Be they spinners, cubes or slime. Fidgets are the bane of most primary teacher’s lives. The year started with dabbing and bottle flips and now has descended to this. Some are embracing the current trend and others, like myself, have banned them outright.
Why though? They are a distraction for children who are already easily distracted and those who are looking for an excuse to switch off. While I understand a need for them for some children, the mass appeal has led to a rise of, “I need it ’cause I fidget, and it helps me focus.” Really? Then why are you spinning it and looking at the pretty colours instead of listening when I’m trying to tell you how to work out change when you go to a shop? Or when I’m teaching you about how to carry out your science project that’s due next week? Or when you are supposed to be writing down your homework?
While there are great ideas on how to incorporate these into the curriculum regarding balance for P.E, technology, and science for their understanding, art to design your own and involving them in a picture, it worries me it is setting a dangerous precedent. What about the next fad that will arrive in classrooms come August? Then again in January? How will we be expected to work the next phenomenon into an already packed curriculum?
How will we meet the needs of children in the future when they get to a point in life where they will have to sit down and do things, be it high school, university or the world of work? I know I won’t feel confident when seated in a doctor’s office in the future and the only way he can listen to me is with a fidget in his hands as he looks at it spinning. Is that what we should be doing to prepare our students for the future?
There are times and places for fidget toys and spinners. It is just not in the classroom.