A lot has happened in 2017 in and around schools, but one of the most notable trends is the fidget toy craze. According to the official Kickstarter page of Antsy Labs, the idea for the Fidget Cube emerged in 2012 and the Kickstarter was launched in 2016.
Shortly after, fidget spinners, another item designed to improve focus and attention, blew up. The toy was invented in the 1990s by Canadian inventor Catherine Hettinger (Newstalk).
In the span of mere months, magazine stands and gift shops in New York City have set the price for fidget spinners for around $20. They’re available at gas stations, drugstores like CVS, department stores like Tj Maxx and Ocean State Job Lot, and online.
It’s hard to say if fidget spinners are actually beneficial though. The yay arguments all center around attention: fidget spinners help students with anxiety, ADHD, and autism. On the other hand, scientific evidence has proved that multitasking negatively impacts attention, but some psychologists claim that for children with attention problems like ADHD, multitasking actually increases focus and concentration.
The controversial question is, however, if fidget spinners help student performance or ability to pay attention in school in general.
According to LiveScience, movement helps children with ADHD to focus. For autistic children, the sensory stimulation accomplishes a similar goal. Fidget spinners also act as a stress reliever, which helps students with anxiety gain more control over themselves.
For neurotypicals, however, fidget spinners are a visual distraction that actually takes away from the attention students should be devoting to teachers and classroom instruction.
They cause so many distractions that a plethora of schools in states have banned the toys— “schools in Massachusetts, Brooklyn, New York, Florida, Chicago, Illinois, and even across the pond in Manchester, England” (LiveScience).
Everyone is different, however, and whether fidget spinners positively or negatively affect attention is something that varies from person to person.
You can try out fidget spinners by going to virtually any store or browsing wish.com, where they average $3 to $5.
Carina Wang, Editor-in-Chief and Proud Owner of a Fidget Spinner
Junior Carina Wang is the Editor-in-Chief of The Colonel. She participates in PALESTRA. Outside of school, she can be found volunteering her time at humanitarian nonprofits or her doctor’s office, running a study inspiration Tumblr blog, or avidly refreshing PowerSchool.