By Barb Kelly, Clinical Psychology Registrar
It seems every kid has one. I waited for weeks patiently for mine to arrive from ebay. I eventually gave up waiting and bought an over-priced one. Because I just HAD to have one. Fidget spinners. In case you haven’t seen the craze, a fidget spinner is a simple hand held toys that have ball bearings and can spin and be used to do tricks. Think yo-yos, rubiks cubes or even the rubiks ring master! Kids love them, but teachers seem to hate them! Many schools have banned them in the class room, and some have taken to requesting a letter from a medical professional to allow into the classroom.
So should the fidget spinner be banned?
For the Pro argument, teachers identify that while they may be calming, they are visually distracting for those around the ‘fidgeter’. Having been mesmerized by the fidget spinners myself, I can understand this!
On the ‘Against’ argument for banning them, research tells us that children learn better with movement. A recent systematic review of the research found that physical fitness and bouts of activity benefit children’s functioning. After 4 days sitting in lectures at a Neuropsychotherapy conference this week (yes, a conference about brains!!), I was half tempted to start writing letters and painting posters to protest as I could see the idea that fidgeting and movement is so important!
Regardless, recent articles have identified that there are definitely here to stay.
So I propose a third option. Educators can choose to follow children’s interest and build them into learning. This great article lists ways to build fidget spinners into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum.
Inspired, I incorporated fidget spinners into the therapy clinic. Here I used the spinner to land on an emotion zone and then got children to act out or share a time they felt in that emotional zone.
So what do you think? Ban the Fidget Spinner, allow free range or use it in teaching?