“Mom, can you take me to Learning Express? There’s something I want to get.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“I can’t explain it. It’s something for your hands. It’s supposed to help with fidgeting.”
“Do you know what it looks like?”
“Yes, Colin has one.”
Yes, my child wanted a fidget spinner.
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By now you’ve probably seen, or at least heard of, fidget spinners. There are different models like this one or this one, which are similar to what our daughter bought that day.
I have a fidget problem.
I constantly need to move my hands and hold things in them. If you’ve ever seen me teach a class or speak at an event, you are guaranteed to see me with something in my hands. Even when I do a webinar or a Facebook live event, I have to have something in my hands.
As someone who has ADHD, has 2 children with ADHD, and is constantly needing to move my hands, these fidget spinners seemed odd to me. I’ve spent my whole life making my own adaptations and learning ways to be productive. At first glance, fidget spinners and fidget cubes looked more distracting than anything else. I couldn’t understand how they would help to focus people.
Fidgets are good for kids when they’re learning because it helps them use the left and right side of their brains. It’s also good for a child who needs:
- repetitive motion
- busy hands
- sensory input
- help with active listening
- to calm children
But fidgets are usually quiet. Fidget spinners are new and the only fidget I’ve really seen that makes noise – even if it isn’t necessarily loud. There are a lot of debates right now over whether spinner fidgets should be allowed in the classroom. Teachers are finding them distracting and disturbing other students. The other night Katherine was reading a book while using her fidget spinner. I had started writing this post and was so distracted that I had to ask her to stop. A few days later I was trying to write this post again and Matt was working on his laptop next to me. He was playing with the fidget spinner and again, I was too distracted to finish this post.
Now that we have 3 in the house I can tell you they don’t help me (or our kids) to focus. They distract the user and the people around. They are tons of fun – even Matt is learning how to do tricks with them!
We’ve always had fidget toys in our house. We’ve used them for homework and one of our girl’s teachers actually has a fidget box in the classroom that we have contributed to.
We have over 20 fidgets in our house for almost every part of the body and none of these make noise or distract others. Here’s our list:
Wood Fidget Puzzle
These are my absolute favorite fidget toys. I hold it in my hand and move the cubes all around. I don’t need to look at it, it doesn’t make a sound, and it doesn’t distract anyone else.
There’s also this one which looks more fun. But personally, I find the colors more distracting.
This stretchy string can stretch 2 feet longer than the one above.
This one is neat too but it can be distracting because you want to see the cool colors move. However, this could be a great calming tool for kids to watch while they work on calming themselves down
Whole body fidgets
Do you know of any other fidgets that aren’t distracting? If so, share them in the comments so we can try them out!
Check out my tips on how to be productive with ADHD
Read more about how to teach your child to calm down
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