The Truth About Fidget Toys

The new exciting toy that every kid wants isn’t an iPhone… it is a fidget toy.

For kids with ADD and autism, these little devices can have a positive impact in a student’s ability to focus in a classroom- there’s piles of research to prove it. Frankly, this isn’t a new or exciting idea. I’ve been handing out rubber bands and paperclips for a decade! Kids who struggle to focus in class can mindlessly manipulate these objects in their hands while bringing their main focus back to the point of instruction.

But like anything… they can become a problem.

Someone wrote an article about how these “spinning fidgets” can help kids focus in class. 

Image result for spinners help

They have become a plague.

Almost every kid in my classroom has one of these things. They spin them endlessly; on their noses, with friends, in pieces, upside down… it is basically the new “water bottle flip.”

The problem is that it isn’t just kids who have ADD and autism who are using these fidgets. Kids who’s brains focus on one thing at a time are bringing these things to school. All of their attention is on them. They play with them- because they are toys.

So, one of the teachers in our building created a poster with these rules:

The Fidget Rules

Fidget tools can help you concentrate, but only if they are used correctly.  These rules must be followed at all times so that the fidget tool will be useful. If these are not followed, the fidget tool will be taken away.

 You can hold it in your hand, feel it, move it, and/or spin it, but follow the Dos and Don’ts.

Dos

  1. YOU MUST BE LOOKING AT THE TEACHER
  2. YOU MUST BE LOOKING AT YOUR WORK
  3. YOU MUST BE DISCREET – Barely Noticeable

 

Don’ts

Don’t try to get your friends attention with it.

 Don’t share it with another student during class.

 Don’t make noise with the fidget.

 

We had a team meeting, and reviewed the rules. Then, when kids weren’t following the rules, I just started holding out my hand. They would then hand over the spinner and if they were nice about it, they could have it back at the end of class. If they were rude, (“WHAT? I wasn’t DOING anything? GOD!!”) I would keep it until the end of the day.

My favorite day was when I took one off of a kid’s nose.

Image result for fidget on nose

You know that this kid told his mom that buying this toy on Amazon would help him to focus. She had no idea that he would spend hours on youtube watching how to get the thing to spin on his nose.

Seriously- these things aren’t helping kids focus. They’re just another toy.

There are two kids on my team who benefit from the use of fidgets- they have elastics, and other devices that they’ve been quietly using for years. Those kids know how and why they need fidgets.

Please don’t give into the latest craze- it is impacting your kid’s ability to learn.

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