Fidget Spinners: Helpful toy or annoying distraction?

Fidget Spinners: Helpful toy or annoying distraction?

It’s the toy taking the classroom by storm. Kids love ‘Fidget Spinners’ but some school districts have banned the toys- saying they’re disrupting the learning environment.

Fidget Spinners and Fidget Cubes are the latest in a series of toys/tools (think Rubik’s cube or worry stones) geared toward helping the user focus, or calm themselves down.

For kids like Braylon Church, it’s more than just a toy.

Like some kids his age, the Post Falls 11-year-old thinks school is boring. But, for him, it’s a different kind of boring. When he was in third grade, Braylon was diagnosed with ADHD.

I honestly don’t know that much about it, but, it’s hard for me to stop moving,” Braylon said. “In class when I’m sitting there I kick my feet,” he said.

He kicked his feet so much, his mom Lisa said he wore down pair after pair of shoes. Now, he has a Fidget Spinner this week- and loves it.

“The one that’s really popular is the spinner toy. Kids are really fascinated with that one,” said Kevin Waite at Frontier Behavioral Health.

One of Waite’s clients introduced him to the fidget toys. He uses them to help kids work through tough emotions.

“What I really notice is they really need that ability to keep their hands busy. So once you can get them to keep their hands busy, then they can really start focusing on their thoughts,” Waite said.

“There’s research to support the use of fidgets, and the spinners are just the latest greatest that have gone mainstream with kids,” said Chris Moore with Spokane Public Schools.

Fidget spinners help kids focus that anxiety or stress or distraction- and, they’re cool.

“I can just sit there and class and go like this under my desk, and I can alternate hands and do it too when I’m writing and it just really helps me focus,” Braylon said.

But are they too cool? What happens if one kid’s helpful tool, becomes his classmate’s distraction?
Some school districts say it already has, and have closed their doors to the fidget toys.

Spokane Public Schools says they haven’t had a major problem yet.

“The line would be were it starts to interfere with that students learning environment, or the learning environment of others,”

If nearly every kid in nearly every classroom has them, it’s a possibility. But not one they hope to have to deal with.

SPS and other schools, like Braylon’s in Post Falls, have plans in place.

“They say we can have them as long as they don’t see them or hear them and if they’re under our desks. But, if they become a distraction we can’t use them anymore,” Braylon said of his teachers.

SPS actually includes the toys, or similar devices, in behavioral or success plans for some of their students.

“We absolutely need to have these in our classes for the students who have the need,” Moore said.