So, What’s the Spin on Fidget Spinners: Helping or Hindering?

fidget spinners

With the latest fad spinning out of control across the world, what do educators think about the takeover of fidget spinners in the classroom? Nobody can deny that these rotating hand-held toys are fun to play with, but do they really help a child focus in the classroom as advertised?

Do Fidget Spinners Really Help with Concentration?

Retailers have been marketing these toys as a way to calm children with anxiety, ADHD, and autism so that they can better focus in school. But at this point, the jury is still out on the truthfulness of these claims. No research has been conducted to test out the benefits of fidget spinners.

There is evidence that fidgeting can help children, especially those with ADHD, pay better attention to the task at hand. In a study published in the June 2015 issue of the  journal Child Neuropsychology, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute of the University of California, Davis found that kids with ADHD who fidgeted and squirmed more intensely wound up performing better on a test that required their attention.

But for the general population of children fidget-spinning away, educators are questioning whether these palm-sized toys-in-motion (sometimes with lights and music) are more of a distraction than a learning aid. Parents and educators wonder: “Will a child playing with a fidget spinner really be able to pay attention to a math lesson? Don’t they need their hands to take down notes in class?”  Some teachers even claim they distract other kids that are mesmerized by their fellow classmate’s spinning tricks and shenanigans. After all, if a classmate with a spinner says, “Hey, watch this,” wouldn’t it be hard to resist?

Since there is no conclusive evidence supporting the benefits of this latest childhood trend, more and more schools have chosen to ban fidget spinners during class time. Teachers are looking at other non-distracting ways to allow kids to “fidget” when they get restless, including switching chairs or even chewing gum. If you have a child that has unique learning needs, like a need to move around frequently, you can work one-on-one with a teacher to develop strategies customized for your child.

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