously freak out, find all of the negatives about the trend, and ruin it for the kids.
This morning alone I saw five different articles about why fidget spinners are ruining our world. One article went so far as to say that fidget spinners are killing America. Are you kidding me? A teeny tiny plastic tool is going to be the demise of America. Is that really our biggest problem that we have right now?
Could they have some valid points? Maybe there really is a valid reason why we should ban fidget Spinners from every school in America.
As a national board certified Early Childhood teacher and a parent that has spent the last five years researching sensory processing, the benefits of sensory play and fidgets, I have to say I’m actually appalled.
I could go on and on and tell you all of the benefits of the newly famous fidget spinner, but you might not listen to me. You see, every time I introduce a fidget, a sensory tool, or a new sensory strategy that could help a kid who struggles with focus, attention, and mind wandering (God forbid their mind wanders and they dream of far-off places where anything is possible) I am always met with the “yeah but” argument. So today I’ve decided to face them head-on.
Here are the top 5 reasons fidget spinners should be banned in every classroom in America…
Number 1: Kids are just using fidget spinners as toys
Seriously, so what if our kids are just using these as toys?
Don’t you get excited every time you get that new gadget? I just got a new Fitbit last night for my birthday and goodness… I can’t stop playing with the thing. I know what’s going to happen when I tap the screen, yet, I’m immediately drawn to it…
Tap, tap, tap… yep, still says the same thing.
30 minutes later… check the app.
30 minutes later… tilt my wrists and watch the light magically turn on.
There’s something magical to getting something new. We want to investigate it. We want to learn about it. We want to figure out it’s ins-and-outs and decipher exactly how it’s going to be useful in our life.
Plus, we just want to have fun.
So if my kid decides his fidget spinner should be spun on his finger, on his nose, or on his toe… I don’t really care. In fact, he just informed me this morning he can spin it on his tongue. What in the world? But honestly, I’m kind of amazed that he can balance this teeny tiny alien shaped thing on every body part possible.
Number 2: Fidget spinners are distracting in the classroom
Yes they are. I am not going to argue that they are not a distraction. I am not going to pretend that if an entire classroom of ten year olds came into my room whirring these teeny tiny things that I wouldn’t want to lose my ever-loving mind.
But, if I remember correctly from my days in the classroom, I was a pretty good teacher. That meant that I had amazing classroom management skills. If we were presented with a problem… let’s say kids using a new tool in an inappropriate way, we would bring it up during our class meeting.
Here’s how this would go down today.
I would say… “Hey you’re being annoying.”
Okay, I wouldn’t say it like that. Let’s start over.
“Hey guys, I noticed lately some of you are using fidget spinners and that is awesome.
Unfortunately, some of you are using them when we shouldn’t, having balancing contests during tests or you’re throwing them at my head while I’m teaching… these are all bad ideas.
So, how can we solve this problem?”
You see, I would give the problem back to the kids and guess what?
The kids would help me come up with a solution. I know they would tell me that we should come up with designated times that the fidget spinners would be available (if this was needed).
They would tell me we need to come up with a class set of rules on how to use this fidget spinners. Things like …
Fidgit Spinners must stay in our pocket.
Fidget Spinners must stay in our hands.
Fidget spinners should not fly across the room.
Amazing, right? If we give kids the chance, they’re actually pretty brilliant.
So can fidget spinners be a distraction?
Can good teachers help their children learn when and when it’s not appropriate to spin their fidget spinner on their nose?
I sure hope so.
Click here to get a high quality fidget spinner from Top Trends (We sold out on Project Sensory)
Number 3: Not all kids need fidget spinners
How do you know?
Seriously! How do you know that every kid in America does not need a fidget?
When you were in school, did you not tap your pencil on your desk? Did you not have kids in your class that leaned back in their chair so far that they fell over and hit their head on the desk behind them? When you’re sitting in your boardroom meetings, do you not have people at the table that are tapping their their feet so much that it shakes the table?
Stop what you’re doing right now.
Look up from your screen.
Look around you. Out of the people that you see… how many of those people are picking their nails? chewing their fingernails? rubbing a piece of clothing? twiddling their hair? chewing bubble gum? or using their hands to talk?
You see, the problem in America is not that all of the sudden kids need to use fidgets to focus.
The problem is that it’s never been recognized before.
Now, let’s talk about those kids that need them (the ones that can’t sit still in the classroom) … the ones that you’re so worried about alienating if you ban fidget spinners or any other tool that the kids suddenly get excited about.
You are going to alienate the kids that you are worried about most. Their constant need to move their hands, fiddle with their fingers, or tap their pink pencil is now the norm. Give them that. They deserve it.
They waited a long time for this.
They get to feel like everybody else and do you really want to take that away from them?
Oh, and don’t worry. The kids that “really” need it won’t care that the trend fades and fidget spinners hit the trash cans across America in a few weeks. Why? Because they need them and they’ve finally found something that helps.
Related: The REAL Reason Why Kids Can’t Sit Still
Number 4: There’s no real evidence that fidget spinners help kids with Autism, ADHD, and other special needs
Are you freaking kidding me ?
How long do we have together today?
How many articles can I link to before you get sick of me linking to the benefits of fidgeting for focus and attention?
Not to mention the numerous articles that I could share that are going to point to the benefits of stimming for kids that have ADHD, autism, or other differently wired brains.
Just a few weeks ago the whole world was up in arms over how deadly slime is, how terribly messy and annoying slime is, and how there can’t possibly be a benefit to this ooey gooey substance that all our kids are infatuated with.
I call BS.
Why do we keep ruining the things that are amazing for our kids?
Why do we keep looking for death and destruction in every teeny tiny little thing?
People always say “Well, when I was a kid there wasn’t so much ADHD, autism, and sensory processing disorder. We just called those kids brats.”
You know what I call those kids… misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and MISSED, completely missed.
We owe it to our kids today that are screaming in our face and telling us that they need things like slime, bouncy seats, balls and fidget spinners in their classroom. Don’t even get me started on why I think they need all of these things. I could go on for hours and hours.
Number 5: Fidget spinners shouldn’t even be needed.
Amen sista! Seriously, I hear your argument that kids need recess. They need to move. They need to wiggle and play and be kids. They need lots of things that we are not giving them in the modern day classroom but that is for a completely different post.
Here’s the thing though, we are not giving kids these things. How many articles have you read about the importance of extended recess, later start times, and more active and engaged learning? Yet, year after year, after year, we add on more and more tests. We put more restraints on the teachers and the students. We add more after-school activities.
And for the kids who are falling behind, we tell them to add more hours of tutoring to their day, come to school a few minutes early to get extra support or practice a little more at home.
Don’t even get me started on the kids who are acting out in class (probably throwing Spinners at their teachers heads). What do we do with these kids? We take away their recess.
I wish I could say that the problem was just recess. I wish I could tell you that if kids played more, jumped more, ran more and were kids more, all of this would go away. But, that would be foolish.
Many kids that need fidgets, bouncy balls, and movement in the classroom are wired differently and when we, as a society, can realize that there are many children and people among us every single day that think and act differently than we do, we won’t care if the new fad is slime or fidget spinners or hacky sacks.
So I guess I am just left with one more question?
Do you still think that we should ban fidget spinners in every school in America? Why or why not?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tell me on Facebook! Since this post is going viral, I will be hopping on my Facebook page later to talk all about the pros and cons of allowing fidgets in schools. Be sure to follow so you can join the conversation.
So many people have asked for resources for teaching and loving fidgety kids, so I have gathered some of my favorite posts about supporting sensory needs in the classroom (and at home) for you:
RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FIDGETING
Sensory Hacks to Focus a Fidgety Child
The REAL Reason Kids Can’t Sit Still
100 Sensory Strategies for the Classroom
How to Introduce Fidgets in the Classroom
The REAL Reason Kids Fidget
How to Teach a Fidgety Child
A Letter to the Teacher From “That Kid” (The Fidgety, Can’t Sit Still, Meltdown Having Kid)
Many people have also mentioned that fidget spinners are too loud, too annoying and just toys. There are tons of other options out there if you are in the mood to try fidgets but want to stay clear of a fad. I plan to write a whole list, but for now here are a few to get you started!
FIDGETS THAT AREN’T ANNOYING
The Fidget Fix (5 awesome fidgets for a super low cost)
DIY Stress Balls
Rubber Bands (Yes, the same rubber bands you keep on your wrists)
Calming Slime (Yes, I’m scared of all the slime haters… but it’s a great tool)
Totally Rad DIY Fidget Spinners
I could seriously go on and on. I have over 100 calm down tools and strategies you can use to help ALL kids focus and feel successful. Take this as a chance to try new things.
Oh, and while you are here. If you are looking for more ways to engage your wiggly kids, provide support for your disorganized kiddo, or simply want to take all the frustration out of your day with your little one and you know a kid with hidden “super powers” … you will want to check out my new book coming out in August, The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day (Awesome Games and Crafts to Master Your Moods, Boost Focus, Hack Mealtimes and Help Grownups Understand Why You Do the Things You Do)!
With over 75 day to day solutions for your kiddos from DIY fidgets to games that teach social skills, it empowers children to help adults understand why they do the things they do. You can pre-order now and send me a receipt to PREORDER at SUPERKIDSGUIDE.COM for a special gift just for you and your Superkid! Psss… It’s gonna be epic!!!
243 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Ban Fidget Spinners from Every Classroom in America”
I’ve had one issue with them, kids were playing with them during a lesson. I asked them to put it away during class. They did, end of story. Honestly, I didn’t see them again. I really don’t see the problem.
Sounds like you have a class that respects you and understands your boundaries. Thank you for allowing them.
I have no problem with them. Really they are no different than a student with a empty water bottle trying to distract the class (tapping it, sqeezing it, slurping.you get the visual. ) I substituted and ran into them (fidget spinners). I am now a retired teacher (24 years in the field) The kids asked if they could have the fidgets in class. Not knowing the teacher’s policy, I said “As long as they don’t interfer with our learning.” The students get it. Yes, at the end of the day one flew by a desk. So, that one ended up on my desk until dismissal. I have two special education degrees, so I see why they are used. I always let kids doodle if they would get the work done. Yes, adults do the same thing at a staff meeting or inservice-we doodle and yes even pass notes or worse yet text co-workers. I guess it’s a “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” The fad will wear off.
Wow, I wish my gifted ADD child had you in second grade when the teacher told me, ” It’s not my job to keep your child engaged, medicate her!” She hated meds made he feel like a zombie. But point was I thought keeping child engaged was teaching. The school therapist from first grade stated to put her back on task all you had to do was walk by and tap her desk. Was that really asking too much?
I am so sorry this was your experience!
What is the difference between a teacher who says no fidget spinner in my classroom vs one who says keep it in your pocket until it’s appropriate to use? The first is being cast as unable to manage a classroom while the second is managing appropriately . But to me they seem the same thing.
They are not. A teacher who feels in competition with the students and the spinner will feel the need to banish them in order to have control over the class. The teacher who can allow the spinners along with some guidelines is confident in her abilities to manage her students and knows that there is no competition because she has earned the respect of the students. Its about the way a teacher approaches the students and treats them in general. A good teacher doesn’t need to ban them to have control over them.
Many kids today have no respect despite a teacher’s management skills. Classrooms are over crowded, teachers have no assistants to help, and school systems have removed any power to discipline the kids. Under these circumstances, to place blame of unruly kids onto the teacher is disrespectful in itself. Every teacher should have the ability to choose whether to ban or pocket spinners based on those kids, in that class, at that time- period. To permit a blanket statement /rule- insinuates every student is a clone –
At what point do we highlight the real problem with kids today- the parents
Kids today are no different than they ever were, and parents today are no worse than you were or your parents or their parents. The world may be different, but it’s different for every generation, which is why in every generation you get people like the author of this article, who was a good teacher exactly because he understands that in today’s world we have more knowledge and resources than in the past, and that we can use those to help every kid learn, whereas in the past they would have been labeled troubled, or special needs, and punished or segregated from the rest of the “normal kids”, thereby teaching them alienation and resentment instead of nurturing. And that’s why every generation has the people who lack the insight or empathy to make that call and therefore are the ones you see complaining about “kids these days” and “parents these days”.
News flash – your generation had their head shakers who complained about “kids these days” too, probably because they outlawed beating kids with a ruler or something. People who don’t see the progress that has been made. And those types of people will still be saying “kids these days” in 2354, when kids all go to school in a virtual reality classroom. One constant of human behavior is that there will always be people eager to judge their experiences as superior and their values as better than people younger than them.
I completely agree. I’ve taught middle school for 29 years and have seen a lot. I am respected for my classroom management skills but not everyone is like me. My district has a crisis on hand with poorly behaved students. Surprisingly (to me anyway), most of the teacher complaints came from elementary school teachers.The district formed a committee and implemented the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program but I don’t see any improvement. My district kowtows to parents-many of whom feel entitled.
AMEN!!!!! I get upset at every parent that cant correct their child or commit to NO at times usually theyre given a tech device then the kids draws inward learns nothing of appropriate behavior and the parent is no longer annoyed. THANKS😣 personally i have seen and had my family and children impacted quite negatively by school issued ipads. Porn on the bus for first graders seriously!!!!! Kids sure can swipe a screen but preschoolers today cannot hold a crayon or pencil snd this tidbit of info comes straight from a preschool teacher. Its sad inappropriate use of tech has greater negative consequences for all ages and were teaching our kids that inappropriate use. I believe that trend must be addressed and hopefully soon our future and our kids really do depend on introduction to tech etiquette parents have to be the first students then pass that on to their kids and if someone at the Dept of Ed. gets a clue hopefully theyll realize how missed and how valuable BOOKS are and if its dropped its not ruined nor costs $100’s of dollars to fix.
If knowing the rules were all it took, there would be no office referrals, no bullying, no fighting. Kids already *know* the rules. It’s impulsivity, inattentiveness and other lagging executive functions that get in the way of their ability to self manage. Why in the world would you introduce such a noisy (they’re very noisy) toy into a classroom environment? What about students that don’t own a “fidget” (read: Toy). Does the teacher have to provide one for everyone? By your logic, good schools don’t need to ban weapons to have control over them. Obviously you’ve never taught in a classroom.
Not sure where you are getting yours but they are not noisy, clicking a pen is louder. Ooh so your part of the of one doesn’t have it no one should have it group? Yeah because life is fair right??
Yes!!!you are spot on!! Kids need recess and spinners are not the problem!! I teach a class of ar risk high school kids and i bought spinners for every kid who wanted one!! We kearn how to use them appropriately in class. We learn about the physics behind the spinbers ! We learn how to make spinbers on the3 d printer!! Why are they banned??? Teachers dont know how the brain works!! And dont care to step out of the learning box!!!!
Love Deb’s idea! Step out of your stale boxes!
Well those two things seemed a bit contradictory to me too. After all, isn’t the point that children need to use them to control anxiety and increase focus? What if they’re anxious or unfocused during a lesson, but the class rule is spinners can’t be out during lessons? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? To be e effective shouldn’t the children have access to then when they need them on an individual basis? I have tried using similar things and I have begun by having a class discussion about why they might use such a thing. Usually some children use then and some don’t. What I found, however, is that they made very little student to the attention/ distraction. I still didn’t ban them, however
They are merely a toy. I say this because there are a lot of quiet, non-disruptive items out there that serve the same purpose and have been around forever. If your child really needs something to help focus and alleviate stress then get focus beads or focus stones or fidget sticks, etc.
This is very judgmental to say a good teacher would have control of the class. I teach at a school in a high poverty area. Students do not understand boundaries and many children come to school with very little sleep. 36 children crammed in a broken down classroom look for any reason not to have expectations on them is a completely different store. When a child’s basic needs are not met the behave very different. All schools and classrooms are not the same.
I also taught in a high poverty area. I completely understand that when basic needs are not met that children act out. I still believe that rules can be established no matter the students in your class.
I still fail to see this huge distinction that seems to be a core part of the argument.
It’s ok to discuss fidget spinners as a class, develop guidelines on when it is/isn’t appropriate, and it’s even ok to say “put them away” if a kid has one out. Those teachers are praises.
However if the entire above is summarized as “don’t use it in class” – it’s insinuated and overtly said that it’s a classroom management issue and the problem is the teacher.
As a substitute teacher who works at a district where I am not backed by administration, I hate having them in my class. Just today, I allowed them with the understanding that they not become a problem. 20 minutes later, there was a fist fight over one and a kid got hurt, so they were banished. These were 2nd graders. I had another kid go into withdrawl like symptoms because he didn’t have his. While I agree that in some cases they help students, I can not and I will not agree that kids “need” them.
I call BS on this whole article and replies. Stinks of bought and paid for marketing/advertising that is posing as education. As I am someone who actually works with ADHD kids, it’s not a one time asking to put away and done kind of distraction. On the contrary, it is a new device just like cell phones, Nintendo DS’s, etc.,that a teacher has to take away otherwise the use is non-stop. If it is excused then classrooms with students that want to learn will constantly be involved with the power struggle that goes on with teacher and fidget, gadget users that disrupt classrooms while learning and testing. Can this fidget toy be used as a reward or break? Absolutely. Should it be allowed in the pocket of any and all students to take out at any time during class? No. This fidget toy can become another behavior tic that needs to be modified and considering kids with ADHD already have enough on their place-one why add more distractions? It’s not easy to sit still. I get it. But why create more devices to give them more excuses to not even try? Give them a small stress ball to squeeze that doesn’t make noise or get flashy which just creates more things to stim off of? This article should be titled “5 Reason to Ban Fake News that are Really Ads”
This response makes me laugh. Fake news?
I think Michael meant that the catch phrase about banning them was like click bait. The article was the opposite of banning. Just tell me what it’s really about and I’ll make the decision whether i want to read it instead of being lead down another path. I lost respect as soon as I realized this. There are SOME good points in this article; it’s unfortunate it was presented differently from the get go.
I agree, Fran. The title was very misleading, and as educators, we know better.
For someone who supposedly works with children with ADHD, you obviously have no true understanding nor do you have compassion or desire to find tools and ways to work with them. It is apparent that you’re overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out. Time to find something new to do. This was an informative article. You don’t have to agree with all of it, but to claim “fake news”? You’re reaching and YOU seem to be the problem in your classroom, not your students.
So glad to find your article today – thank you! Especially #4. Reading today about all the chaos surrounding my child’s (much needed) choice of sensory tool was only made worse as I came across article after article saying “baloney! They don’t even work”. Yet NONE of the authors had taken the time to actually interview parents with sensory children to find out the truth.
As far as “should they be banned” I can only say this: if you have a child with a 504/IEP – schedule a meeting ASAP and make sure your child’s plan protects their right to have concentration tools.
Totally agree. I just wish kids didn’t HAVE to have an IEP/504 to get support.
It’s a wide assumption to say that you wish kids didn’t have to have an IEP or 504 to get support. Plenty of students at my school get support who are on neither. We recently hired an additional social worker to support students with breaks and sensory breaks. Our school social worker has friendship groups and one on one counseling for students who need additional support. Most aren’t on IEPs or 504s. We have a mental health therapist who regularly sees students who aren’t on IEPs or 504s. Yes, I have banned fidget spinners in particular from my classroom but many other fidget types of things are allowed. These are not the end all be all. There are plenty of options out there.
Your school sounds amazing. The truth is… not all kids get this service and attention. I agree there are plenty of options. I was simply discussing this one option that seems to be under fire.
Our school has a new process that teachers use all of special education “interventions” with any student that would benefit. We love it. I am a special education teacher and the classroom teachers like it too. Its not too big of a leap to understand we all benefit from these practices not just special education. PS: I bought myself a spinner 🙂 I agree its in the classroom management for all of these “fidgets, alternative seating, sensory breaks and so on”. Again, I use all of these myself, don’t we all in our own way?
You are fortunate to have the funding for that! Our school does not !😢
Your students are incredibly fortunate.
except that these spinners really don’t fall into the category of concentration tool. They are too fun not to be a distraction.
I kindly disagree. Since when can tools that help not be fun too? I could play with theraputty all day long. Should I not use it because it is fun? The difference is that there are school uses and out of school uses. There are “toy” uses and “tool” uses. I can make my math manipulatives into a toy gun and that would be fun, but that is not a “school use” that is a “toy use”. Should we really ban things because they are fun?
ABSOLUTELY! BAN EVERYTHING THAT IS FUN when it comes to learning! That is the KEY to teaching a child that LEARNING cannot be fun! It has to be controlled in a Hitleresque type of environment where the teacher is saluted with the Heil Hitler salute every time they ask a question of the class and it is MANDATORY for them to do so! THEN they shame the one who does not raise his hand in salute by calling on him/her and embarrassing that child in front of the rest of the class. YEA THAT IS HOW YOU DO IT!
My son has the biggest beart. He is 13 years old and spends hours in the public library using their 3D printer to make fidget spinners. He has donates them to different classrooms, and when teachers see a child unable to focus, they are able to hand out this tool. They personally told me what a huge help it is and what an amazing son I have (I could not agree more). He doesn’t do it for money he does it because he sees the need to help children learn and focus that cannot in a ridgid setting or has learning disabilities. He has seen a difference personally when he hands out extras he carries around. He says that his friends stop fidgeting and are able to get out their energy is a controlled, less distracting way and return to focusing on their lesson.
I am proud to say the Administration, along with many teachers, have personally taken interest and applauded his efforts and helpfulness in the middle school. Even the vice principal has a fidget spinner now!
That’s amazing!!!!! You have a sweet son!
Your son sounds amazing, he is going to do great things! (More so than he already has!)
Your son is amazing! Thank you!
As a teacher, I believe in sensory gadgets for all students. That being said, I believe in proper sensory gadgets. I call BS on this article because the author has not taught in a classroom or if he has not for a very long time, and though he may claim to work with sensory processing issues, he does not know enough about how the brain rewires itself and the proper types of sensory gadgets the kids need. The fidget spinners are too fast and for a student who needs to fidget, the spinners make anxiety and impulsivity and all other ADD/ADHD issues worse. The students self-report they are more focused, but in fact, they have triggered an addictive part of their brain that can only stay focused on the spinning and it becomes a need or if you will a “FIX.”
there are better sensory input gadgets for students, ones that help with concentration and focus and do not disrupt or cause aggressive behavior in the classroom.
I am a teacher with 18 years of experience and I absolutely agree with this article. These concentration tools have been a HUGE benefit in my classroom. I have a box of concentration tools available for ANY student in my room, IEP or not. Thank you for advocating for them. I’m not saying they can work in every classroom – I have worked in classrooms where they would absolutely have been misused and abused – but to insinuate that their use should be curtailed in every classroom is an overreach, at best.
Wonderfully written. Give children the means to develop their guidelines for using tools like spinners; open the conversation and give everyone a voice (& validation). Let them be problem solvers!
<3 One of my favorite parts about teaching!
Actually, as a teacher and a homeschool mom, I totally agree with the need for fidget toys. However the fidget spinner is one of the most annoying and distracting ones brought into the classroom. They are other options that are great and much less distracting, still fulfilling their need to fidget. I even saw a video on my FB feed for how to build one out of Legos! They fulfill the need without being a distraction or a “toy” as most of these spinners are being used as. Just my two cents.
I completely see why you are frustrated by it. I have toyed with it quite a bit to figure out what tips I can give to make them less annoying. I hope to write up a printable list of suggested rules or tips for presenting them to the kids and keeping your sanity.
Why not use the spinner during the lessons. For ex: let it sit in the corner of the students desk then spin it and see how many math problems they can do until it stops, or write down how many nouns they can etc. using it as a learning tool for a small period of time might make them excited for the lesson and they also get to use the spinner. Then it gets put away.
This is an awesome idea! I subbed a few days ago and about 90 percent of the students had them! They had them undee desks or in corner of desk they were all attentive i never once had to tell them to put them away! I actually thought students that had them paid attention more! I think they are a great idea! I actually bought one myself
I couldn’t agree more. As a teacher I’m not entirely opposed to fidgets. That said, these are distracting. Plain and simple. Please spend a week in a classroom with some fidget spinners and then write an article. Until then, you don’t have a whole lot of credibility to back you up. 😉
I spent 15 years in the classroom with a million distracting things. Bey blades were the fad when I was in the classroom. While they were not “fidgets” they were BIG deals. We had to set class rules and norms. I would be happy to spend time in a classroom again. But to discredit me because I am not currently in a class is not really fair. I agree they can be distracting. There are many alternatives to these specific fidgets as well. I have been playing with these a lot the last few weeks to share how they can be NOT distracting when used correctly. I will be going live on FB and I would love to hear your thoughts there.
The classroom environment has changed considerably in the past few years. If you have not been in a classroom teaching recently you really are out of the loop.
Wow people are mean hey? Great article!! Thank you!
Do you even know that they make noise? No, probably not. But they do, and as a teacher, they are distracting to me when I’m trying to teach! I don’t lecture much, but when I spend 5 minutes discussing directions at the beginning of class, they are very distracting. Students are very respectful in my class, and they will put them away when asked, but they become just another distraction to the learning environment. I’ve even seen students upset because they don’t have one, or because their fidget isn’t the “right” color.
Maybe spend a week with THESE PARTICULAR DEVICES, and you will understand why they have ben so frustrating to teachers. I’m sure you’re very excited that this post has gone viral, but you’re just causing teachers more stress. Thanks.
I agree. It’s not exactly something to fidget with. It just spins. Which means you have to then watch it spin. I prefer the fidget cubes with 6 different dohickeys on them and they can stay in your pocket.
I completely agree with this! All my kids just bought themselves a spinner. My husband tried one for 20 seconds and asked where his was. He talks on the phone all day (I have his on order, btw). Humans, especially kids, are not meant to sit still for 6-8 hours a day. We’ve taken away recess and PE and as soon as something is popular, it’s banned. Stop letting the few ruin it for the many and just deal with the few. Go spinners! Rant over. 😁
YES!!!! Rant away.
You said kids are not meant to be sitting down for 6-8 hours, but, how spinners will give them that physical activity? they are still sitting down spinning that thing on their fingers
Oh fidget spinners are not god’s gift to kids in the movement department by any means.
From caleb’s Mimi
As a grandmother of a boy with ADHD I feel these are a life saver. He has trouble sitting still and was snapping nuckles and making sounds driving others crazy. With the fidgets he can concentrate on his studies he is very pleasant to Be around and he has even taught his Mom and I how to fidget. Love these
I love your article.
Agree with every word you said.
Would love it to go viral.
Well, I would love for it to go viral too. I think the message is very important! Thanks!
Honestly though the spinner is miss-labeled. It is not a fidget. It is more of a visual stim activity. Very relaxing to watch it spin.
It could used as both. When spinning on a table it is visually calming! BUT when placed in the hand, the center spins, the barings spin, and the smooth texture is like a worry stone. So many ways to soothe and calm!
Depends on how you use it and view it i guess. Mine calms me in a very non visual way. I use it when im having anxiety in crowded places and waiting in lines, im not looking at it, i spin it, in then lower my left hand so I dont feel like im drawing attention to myself. The pressure of holding the middle with two fingers and the motion of the spin with the vibration of the middle of the spinner ,calms me and keeps me from being jittery and jumpy. When using it I can look around at my surroundings instead of staring at the floor just waiting to escape. I use mine more than my non-neurotypical son , but he tends to lean towards more physical calming methods like jumping.
If used for the true purpose for which the fidget spinners were intended for, they are truly wonderful gadgets! Everyone in my household, myself included have multiple spinners and I encourage the use of them! My only issue I have encountered is children not understanding what the main focus of the spinners are and treat them as toys. As all new “fads” children go through this just needs to be explained in terms that they understand as to not abuse the privilege they have been given. Spin away my friends!
I did find you’re article interesting, however working in a middle school in mostly resource room classes I don’t believe these fidgets help the students to focus. In most cases, we are repeating our questions. I was also in a major league ball park Over the weekend and I saw a kid spinning a fidget while watching the ball game. Really? So now kids need help to watch a baseball game as well? I believe more in standing tables, using exercise balls as seats and rolling seats with desks attached to help fidgeting students. I also have a child who had an IEP from 2nd – 11th grade. The less distractions the better. Just my opinion of course. All kids learn differently, these fidgets may help some, but in my opinion it is not as many as you would think.
In response to the baseball game scenario… why do you think peanuts are so popular? It gives you something in your hands to fiddle with, crunch, and squeeze. NO DIFFERENT. Are they for focus in that instance, not really but that doesn’t stop millions of baseball fans from being attracted to that awesome feeling in their hands as they watch the game.
Bottom line unless you are in the classroom NOW…YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND….I am a special education teacher and the kids who are using this FIDGET are students who DONNOT HAVE A CONCENTRATION, LEARNING, EMOTIONAL, OR MENTAL DISABILITY!! They are TOYS coming into the classroom by the hundreds!! It is difficult enough (Especially at the middle school level ) to keep a student engaged. We as teachers TODAY have a good 40 minutes to teach a lesson and cannot waste 5 to 10 minutes telling a student (who will argue with you) to put a FIDGET AWAY!! Now we do allow a FIDGET ball or square to students that have it written in their 504 or IEP to help with anxiety . Again BOTTOM LINE PLEASE DONNOT JUDGE AND SAY IT’S A CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT ISSUE, we as TODAY’S EDUCATORS DEAL WITH SEVERAL ISSUES IN THE CLASSROOM AND FIDGET SHOULDN’T BE ONE OF THEM!
You realize that I left the classroom 3 years ago not the middle ages? You do realize I taught 48 kindergarteners in the inner city? This is not against teachers in any way. At the same time you can’t tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about just because I am not in the classroom RIGHT NOW.
Lol if you are actually a teacher look up the technology curve displayed on a graph…. and try and retort back to this exact statement you just made….. 3 years of new tech has kids less interested in words that don’t move and blank pages in books….. so now many schools are using tablets chained to each desk. TO TRY TO KEEP THEM FOCUSED ON THE RIGHT SUBJECT. Adolescent mannerisms have changed dramatically with the technology curve…. so introducing another bandage over the wound so to speak is not the answer…. introducing something that could potentially draw more attention than you in your classroom…. i would think that would have diminishing returns until the spinner leaves the building….
Kindergarten is not the same as Middle School. So to imply that you are all-knowing in this area is harmful. I repeat, study fMRI reports on addiction. and read up on how to focus one needs to slow the brain down instead of giving it fast instant gratification.
If your special ed students “DONNOT HAVE A CONCENTRATION, LEARNING, EMOTIONAL, OR MENTAL DISABILITY!!” then why are they in your Special Education class? I’m confused.
Personally, I would use something like this at a ball game. I think baseball is as boring as all get out! I end up feeling restless and want to get up after an inning or two. But I go because my husband is a huge fan, and I do like going for the whole experience. My son loves watching baseball with his dad, but he’s also got ADHD and he just can’t make it happily through a whole game without getting up to walk around, get a snack, etc. He was much more engaged during the soccer game we went to, and I was too, because the action is constant. Something to mess with would help a kid stay in his seat without annoying others.
I am a substitute teacher and all the kids have them. I don’t allow them during class instruction time, but if we finish early, I allow them to play with them. Let kids be kids. We had fad toys when we were kids…rubics cube, lip smackers, whatever. I think It is ok
I like the fidget spinners that go on kids pencils. As a teacher, I plan to purchase these for my students next year. I am a clicker, if there is a pen in my hand I am constantly clicking the pen open and close. I think the fidget spinners for pencils would give kids a tool they can use if they need it. I also have 2 nephews with ADHD and believe it or not, I have seen the benefits of the fidget spinners on their concentration. They spin it while doing homework and seem to focus better. Nor sure why but it seems to work. Great post.
Oh now I am off to find those! That sounds awesome!
This sounds exactly like myself….from pen clicker down to the 2 nephews (along with myself & my son) with ADHD. I personally like the fidget cubes a lot more than a spinner for 3 reason…. they go in the palm of your hand, they aren’t visually distracting to others, & each side has a different fidget option.
Are the fidget spinners better than the fidget cubes? Our daughter has ADHD and we try and keep her fidgeting with things since we learned it helps her focus and she does so much better in school. The teachers bought the bands for the desks and fidget cubes for the class. My daughter was telling me about these fidget spinners but I never really looked into them.
They are honestly just different tools for different purposes. I like the fidget cube myself but I can’t stop rubbing the center of the spinner while I talk. There are so many different fidgets and tools available. I suggest finding one that works with your daughter’s needs.
I think people needs to stop bullying the children they say no bullying policy but the biggest part of the bullying is the teachers at some schools & no not all teachers but some do my children have to wait til I can afford to get them the fidget spinners they are ADHD and add they get it from me! I’m on ssi & they are being so patient with me cause my add & ADHD is worse than theirs cause I forget alot & I’m going to get them 1 as soon as I can which will b soon hopefully!! Thank u for ur post about the fidget spinners it helped with me deciding to get them sooner
Do you know what this is for my child with extreme adhd?
A 20$ distraction -TOY- that will be LOST within the first half of the morning …
Thank you! Our 11 year old ADHD Aspie grandson was totally hypnotized to the point he couldn’t do anything but watch it. It vanished after about 3 days, another toy lost to his lay it down and walk away behavior.
For my severe adhd 10 yr old it gives him something to focus on. Unfortunately it’s the only thing he focuses on while using it. Even more unfortunately, he calls attention to it to try and get others to focus on it. He’s sensory seeking, so he seems like he’d be the perfect audience for it. He’s not. When others are doing it around him, he focuses on them.
For my sensory-sensitive 7 year old, this is extremely distracting and agitating when it’s being done in her vicinity. Since I don’t prioritize my sensory-seeker over my sensory-sensitive, we find more appropriate fidgets for them and teach empathy about those who have different sensory needs.
Rebecca, a better sensory gadget would be a stress ball of a hand squeezer. If the child needs to look at the gadget, then it will not fully work. There are a lot of self-reports and parents reports that the spinners help with focus, but the quality and quantity of work is not there to prove the spinners work. The spinners speed up the brain when the brain actually needs to slow down. Proper medication for an ADD or ADHD is stimulant based, but that stimulant with these students actually slow the brain down for them to focus and learn, the spinners release addictive behaviors with endorphins. They are focused only on the toy and their brain begins to crave it and they can not learn in that situation.
I actually am a 5th grade teacher and have classes of 10 year olds spinning these fidgets, lol. Honestly, if they aren’t passing them around while I’m teaching a lesson and spinning them up in the air where other kids are distracted, I don’t mind them. If their just spinning them and not working that’s when I give reminders that if they aren’t working they have to put them away. They’re dumb toys, but like you said, I can’t pick and choose who they can help.
You sound like an amazing teacher. I would 100% have a problem with children passing them and/or doing tricks with them during a lesson. You sound like a fabulous teacher.
These are must now becoming all the rage at my kids’ schools.
One kid, her teacher banned them from the classroom solely because of #2. The teacher recommended some good fidget devices that do not light up, are not tied to doing various tricks, and aren’t a visual distraction to 24 kids. She listed characteristics that she considers good for a fidget device. She has many fidget devices in her classroom, including things that children can hold, tap, mive with their feet, and even sit on and squirm. They teach finger-knitting to 3rd graders, learn body movement techniques to focus. It’s a school that prioritizes movement – 2 hours of recess a day, on top of dance, gardening, music, p.e., and activities during classtime.
So given all that, I have absolutely no qualms whatsoever with her banning spinners solely based on #2 and do not think it’s due to any inability or laziness about classroom management.
I love that this teacher found an alternative for her students, gave clear expectations and still made fidgets accessible to the kids. Give her a hug for me!
OMG! You took all the words right out of my mouth;) my son broke down and cried last night bc he thought he’d lost his and through tears told us he “finally felt like it was really helping”. And then…adults have to make everything punishable and easy to fit into a box. Uh! So tired of fighting the archaic design of the public school systems.
I totally agree that fidget devices should not be banned in schools but the teacher bashing really isn’t fair. There are heaps of teachers that promote these devices and even encourage them. The article makes teachers sound like despicable ogres that won’t let kids play. Not really true in most cases.
Absolutely not. I am sorry you read it that way. I am in no way teacher bashing. I am/was a teacher and I love teachers. I think you have the hardest job on the planet. I have seen tons of teachers that LOVE using fidgets in the classroom and promote the use of them.
So sorry to tell you this, but your article was a complete bashing on teachers.
It is not a bashing of teachers at all. I am for and love teachers. I am sorry you read otherwise.
Maybe if lessons were more interactive with exercise or manual labor. They would be less likely to fidget and you could be doing some good. For example reaching to crochet or knit hats and then sell them for a fundraiser project.
Yes that sounds wonderful!
As a para in a middle school, going in and out of classrooms every hour, I am happy to see them! They are so much better than the bottle flipping and slime we have seen this year. And it all comes down to classroom management! Most teachers swt the rules that if it’s not being used right, then it gets put away. Very few times has it been a true distraction (usually only when they try to spin it on their desk making too much noise, instead of in their hand). I have seen it help all students though, not just those diagnosed with ADHD.
I had to return one to a student after it was left in a classroom and I caught myself ‘playing’ with it walking down the hall and thought to myself, now I truly understand! And I have picked out a couple on Amazon now.
From a parent of a kid with sensory issues – thank you!!! I remember the first time I went to my husband’s work (software engineering), and all the engineers had “fidget toys” – juggling balls, bouncy balls, Renaissance festival toys (no idea what they’re called), etc. They would all tell you how it helped them concentrate better. If it works for adults, why can’t we understand that it can also work for kids?! Thanks for writing this post.
Just curious if you have any experience teaching a class of 30+ kids? Can you give me some advice? I have ten years experience in the classroom and generally have a well maintained room, but finally had to ban this tool. I love fidget tools, especially the cube. But, this one makes noise (it whirs while spinning), other kids love watching it spin, love finding out what color each person has- love trying to grab them from each other- especially while spinning. Oh, and kids have figured out how to do cool tricks with them that they try practicing in class! Oh, and the ball bearings! Gotta love when those fall out! It is frustrating to have an article imply that I can’t do my job, or that I don’t support kidscwith IEPs. My nephew is on the spectrum, my brother is ADHD. I feel passionately about these issues. I also feel passionately that ALL students deserve a good space to learn. There are other fidget tools that are not harmful to other students’ learning.
Actually, I have taught classes in the inner-city with 45 kindergarteners. The noise can definitely be bothersome. I am working on a tips post and resource as fast as I can. I plan to go live on my Facebook page later today if you can join and feed these questions to me I will answer as many as I can!
A little WD-40 on the ball bearings makes them nearly silent 🙂
The spinners are annoying when students are distracted b y themduring class. Sometimes if you can’t beat them join them. I collected all of the spinners . For some reason the kids snitch and all had to give them up even if they were not play on with them. I stacked them all up and tried spinning them all together. They fell. we brainstormed how to make them all spin. We tried different strategies, established the longest spinning spinner. We then decided to determine whether it was better to spin clockwise or counter clockwise. This was all accomplished as we continued our planned lesson, which happened to be on force. All spinners were returned to their rightful ownersat the conclusion of the impromptu experiment. In my opinion practicing the scientific method and research is beneficialto student understanding.
Still not a fan of fad toys but as a Middle school teacher you use what is available.
I got one for my 5yo, my 14yo talks about them so got her one and knew my partner would want to try so ordered 3together! Even thou only 1 child may have sensory need. I found myself getting mad that older child wanted one, then realised, what’s the fuss!
Love your article, indeed, so what!
In a self-contained classroom classroom, I could see the policy you describe working. For a teacher with endless patience, sure. But if 7th grade Billy is clicking his pen repeatedly, so much that it distracts me (and the children around him) and continues to do so even after I’ve asked him to stop, I will no longer allow him to use “clicky pens.”
Essentially what you’re asking all teachers to do is take additional time out of their lessons to address a distraction that has not been proven to help children learn. I’d much rather a student doodle or retrace his notes (which has been proven to help kids focus on and retain needed information) than play with an additional toy.
I’d also caution anyone who is no longer in the classroom (and thus not actively dealing with the reality of 15 fidget spinners moving about during her lesson) from declaring that the rest of us just must not have good enough rapport or classroom management.
This reminds me a lot of the women who mommy-shaming mothers who have chosen not to breast feed. Just because this works for you and yours does not mean it’s going to work for everyone.
This is absolutely not mom or teacher shaming. I 100% agree that if a child or many children were misusing a tool I would address it. Any tool. I am asking teachers to take time to address things that come up because I think that is how we teach children to be thoughtful problem solvers.
Teachers should be creative with innovation such as fidget spinners. Turn a distraction into an asset for the students. Use then5 as a learning tool or as an aid for learning
Katie, based on your reply, I think you are awesome.
Lemon, I have been teaching for 25 years, I have seen it all, I have a MS in psychology, a second in journalism, and a third in Literacy Education. In 25 years I have seen fads come and go that can be distracting in the classroom, but as fads they did not cause addictive behaviors or aggressive behaviors. It is the addiction that is causing the aggressiveness. Nor have I ever seen a fad induce epileptic seizures as this toy has done.
So, what happens to the kids who need one, but their Mom doesn’t have $20?
Great point. It is my lifelong goal to be able to make enough to supply sensory tools to ANYONE that can’t afford them!!! For now, I would say buy the cheaper versions or see if a friend can let you borrow one, or make your own version (we have a lego one coming VERY soon!)
My son’s teacher actually was the one who recommended the spinner and the cube for her students to use in class. My son said he’s able to concentrate better. (I think it’s more of a toy for him) but if he believes it’s helping and teacher approved, then why not , right?
YES!!! Give that teacher a hug for me!
My school has just banned these in the classroom, they can only use them in the playground – perfect choice – exactly when they need them – especially for my SPD kid who can’t sit still – perfect school – NOT!!!! But our kids who do need these things are still not allowed them afterall if one child has it then others will want it. Ok, can all the kids have SPD then like my daughter! I wait for the phase to go then let her take it in.
I respectfully disagree for the most part. I don’t believe it’s a teacher’s job to manage 30 children in a class who all have fidget spinners. As a child, we were told not to bring toys to school and we accepted it. Our school allows them until something goes wrong. Just like Pokemon cards and Beyblades, fighting has an eruption, accusation about kids breaking each others stuff etc etc.
I don’t believe they necessarily need to be banned, but a group session with them would be great. preferably supervised, they are metal and there is some concerned that the Chinese imports contain lead.
The school has soccer/football/handballs, chalk for kids who want to play hopscotch and an open door policy on the unit which has various board and card games as well as access to the library at lunch time. There is nothing wrong with limitations on these items. They offer little gross motor movement anyway, theraputty for eg is way better IMO.
I am a second grade teacher. I started seeing spinners appear in my classroom a few weeks ago. One problem we had was the child with the spinner would be quietly spinning it and reading ….and the child next to them who is working on completing something was watching. So we came up with an area in the room designed for reading and spinning…away from the desks. I also invested in one myself. I keep it in my pocket, I take it out only at the times and places we agreed upon. I then put it back in my pocket. The kids are amazed to see me spinning mine and often model my actions with where and when to use it. It seems to be working for now…if that changes we will revisit the rules. I like the idea of presenting the problem to them to solve. 🙂
I LOVE THIS!!! You are an amazing teacher!!! Thank you!
How about We need kids who after not having long enough recesses have parents take on the responsibility or the after school caretaker to see that the children have more physical activities. Such as bike riding . Neighborhood kickball games which btw would help kids with problem solving and working things out with peers. How about a family dinner around a tabl every night so the fidgety kid would know how to behave in that kind of setting lets take some responsibility here for a change PARENTS stop putting it all on the educators You are also supposed to be educators!
I am in no way putting it on the teachers at all. You have a hard job as an educator. So many demands from so many directions. Yes parents should also include more and lots more movement. That doesn’t change the fact that kids sit for almost 6 hours a day in a classroom. I have an entire post on the need for play EVERY DAY!!! Not just in school!
I honestly don’t know what these are yet, but I agree with all of your points. I bought my 6 year old a fidget cube for the same reason. I pre-ordered your book. As a mom and pediatrician, I look forward to reading it.
Wonderful! That makes my day!!!! For now you can email dayna at lemonlimeadventures.com with the heading PREORDER SUPERKIDS. We will have a better system very very soon!
Such a GREAT article! My son has ADD, & definitely fidgets etc… & he recently just asked about getting a spinner. He also told me “that some kids just use them as toys.” Yep, I’m sure they do.
He also showed me 2 containers of playdough, he’s able to keep at school. I think this is great!!!
Thank you for a WONDERFUL article!!
Great article. I completely agree. I have a 9 year old son who wanted a fidget spinner. I was hesitant to let him get one because I felt they were a useful tool for children with ADHD, Autism, etc, and not a toy. He ended up buying one with his own money and he loves it. You’re right. It’s a fun, new gadget for him that he enjoys and there is no harm in that. Unfortunately, we received a note home from school that fidget spinners have been banned from third grade due to them being stolen. :-/
Hello! I just read your blog about the fidget spinners, and ordered your book! Can’t wait to get it in August! I have had problems with a child of mine being “bored” and pestering his siblings which also went into the school issues of getting into trouble And being labled as a trouble kid. He’s a very good kid! Works hard! Just can’t seem to keep his hands and mouth to himself when he needs to.
Also how can I get the pre order receipt to you?
Wonderful! This makes my day! For now you can email dayna at lemonlimeadventures.com with the heading PREORDER SUPERKIDS. We will have a better system very very soon!
I understand for children that have a learning disabilities. My 12 yr old has PDD, form of autism. He is getting one to help him calm down and learn. But others that are just getting them to fit in , I don’t understand. They come up with the excuse that they need them. I don’t agree with that. The rubies cube was a big deal in our school district for a long time. My autistic son has one and he still does it even after the fad has wore off. These too will go away…but my son needs it.
What is the problem with others getting them because they are fun? What is the problem with kids that need to fidget yet have no diagnosis or mental difference getting a tool that helps them feel included? I don’t see the problem with it.
I wanted to write to say ‘thank you’. I was worried when I saw a friend post a link to this. Reading this though I have to say thank you. I am on the autistic spectrum myself and have a son who is too. Yesterday o tagged us both the ‘fidget cubes’ and have to say I am totally glad I got it. My son was blown away to receive his too. The spinners are next on my list to tag. I have PTSD and health problems and end up having a lot of appointments. I can see the cube and a spinner coming in handy. Thank you again.
I am an adult with borderline narcolepsy. I don’t have attention deficit disorder, however if only my mind is engaged and not my body I will very easily fall asleep. I have dealt with this most of my life. I used to compensate by drawing in class during High School. Even today, in my high level management position, I will still discreetly doodle on my notepad when in our business meetings. I don’t feel tempted to sleep when I’m driving because my hands and feet are constantly doing something, but don’t ask me to sit down and watch a movie and not move. I don’t care how loud you turn the volume up, there is a high probability that I will doze off before the movie is over unless I’m in charge of holding the popcorn bucket and making sure everyone continues to get their share. I now have one of these spinners, and though I will still probably not use it during a business meeting, I have used it in other situations where I struggle to keep my eyes open. Guess what? It has worked! I can totally see where someone who struggles to pay attention when only sitting still could absolutely benefit from this regardless of how old they are. Not everyone shares the same struggles, and for some yes it is only a toy, but I think there are bigger things in life to worry about than exhausting ourselves over who should and should not have a spinner. We live in a society now that Embraces robot children. We’re not all meant to be robots. I constantly fidget, and I am a very successful adult, working mother, and a fidget spinner is the least of my worries.
Best article I have read on this matter. I have struggled with ADHD my whole life. I always got into trouble at school for tapping my foot or pencil, or daydreaming. Two out five of my children also struggle with ADHD and have spent a long time trying to concentration methods, so when these fidget items came out, we were all excited. As long as there are rules in place, I think every child with different wiring could use these and not only help their performance at school but also boost their self esteem. I could go on and on lol. Thank you for this article, I am definitely sharing!!!
Adults need to calm down about these Fidget Spinners and let kids have their fun little diversions! After all, remember Finger String Games & Tricks, like Jacob’s Ladder? Clackers? Yoyo’s? Folded paper ‘Fortune Teller’? Clapping games like Miss Mary Mack and Rockin’ Robin? Slap Bracelets / Snap Bands? Giving our kids an education shouldn’t mean turning them into little robots with no fun or free time to be a kid.
Outside a classroom sure! But in the middle of algebra when 100% of your focus is on spinning a gadget instead of learning, and the teacher has already spoken to you twice…. No.
I was not an attentive student in school (class of 78) I daydreamed…had trouble paying attention if the subject wasnt interesting. Always good grades for science, math…till algebra. Social studies not so good fo a lot of it. Nobody talked about ADD or ADHD. And our distractions were low tech yoyos and klick clacks (look up eye injuries) Now I am a voracious reader and watch the Smithsonian channel and science channel more than anything else.
You’re looking at this a lot from the perspective of people who like or need fidgeting to focus without paying much attention to people for whom that fidgeting is an issue. People with audio and visual sensitivities can be significantly or even severely bothered by many types of fidgeting, but have little recourse because someone else “needs” to fidget in a way that’s distracting (not just in terms of other kids wanting to watch because it’s neat). It’s just as important for kids to learn quiet, subtle, discreet ways of focusing themselves, and to make sure they’re not creating issues for other people.
Good points, but Are these things loud? I don’t think they have sound.
I love this! I am an 18 year old with severe anxiety and a mind that wanders easily, and I am so so happy that fidgets are becoming more widely accepted. I don’t have any real fidgets yet, but I hope to get some. If I don’t have something to fidget with, especially when I’m anxious, I start chewing on my lips and cheeks and fingers. Once I was very anxious and was squeezing some putty while I worked and my astronomy teacher yelled at me to put it away- I tried to explain what it was for, and that it was helpful for my work, but she didn’t listen. I wasn’t able to work nearly as efficiently as before once I put it away, and I left that class with bleeding fingers. I really hope that more teachers see soon how helpful these things are for kids of all ages with all different mental states.
My son is a junior in high school who has had add…not adhd just add. I have watched him struggle since 1st grade to concentrate. His methods were chewing on erasers, chewing on the front of his shirt, chewing on the strings of a sweatshirt, to now in high school fidgeting with the lanyard his keys are on to the point your can’t read the writing on it anymore. He begged me to get one for weeks but I thought whatever it’s just a toy. Finally I got him one and he said it has been the best tool for him in school he had ever had. While spinning this thing he is concentrating fully on what the teacher is saying and his 3.777 grade point average proves it. Maybe it’s something that needs to be monitored in younger kids, but the older kids know what they need.
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It is “all of a sudden.” It is not “all of the sudden.” Why do people screw that up? It is incorrect and improper grammar. You are a school teacher. I cannot take you seriously now.
Thank you grammar police. Yep I am a teacher but I will be the first to say that I get sayings wrong ALL THE TIME. I like to blame my southern background but really I’m just flighty when it comes to that. Grammar mistakes do not make or break a good teacher. I’d love to come to your job and make see if you ever make a mistake. Hmmm.
Love this article!
My oldest daughter is a 7th grade middle schooler who has always been considered above average academically. This year she has struggled in her social studies class. Even though the teacher is phenomenal, using many different teaching techniques considering the various learning styles in the room, my child has not received some of the “stellar” grades that she has become accustomed. Whenever lecture style instruction is employed, she complains that it is more difficult to focus. We were at a theme park over spring break and she found a fidgit spinner and begged for one. I bought it. Why not? It was only $10. I figured she would play with it and then she would get bored quickly. But then she started taking it to school. She held it in her hand during lectures and let it spin…she reported that it helped her focus. She was so excited that there was something that helped. Now, the teachers at the school are starting to talk about banning it! I hope they will read your article. I think they may look at it differently! Thank you for expressing it so well!
I can understand why you are frustrated by the figdet spinners. The first time I saw them was in a restaurant where two kids where playing with them, and I don’t think they should be in classrooms. I take issue with what you said about kids with ADHD, etc. You called them brats that don’t need any help. You should receive more training in dealing with ADHD kids or you should not be teaching. ADHD is a legitimate disability, though sometimes overly diagnosed.
Did you read the article? I didn’t call them brats. I called out the people that do.
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I made it a science lesson and Pokémon Go became a math lesson. Got keep up people.
You sound like an amazing teacher!
We are from Canada 🇨🇦 and the same things are happening here with the fidget spinners. The spinners are a great idea for my son, who is a big fidgetor. It was great he was one of the first to bring them to his school. Then in a week or two everyone had them and that meant trouble. Sure enough they were no longer wanted during class time. The thing others don’t see is what this fidget spinner has done for my son. My son has difficulty dealing with certain social situations. When he brought the spinner into the classroom he got a lot of postive attention from other children it was great and he was loving it. He even started buying more spinners so he could get them to other kids that didn’t know where the one store in town was that you could get them from. He also started making his own at home and bringing those into school to show others. The fidget spinner has helped my son in so many ways other then just helping with his need to fidget. And now it’s been taking away. Only allowed to handle during recess, which at least they aren’t gone intirely. Thank you for this article. I will be sharing it.
Thank you for the article. My kids have a lot of trouble and this is a help and I hope I can use it in there classroom. They did really good in homeschool when there wasn’t a lot of people but that was because they could focus without a big group . Now back in public and the big group is back it’s so overwhelming and hard to focus . This could help keep them from drawing in.
Big pharmacy wants them banned because with the use of them there is no need for medication
They stop making money drugging our children. It’s a very good ideal if ya ask me. The big money makers are the only ones who don’t benefit. Use of them benefits the children, teacher, parents but not big money Pharmaceutical companies. That’s what’s bad about em.
Let me tell u buddy I’m quite ADHD and my fidget cube in no way takes away my need for medication. I actually still need it even while I’m medicated. Fidgeting isn’t the only aspect of things like ADHD, while it helps, if I had to choose between my meds and my fidget there wouldn’t even be a contest, I’d take the meds which allow me to have some control over my brain…
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“Why do we keep ruining the things that are amazing for our kids?”
I only ask my students not to hit them against things while spinning. If they keep it quiet while I’m teaching, I have no problem with it.
You sound like an awesome teacher!
My objection comes from. A point You made briefly but did not go into more detail; and that is the fact that so many of these will end up in garbage bins across the country within a matter of weeks. Being made for plastic I wonder. If not , then mass production short-term usage and responsible disposal have a significant impact on the environment .
That is a different problem all together. I completely agree.
Fidget spinnners are not working for most students to help them focus. They are just a big distraction. There are many better fidgets. I like the cube with the buttons and roller ball etc. I have pencil top fidgets I give to kids and mesh fidgets with a marble inside. They don’t distract but allow the kids to fidget while focusing. I also disagree that every child needs a fidget. Many kids can compensate with a pen, pencil or something else in their environment and some don’t need them at all. in case you’re wondering what my role is in the school, I am a K-5 School Counselor.
You totally inspired me to ban these things. They are a total distraction. I was on the fence and you helped me see the light. Thank you so much.
Ha. Did you read beyond the headlines?
Yes. I stand by my comments. Playing with these things is NOT helping my students listen and it DOES distract other students who look over to see what is happening. A good teacher engages their students during learing time with a variety of teaching and behavior management techniques. Distractions are not required or desired.
The fidget spinner or any other small manipulative serves a purpose for the kinetic learner, whether that specific learner had sensory issues or not. While I understand that opposition from some teachers to having them in their classroom, I don’t understand that “students are treating them like a toy” argument. Children + interesting objects = exploration through play. It’s 100% a normal, natural response from a child. I see the use of any type of fidget as an opportunity to teach how a child can still use it but also maintain a environment in the classroom so that her fellow auditory and visual learning classmates can still focus on instruction with a little distraction as possible.
I think of a fidget as a child’s version of the knitting or crochet I bring with me to lectures and conferences. When my hands are busy, I listen better and retain more information. It’s no different for some children.
We all need fidgets, whether it be a spinner or a barrette, which I have been sitting here opening and closing while reading this article and had to put down to type. I am saddened to hear all the negativity about the spinners. I teach sped and I have fidgety kids all day long. Much of the problem stems from people who are uneducated in the area of special needs. A GE teacher feels things are a distraction but then ask how to make a kid sit. Well don’t make them sit. If they want to stand at their desk, then give them rules. Like putting tape on the floor and saying you can stand or walk if you need to but stay within the tape while we are completing desk work. We have kids with velcro on their desk because they need something to stimulate them. Just let the kids be kids. Don’t you remember what its like to be a kid? Come on! Just make a rule for your classroom and if they don’t follow the rule take the spinner away until they leave for recess or go home. Then give it back.
You just made me wanna get one for my 15yo kid, and for every single one of his classmates!! Yeah, I’m that kind of parent ✌
I don’t have a child in school (I have a 19 month old daughter), but I read a lot about this kind of thing so I can be fully prepared for when she goes into school. And now, I do know this much…I fully believe these sorts of devices should be allowed in school. So what if these devices are fun and distracting? If they weren’t fun, there would be no point. The children would have no immediate interest in them and would likely not keep them. There needs to be an element of fun for it to be relaxing and useful as a fidget tool/toy. Goodness knows that I fidget all the time if I have to sit for too long. People need to look at their own actions before making assumptions about the needs of anyone, young, old or anywhere in between. People need to “read” children better instead of punishing them for things they can’t fully handle on their own.
Thank you so much for writing this article!
I haven’t seen fidget spinners yet, but I totally agree with your points and agree that kids (and everyone, really) need some kind of outlet for their fidgets, especially in the classroom. When I got a new student who was particularly fidgety and struggling to focus, I brought in some cheap yarn and taught her to finger knit. I love this as a fidget outlet – it’s silent and gives her something constructive to do, and only needs the yarn and no other devices. She gets excited about seeing it get longer everyday, and is looking forward to seeing how long it will be at the end of the year. She’s excited about maybe turning it into a headband or a scarf or giving it to her pets to see if they like curling up with it. I’m happy to see her excited, and also not ripping up papers and whatnot as her distraction.
I don’t have children in school any longer but do have a son with traumatic brain injury and is 35. He has tinnitus and we use an ear piece to have him concentrate on outside noise instead of what is going on in his head. My neighbor, who is 10 and add, really wants one. He says everyone in class has one. Same question I asked him because I was curious as to if he has something else to concentrate on or distract, does he concentrate on his assignment. He was surprised I was asking specific questions and he said yes. He’s always moving. These sound great for those who need them but I think a counselor should be instructed on counseling a child on when is appropriate to use these. It shouldn’t be a free for all in class and true the ones who don’t need them will trash them
I was not teaching in the classroom this year but like most people have really only heard the “negative” things about the fidget spinners on social media. I do teach a class on Wednesday night at my church and one of the little boys had one. I thought it was great, and there were no issues. I read this article after a co-worker of mine posted it but I don’t think she read it just the title. I really enjoyed your take and I do believe you have to have that classroom management in order to “manage” what is going on in your classroom.
I had been looking at different options for my learning disabled jr higher and my adhd 5th grader to help with concentration a couple of years ago but couldn’t really afford what was available at the time so I gave up looking. I looked at the Tangle and fidget cubes but I just couldn’t afford to purchase at the time. It’s that whole “supply and demand” thing. Now that the spinners are wildly popular, the prices have dropped significantly. Both of my boys have one now. My adhd son has an IEP and uses other tools such as the rubberband, seat cushion, watch reminder, etc… But the spinner helps him remain focused for longer periods of time. Plus, as a parent, we have talked about appropriateness in the classroom. That’s probably because I am a Para and understand the need for classroom management. Oh! How about the fact that I am actually a responsible parent!! It’s always about school and how well do teachers do their jobs etc… It’s not their job to train and raise our children, that’s our job! A teacher’s job is to TEACH our kids educationally. Get this straight, we cannot expect the teacher to teach our kids manners and behavior management! My son with a Specific Learning Disability swears by the spinner! He has rules from home that he must follow and I trust he does just that! Again, my job is to responsibly parent my child so that they can be taught by an educator without problems. Hats off to all the teachers out there that not only teach but also parent!!! You are underappreciated and underpaid!! So, I am all for fidgets! Thank you for the article! I was glad to see something good finally appearing about fidgets in my newsfeed! Parent On People!!
I am an almost 50 year-old professional that would have benefitted greatly from theses when we were in school. I have never been diagnosed with anything but was considered “high-strung”, which in adult life equates, “type A”, something many employers really want. A couple of years ago, my assistant bought me two calming sticks. They were really supposed to be a joke and were my “magic wands”. Deal is, every time I have to sit by myself through a conference call, I bring them out. I still do not handle “sitting and doing nothing” well, so I had a bad habit of working on another project while listening to the conference call. Using my calming sticks gives me something to do while still devoting my mind fully to the conference call. Love your article.
I respectfully disagree. I am a Nationally Board Certified teacher with ADHD and mom of a son with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. My son LOVES his spinners! He balances them on every part of his body, times himself to see where/how he can balance it the longest, listens to the whir, watches the colors start as a fast swirl and become more visible as they slow. So perhaps I misspoke to say NO therapeutic value; it can keep him calm – AT HOME. However the spinner draws his attention to it and therefore is in no way helpful to be used for fidgeting WHILE he should be focused on something else, like his teacher. If you are attempting to help your students stay focused in school, I recommend looking into some true fidgets, like the ones also posted here. I have a fidget box full of them for my students at school. A true fidget allows us to move quietly, perhaps even under the desk, where it doesn’t distract anyone else, and still give our eyes and ears to the task at hand.
Thank you i agree
I think you are a genius and we could be great friends! Amen! Preach it! What a refreshing read! Thank you!
This comment just made my day!
You’re right. The problem isn’t the fidget spinners. It’s the American Education System itself. Teachers are being held accountable for working miracles and being judged and evaluated on whether or not they reach those goals. And, so when anything gets in the way of those goals being met, teachers have a problem. I don’t blame the fidget spinners or the teachers. It’s a flawed system that too often puts educational achievements over the health and wellbeing of children.
Yes!!! Yes, yes, yes!
I homeschool 4 boys between 11-14. I do allow fidgeting and playing however one is Autistic and I am afraid to allow these actual designed fidget toys because he obsesses over them. He has a Rubix cube and will become so overly focused on solving it if it’s insight that he doesn’t hear any lessons or process anything else that’s happening. How do you balance the struggles of one set of children (because the other three could use this and would love it) with the special needs of the other? I can see this in larger classrooms as well. When he was in a government school classroom, he would see other children with a fidget he would focus on their toy until it became his fidget too and still wouldn’t hear the lesson. Would love ideas and suggestions and ways to allieviate my fears.
I read your article because I was on the fence about the fidget spinners and how I should handle them in my classroom. The issue that I am seeing arise between my K-6 students is the competition as to who has the better quality spinners. Some students are investing a good deal of money to have fancy high-performance spinners while others are fashioning their own out of things they find around the house because they can’t afford them. The competition is becoming a bigger distraction than the spinners themselves and the original intent is being lost.
I’m a first grade teacher and just about a week ago, suddenly, almost every kid came in with a fidget spinner. I have 25 students and I am the only teacher in the room, however my first thought was that these could possibly help with my kids who have sensory needs. It did not. They became a huge distraction. So we held a meeting as a class and decided to only use the spinners during free play times. This turned out to be difficult as well because the students were still thinking of them during other times and at the end of the day they had trouble locating their own spinners. I decided to ban them from the classroom (they can keep them in backpacks for after school – but not for in school). Since they play with them like toys, we treated them as toys. Everyone is fine, and they use other sensory materials in the class when needed. We also have a lot of time for movement and sensory activities for all children- which I know not all schoos have. If I felt the fidget helped in a way that other materials did not, I would allow it. Anyway, that is just my personal experience- every classroom and teacher is different. I was a little offended by the tone of this article. It felt as though you were saying you are the best teacher and anyone who does not allow a fidget is not understanding and a less than teacher. I would hope that every teacher is going to do the very best with the knowledge and options they have. Banning the spinner should be personal choice. I do agree however, that it’s important to allow children time to move and “fidget” when needed. Got that!
ADHD, ADD, etc are way overdiagnosed. We need to stop excusing everything on the grounds that it will help kids. Why don’t we just bring PS4’s in and let kids “focus?” When kids spend time outside doing physical activity, these ridiculous toys will be unnecessary. When is the educational community going to fight back and tell parents to do their jobs so we can do ours??
I work in a 3Y Autism classroom. I’m bringing one for each child at circle time… they may just stay in their seats!
My own children have them and I don’t see why they are banned from school it just sounds like teachers don’t have good classroom management skills. I also have 20 bags of slime floating around my house, and I really don’t care! Watching them make it was fun. They were engaged! Water, mud, shaving cream, sensory bottles….they need it.
If they didn’t have to sit still for so long, we wouldn’t be having these issues.
I love you & want to be you when I grow up, that is all! (Soon to be special ed teacher, mother of 3, wife of 1 whom all love the fidget their spinners) this article is amazing. I am happy that my kiddos and hubby want to fidget & stay off electronics. And the slime?!? Yea my little scientist is in slime heaven 🙂
I love your approach. I think they are awesome. It is sad that children are expected to sit for hours on end behind a desk to learn. If this helps them to keep focussed rather than disrupting others then why not. Why can’t we move to 20th century learning and realise that the old way of learning no longer works. Go Kids enjoy
I am the mother of a 15yr. old boy that excels in school and is a naturally gifted musician. He picked up a Fidget Spinner another child left lying around. He played with it for awhile then commented to me ‘not sure what it is about this thing, but it is AMAZINGLY SATISFYING”. He ended up playing with it for hous over the weekend.
Wow! Popular article! Several students were using spinners successfully in my 4th grade classroom of 28 in the weeks prior to them being banned at the school where I teach. I used the same simple rule for the spinners that I do with any other fidget: If I see it, or see a student being distracted by it, it’s mine until the end of the day. Three strikes and it’s out for good. I wasn’t experiencing any problems with the spinners and, in fact, received one as a gift from a student. I was sorry to see them go.
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Teaching in high school, I claim they are an unnecessary distraction. Not only is the student using the spinner not paying attention in class, they distract other students also. Fidget spinners may have excellent uses with special needs students, but not kids who just don’t want to pay attention and are playing with the new gimick toy in class. These are invariably the ones arriving with these things. Students in class should be actively participating (during direct instruction that means looking at your teacher), not watching a spinning piece of plastic.
I do not “buy-into” this trend. The new ” flavor -of-the month”so to speak. By allowing these, the teacher is setting themselves up for classroom management problems. An added dilemma that is taking away from class studies. It’s funny, I never had to deal with these new issues. My classes and students were so very successful, because I took the time to help them .. not a “gadget.”
I do not see what the big deal is & honestly I feel it’s like every other fad, before we know it they will have moved onto something else. My son is very athletic & likes to always have a ball in his hand, I am welcoming the change & I think it helps his focus. No complaints here, except when he sits too close to his teenage sister & gets it caught in her hair! LOL
My daughter goes to a parochial school in Jackson Michigan. The older classes such as 4th 5th and 6 are allowed to use some however the younger classes are not at this time.
I have a nephew who is autistic so when I first saw these I thought he needed one. I haven’t gotten one yet but I will! I love your perspective on all things fidgety! Great article!!
I’m in my 30th and final year of teaching, almost all at the middle school level. Personally, they don’t bother me; however, when I’m instructing, they are not to be out. I tell the students to put them away and they do. I have good classroom control but not every teacher is wired like me. We have a fair number of defiant students (I teach at a grades 6-12 school) to all but the strongest teachers. On block schedule days, I give the students a 5 minute break. They can play with the spinners at this time.
I believe the students need more recess time with activities. The notion that more instructional time equals more learning is absurd. It’s a curvilinear relationship.
I -love- this post! A couple of days ago I was reading a complaint that kids who don’t really need the fidgets want them… If they’re helpful and not being thrown through the air, why can’t anyone who is intrigued have one? Is a diagnosis seriously required? My sons are homeschooled and haven’t seen the fidgets yet, but I’m sure they’d be happy to have them.
When I was in grade school in the late 70s, there was a fad of making boxes with yarn and plastic canvas. The teachers let us stitch quietly in class. Suddenly I’m wondering if they were ahead of the curve, letting us do something quiet and brainless to keep the squirming down.
My mom said that when she was in high school in Hungary, all the girls in her class would be knitting under the table, lol. Apparently there was this style of sweater that was cheaper to knit than to buy, so in class everyone would be knitting under the table in the same way people use their phones under the table in class now…
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They have been banned at my daughters school..most of the kids had them because they were the cool.thing to have and they became very distracting in the classrooms
Lol, love the “SPIN” on this article. Sad some school systems will probably suspend students for having them in the classroom.
As an adult with severe, lifelong ADHD and a psychologist, I have ordered a spinner to see what I think of it. I love the ideas. We spend too much time forcing ALL children to sit still and listen to tedious presentations.
We didn’t have fidget toys when I was in middle and high school, but I fidgeted anyways. When I was in 9th grade, a therapist suggested that I talk to my teachers about using silly putty to manipulate during lectures when I needed to concentrate and was struggling.
Overall my teachers were receptive. And it was helpful! I could attend. (It’s actually the reason that one of my life mottos is “Busy Hands, Happy Hearts.)
There are many things I agree with here and a few things I don’t. As a fourth grade teacher who works in a school that practices responsive classroom, morning meeting and closing circle and team meetings with the other fourth grade class are a norm. Goal setting and student lead rule creations are also a norm. We tried to set whole class expectations but as a teacher it is my job to know each and every one of my children. It is painful for me to see a student get heightened and distracted by this toy instead of focusing. to make a blanket statement that these are basically helpful and appropriate to all students if classroom managed correctly is incorrect and misinformed. I have one student who is a classic example of this – he needs sensory input during lessons, but it can’t move. Otherwise his eyes and focus are *on it* and not on the lesson. He needs velcro stuck under his desk to rub during instruction. He needs a chewy attachment on his pencil that he can chew on. Give him a spinner or a fidget cube and he will not hear a word I say. I know because I have experimented with it and tried it. Nothing – I repeat nothing – works for 100% of children 100% of the time. Good teachers know their kids.
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I thought i was never going to get to the end of the comments.
My 14 yr old 8th grader has ADHD & we go to the Dr monthly for meds refills & she is actually the one who told us about them & to see if it might help my son focus. Well we are going in today for an extra appointment because if hes going to use it in the classroom he was told he needed a prescription for it i have had teachers tell me that instead of doing work my son is taking his mechanical pencils apart or getting up & down going to the pencil sharpener or playing drums on his desk or just drifting off into a day dream. Well this keeps him from doing all of that & helps him focus on the task he’s suppose to be working on. He’s not the type that is annoying or hyper active he just has trouble focusing at school. I am glad we found something to help him besides just medicine. He does have an organizational problem & looses stuff all the time but so far he hasn’t lost his fidgit & that’s a good thing to. People try to jump to a conclusion on things they really don’t know anything about, they should do some asking from people with the problems or experience with them before downing or banning things. Love the improvements we have for our kids & not take away a helpful tool to some. I agree it’s not for all kids some will abuse it but don’t punish the ones that need it by banning them completely.
Thanks for the article I’m going to send it to his Dr & teachers.
Thank you so much for sharing your story.
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I’m confused. I can’t figure out if you are for or against children with disabilities to have/use one. The articles you linked, didn’t talk about kids with ADHD. I have a child on the autism spectrum, and another with severe ADHD and anxiety. He is given similar “fidgets” at school to help him cope. They seem to work well for him.
Are they good or bad, or does it just depend on what works for each individual child?
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I work in an alternative school where we are always looking for ways to engage students. There are fidgets in all the classrooms…and not just these new rage spinners. I think a lot of the issue is with the teacher. It is a distraction- for the teacher. However, with time and patience you get used to it. My students know what is expected when using fidgets within the classroom and we all win. I am able to get through my lessons and the student receive the stimulation that they need.
I work in an alternative school where we are always looking for ways to engage students. There are fidgets in all the classrooms…and not just these new rage spinners. I think a lot of the issue is with the teacher. It is a distraction- for the teacher. However, with time and patience you get used to it. My students know what is expected when using fidgets within the classroom and we all win. I am able to get through my lessons and the student receive the stimulation that they need. As for schools bannng them? That’s craziness. Public schools have seriously gotten out of hand! The only thing they are interested in is a test score and they don’t want to do anything outside the box to improve them. The land of education is so frustrating. I make a lot less in alt ed but it’s a better world. We are open to doing whatever it takes to educate the kids. If it means having spinners to increase focus…I’ll take them!
As a homeschool mom of 9 kiddos we have boxes full of sensory toys! We have extended recess. It helps so very much to allow our kids those freedoms!!!
So what if Ian spinner is a trend? I hope it opens people’s eyes to sensory needs!!!! Before our journey of adopting our 9 I never had a thought about sensory processing. I had no clue what it was at all! Now I study it, know it, and live it!!
Here you go. Fidgets work.
I recently got a fidget cube and I love it! I’ve barely put it down since I got it – I’ll catch myself messing with the corner of a paper or bouncing my leg or scratching my arm and I can just take out the cube instead. I actually managed to kind of get the jump on the fidget spinner trend – my family got a 3d printer in early January and printed ourselves spinners… and then people started asking me about them… and I ended up selling a bunch for $10 each before they got popular enough that you could get them for like a buck it was p great. I doubt my school will ban fidgets though considering that the principal is ADD, so he probably understands how much some kids really need them – although my therapist told me if they were banned she’d just give me a note saying I could use mine lol. A prescription for a fidget, in a way.
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They don’t help pupils focus at all – except on how they can annoy other pupils in their class. Try teaching when they are being used not as intended but as a weapon to throw at other pupils.
I think there are far better distractors out there and certainly some of the best are virtually free – a piece of blu-tack is far more effective than what is nothing more than a marketing scam.
I wanted to like them but then I noticed two things: 1. They take two hands to operate so which hand is being used to do their work? 2. While they are spinning them they have 3 other kids watching. I’m glad they feel satisfied by spinning them but they are a distraction to all the kids around them.
There other items such as a fidget cube that are much better and not distracting to the user and the observers.
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I disagree. I know the perspective of several teachers and students, and I feel you have made some assumptions:
1. Kids are just using these as toys. While I agree that this is fine at home, it is not okay at school to play while you are supposed to be learning.(Believe it or not when kids play in the classroom when they have toys.) It is fine that kids are playing when they are outside, but that’s not the problem.
2. Fidget Spinners are distracting in the classroom. I wish it it was as easy as you say, but kids don’t always(a lot of the time) follow directions. And at least in my school district there is little to no displine because of parent complaints. Your “I hope so” line covers it best, teachers are allowed to do little.
3. Not all kids need Fidget Spinners. Well, they were designed for those with ADHD and such. I feel that if someone has trouble sitting still in a classroom(and have no disorder of any kind), they should learn patience.(Because some time in life they will need to sit.)
4. There is no evidence that Fidget Spinners help. I believe for kids with ADHD that Fidget Spinners can help them focus. I do not believe, however; that Fidget Spinners help kids without a disorder like ADHD, it seems to just distract.
5. Fidget Spinners should not be needed. For kids without ADHD, no they shouldn’t. From what know, many elementaries have recess, so they need no Spinners. In middle school, kids should release their energy during lunchtime or recess(if they have it).
In conclusion, LemonLimeAdventure, please don’t dismiss this immediately, as seem to have done with others. I have read your article, so (if you read this comment) read my comment with a somewhat open mind. Thank you for your time.
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I am one of those formerly fidgety kids. It drove my teacher nuts for me to constantly tap my foot or whatever else I did. This was over 40 years ago. You cannot tell a kid who is “buzzing” inside they cannot move. They die a little inside. I’ve always taught any fidgety kid the secret of bouncing their foot or shaking their toe. What a grand surprise for them to know they could actually sit still and move at the same time. For those who think this is not a real need, I say simply this. You cannot possibly understand something you have not experienced. Great idea you have for suggesting the kids some up with the rules. Why? Because it will be the KIDS who then enforce them. You are one smart lady. 😉
I’ve read almost all of the comments for this article and notice that it is pretty well divided between the pro-spinners and the anti-spinners…and think its important to understand that neither side is completely right/wrong.
I teach in a middle school where spinners are everywhere. And while I’ve tried to keep an open mind about spinners, I’ve mostly seen them become a toy and distraction for my students. The fact that you need 2 hands to operate them sets a student up to be off task and focused on the spinner rather than the learning. I’ve seen it. Numerous times I have purposefully called on students (who were spinning their spinner during a class discussion) to answer a question and they have no idea what’s going on in class because they weren’t paying attention. I’ve also watched students spin their spinner for long minutes while their work remained incomplete. To be honest, I’d rather have the old behaviors of tapping or clicking pens and pencils. Because when a student was tapping a pencil or clicking a pen it usually (I’ll admit not always) meant they were focused or working and unconsciously doing it. But that’s not why I see the spinners spinning.
I agree that some students need something to help them concentrate and should definitely be given an effective tool to do this. But unfortunately for most kids spinners have become toys rather than a tool to help them concentrate.
One last thing…just because a teacher does not want spinners in their classroom does not make them a mean, uncaring, behind-the-times , or lacking-in -classroom -management kind of teacher. It actually means I know my kids and what is and is not working for them. My goal is to help my students be successful in their learning by providing the knowledge and skills (which includes being able to sit and work) that are necessary. And if a spinner is derailing them from that goal, then by golly, I’m going to remove it. 🙂
They resemble throwing stars from martial arts which is why most people don’t like their appearance. They are costly for a 5 cent product marked up outrageously. They don’t relieve stress. A study done in 1991 on stress balls and squeeze products showed these types of devices did not work but were fun. In 1974 a product just like the fidget spinner was released in Cereal boxes but didn’t spin as well was recalled for small parts chocking hazards but just was simply reinvented for today. The devices simply buy adults, distract kids in class and literally just suck money up.
I loved what you said.and I would like to further your points with personal experience. I was really smart kid and often had my work done way before class was over. I did try to do less distracting activities like reading or drawing. But, when you had enough time to read 2-4 hours during the school day you get tired and distracted. When I was in 7th grade I used to roll bouncey ball across my desk. It kept me awake and alert for my next class. NONE of my teachers minded. I was respectful enough to only pull it out when the lectures were over and I had ALL of my class work done. The only problem that arose was when another kid started bouncing a ball in class. The teacher asked him to stop and compromised by letting him have a finger skateboard.
It’s hard to stay completely focused for 8 hours. I had to come up with ways to stay engaged and awake. As long as it doesn’t distract from the class fidget toys seems an awesome toy for kids. Through my years I read books, drew pictures, brought in cards, even made alien invasions on my graphing calculator-
( ( . . ) )
Kids will always find something to distract themselves when they are bored or trying to regain their focus. And it is not always a bad thing. I graduated high school with a 3.985 GPA(why the school did not round that up to 4 is beyond me). I am living proof of what your post says is true.
Just make sure kiddos know when it’s appropriate and when it is not.
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I love your article, and I just addressed this issue on my message board for a class I’m taking. Those spinners can be integrated in all subjects in school! Kudos to you.
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So it’s funny that I came across your post today, my husband just returned from a business conference where he was given some give away goodies of which he had a handfull of really cool metallic fidget spinners. I had never seen these before and had no idea what they were so your post has educated me now on this. However, he said that after a few hours of fidgeting with it his finger hurt Ha! Don’t think they are for him & our son is still too young but interesting post but wondering about isolated muscle or tendon strain now! I think there are better fidget toys out there that work the whole hand but I am with you & think recess makes A LOT more sense!! 🙂
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I’m a high functioning autistic 14 year old and I can tell you with all certainty that these things are simply annoying and nothing else. Here’s 4 reasons why (in my own 14 year old mind) fidget spinners should be banned from the classroom and generally why I hate them.
1. THEY’RE SO OBNOXIOUS –
There’s a reason the title of this section is capitalized. As someone who simply doesn’t like a lot of noise at one time I can safely say this is some of the most ANNOYING crap I’ve ever had to deal with. In one of my classes literally everyone sitting near me has one of these things. They even spin them around when they’re just talking, it’s so distracting to you and them during the discussion, and even if you manage to pull your eyes away from it you can still hear the stupid noise.
2. They Don’t Help –
In my personal experience i can tell you that no-one I know who uses these things see any sort of advancement in terms of focusing or enhanced brain activity. I have two little sisters who both have one and they use it all the time. To say it simply, they’ve seen no improvement what-so ever. I’ll be discussing why they’re useless more in the next section.
3. They’re used by the Wrong People for the Wrong Reasons –
Searching “Fidget Spinner” on YouTube will show you one of the major reasons they don’t work. The fact of the matter is that most of the people who use it and at one point made it the new “trend” did not need “stress relief”. A majority of the people who use it and then document it on YouTube simply did not use it for stress relief and instead use it for “tricks”and “trading”. Because of this the people who actually need something that helps with stress will instead use it for “tricks” and other mindless distractions. The sad truth is the majority will always more influence over the minority than the minority will have on the majority.
4. The Distraction –
I very much see the purpose of something like this for anxious people. Instead of moving around and things like that they can instead put it into a thing like this. Sadly because it’s used for tricks it only serves as a distraction.
God I’m tired.
When a student is using the fidget in order to avoid their work (because they can’t have a pencil in one hand AND the spinner in the other hand) and then complaining that they can’t work without it “because (I) have ADHD” then I take notice. Students, especially the older ones (I teach 8th grade) are coming up with more excuses now a days. I’d like to say that they are realizing their voice, but they are always feeling like a victim when schools try to ban something, whether it be their actual freedom of speech, their clothes, their hair color, spinners and other “toys”, the list goes on. I like the idea of students creating rules for how the spinners are used, but at the same time, it’s something else that schools are bowing down to and I fear with all this new and old PC thinking education will get more out of control then I’ve seen it since starting my career 13 years ago and since I’ve been a student.
On a separate thought, I fear that these spinners are becoming a “drug” to students, like caffeine that some people must have every morning in order to function. I fear that the brain and body are being trained to always have something in their hands. It’s important to be able to sit quietly and listen to a speech, watch a movie, or attend a lecture.
That’s enough, I need to focus on solving the problems and not using band-aids to appease them.
The spinners are a BIG deal in Mexico too, contrary to some of the coments, at my sons school they were banned at recess, the use in the classroom is up to each particular teacher, my son is in 4th grade and has 3 diferent teachers all 3 agreed to permit the use during classes as long as they were silent and personal (no spinning competitions or show off tricks, the recess they explained was for getting up and moving
we are doing a class debate on fidgets. we think that not all kids need them. and if the school supplies them, it would cost 1200 dollars for all the students to have one. they get broken easily, and are too distracting. and fidget puddy is very messy.
I am an ADHD kid and I just don’t seem nothing useful on these spinners too, when I spinned one multiple times, I got kinda angry and distracted.
Everyone is really lazy to be creative, so the 2014 “loom bands” trend got away very quickly.
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Now i know every school when it comes to gym and lunch time they get bored for what 45 mins so you ban fidget and you see the student wanna bang their heads to the wall. Stress, boredom,, and strengthens focus.
I generally have no problem with fidgets. I can establish guidelines, boundaries, and consequences for misuse.
My question is of a more general nature: I have a student for whom we have yet to find the right fidget. Everything we have trialed only adds to his lack of focus.
How would I go about finding what works?
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