A Parent's Guide to Fidget Spinners
If you're the parent of a school-age child, you have no doubt heard the words "fidget spinner" come out of their mouth. In fact, they have probably already begged for one a hundred times. My child is playing with one right now as I write this. Fidget Spinners are the new it thing among the school age crowd. Everyone has one, or ten, or wants one. You may have already tried to purchase one for your child, only to be told that they are sold out. You might be asking yourself what the big deal is. Why are these twirling gadgets such a huge thing? I'd like to talk a bit about these toys and let you know why I think they are more than just the latest passing fad.
What is a Fidget Spinner?
Fidget Spinners are a toy that generally consists of a central bearing around which prongs spin. They can be made of metal or plastic and come in a wide variety of colors and styles, though the most popular are of the three-pronged variety. You hold this gadget in your hand and spin it around. The bearing makes the motion smooth and nearly effortless, allowing for ease of use and an incredibly fast rate of spin. The different models range from relatively simple to flashy and complicated looking, though they all run on this same simple setup.
The Origin of the Fidget Spinner.
Fidget Spinners were originally designed to help children with ADHD, Autism, and other sensory conditions, control their need to "fidget" while involved in classroom activities where such motions might be inappropriate and distracting to other students. Invented in 1993 and patented in 1997, Catherine Hettinger is credited with being the inventor of this toy. Unfortunately, though she sold a few of them, her patent expired before the recent craze took off and she hasn't really profited from the invention.
Benefits of Using the Fidget Spinner.
Have you ever been sitting at a table in a conference room and found yourself relentlessly clicking your ball point pen? Or maybe as a student, did you walk your pencil across your knuckles as the teacher lectured? It's human nature to fidget when bored, even for those of us who do not suffer from stress or anxiety disorders. But did you know that by doing those small, meaningless activities, you were actually helping yourself to concentrate and stay on task? Most of us partake of those exercises less now than we did as kids, but we still do them on occasion. The use of a focusing device such as these popular toys has proven to be an asset in helping kids with ADHD, ADD, Autism, anxiety disorders and stress disorders, concentrate in class. They provide a harmless outlet for the student, reducing distractions and outbursts that often disrupt the classroom environment. There is even some belief that the use of these devices by kids who lack the above disorders may provide some benefit in concentration and redirect boredom.
Issues With Fidget Spinners.
Though these toys are harmless in themselves and might even be beneficial in the classroom setting, their sheer popularity has been a cause for concern among teachers. Some schools have even banned them from the classroom, citing that they cause more distraction than they prevent. For this reason, children who do not suffer from the specific disorders that the toy was designed for, might be encouraged to save the spinner for at home when they are watching television or doing their homework. Children who do suffer from those disorders can present a doctor's note (in some cases a parental note is sufficient) and the school will most likely allow them to use the device in class.
Whether you have a kid with Autism, ADHD, or other sensory disorders, or you just have a son or daughter who desperately wants to get in on the latest trend, these devices are relatively low priced and safe. The biggest issue you may have is obtaining one, given their popularity and the number of stores that are selling out. If you are lucky enough to find a place that has them in stock, you might consider picking up an extra for yourself and your spouse. After all, adults get bored too and who wouldn't want a little toy to fidget with once in awhile?
Here at the Magnetic Cables Store, we have several manufacturers lined up to deliver a variety of great fidget spinners. Please check out our Fidget Spinner collection here.