Are fidget spinners good or bad?

Right now, most children either have a fidget spinner or have asked for one. If you’re a parent, you’re probably wondering what they are, and if you really should be investing in one for your child. But if they’re suggested to help your child, why are school’s banning them? Find out what they’re all about and decide whether it’s something your child needs.

Fidget spinners are a small toy that consist of a bearing and two or three prongs around the outside. They have been suggested as ‘fidget toys’, and have recently become a craze among children.

As mentioned in our previous post about fidget toys (see here), these are most appropriate for children with high thresholds for tactile input, as they provide them with the input they seek, so they can concentrate on their primary task (i.e. sitting, listening). But for a child who doesn’t need a toy for this purpose, it might distract them more from what they are doing, and cause issues for concentration rather than benefits.

As a type of fidget toy, a fidget spinner could be appropriate if required. The small size of the toy can fit into a child’s hand and can produce movement easily, without requiring large movements. However the recent tools on the market are brightly coloured, which could be visually stimulating for children, and some are noisy if not well-made and the bearings are not in place correctly.

But for children who do not need a fidget toy functionally, they are simply a toy, and should not be suggested or approved as a fidget tool for school or in other inappropriate situations and environments. If a child has sensory needs and might benefit from a fidget toy, this should be discussed with an Occupational Therapist in order to determine the best fidget toy for the child. Children who benefit from fidget toys have specific needs, and the fidget toy should be carefully chosen or designed for the best use.

So the answer to your question – are fidget spinners good or bad? Neither. They are just a tool that could be effective for some children, but there are plenty of options for fidget toys on the market that should be carefully considered before making a choice. It really depends on what the individual needs.


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