Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Tool or Toy — Fidget Spinners

Tool or Toy — Fidget Spinners

Predictably, the popularity launched a wave of classroom bans - though we can't imagine the spinners are more annoying than last fall's YouTube-fueled fad, water bottle flipping. "Many parents are desperate", says Rapport. "They concentrate more", said Kevin Guy, the owner of 'Everything Hobby'. The FSA has recently launched an effort to prevent K-12 schools in the United States from banning the use of spinners.

In the school newsletter, Mr Hildrew wrote: "There is a new craze for fidget spinners which many students are bringing into school".

He sells about 250 of these new fidget toys every week. A game with tactile charm, high portability - especially on the playground - and fairly affordable cost make for a winning toy combo. Some are even trading them and passing them around like baseball cards. Over at Great West Wholesale, a toy supplier in East Vancouver, Claudia Tyzo has fielded a steady stream of calls from desperate toy-store owners.

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"Fidget spinners are critical accessories for individuals with anxiety, ADHD, excess energy and fidgety hands", Jill Dooley, executive director of the association, said in a statement released Thursday. "Moreover, again and again, we buy our children what they want, the moment they want it, without thinking if it is truly what they need".

Now there's a mounting backlash against fidget spinners-including in my 8-year-old's class, where her teacher has banned them.

Ennis says there are three things teachers and parents can do to help students utilize fidget spinners as tools instead of toys in the classroom. Research shows that when students are under-stimulated, they become restless and may act out as they feel to need to increase stimulation and physical comfort levels, affecting their ability to focus in the classroom. Originally touted as a focusing tool for the attention-deficient, the spinners took off this school year after a wave of YouTube videos purporting to teach tricks. And once the kids have got a fill of the Fidget Spinner, they'll soon be on to the next must-have gadget, leaving the Fidget Spinner to wind down until it's just another memory from 2017.

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For students who don't have that attention difficulty, this toy can be a distraction, hindering their concentration.

But outright bans concern some experts. "Fidget tools are a profound piece of the discussion, but they are just the tip of the iceberg".

Eventually, it was promoted as a toy for children with ADHD or autism who have a hard time focusing. While her test results were interesting, she can't endorse fidget toys yet.

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Image by Flickr user Ryan Dickey, licensed under Creative Commons.

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