Fidget spinners – they’re the latest craze amongst children (and adults!) up and down the land with YouTube being full of people uploading videos of themselves doing tricks. Makers claim that it has health benefits and can relieve stress but what are the facts about fidget spinners? Let’s test the claims and find out:
What are they? Basically, a fidget spinner is a circular pad containing a bearing. Several ‘blades’ or ‘arms’ are attached to this pad which the user holds whilst spinning the blades. They come in a variety of materials and can sometimes be adjusted to affect the amount of vibration and noise they make. A very simple design for a very simple toy.
How long have they been around? A chemical engineer named Catherine Hettinger witnessed young boys in Israel throwing rocks at police officers. This inspired her to design a toy meant to release pent-up energy in children. The result was a spinning toy which she patented in 1993. Though very similar to Hettinger’s toy, the latest fidget spinners were developed and patented by different people over the last few years.
Health benefits? It’s been claimed that fidget spinners can help to calm stressed-out children and focus their attention. Because of this, many people believe that fidget spinners can help those with autism, ADHD or anxiety. Those who have difficulty filtering out background noise and activity can concentrate on their spinner which helps them to relax.
Do they work? Opinion is divided. Clinical psychologist, Scott Kollins, and director of the MIND Institute, Julie Schweitzer, say that the claims are unsupported by evidence. However, child psychologist, Megahan Walls, believes that many children do better when they are allowed to use a fidget spinner. The consensus seems to be that fidget spinners may be of some use to some people but are by no means an effective treatment on their own.
Verdict? Fidget spinners have become very popular but, like all crazes, I think their days will be numbered. How many still have a yoyo, a pogo stick or a Rubik’s cube? Already fidget spinners have been banned by some schools because they are a distraction to pupils. As to their health benefits, I think that, just like any toy requiring concentration, fidget spinners can help to relieve boredom and minor stress but they’re probably not the remarkable things some claim them to be.
For further reading, you may find the Education Quizzes Knowledge Bank of interest. It’s packed full of articles which aim to answer the questions asked by parents. Whether it’s the details of the National Curriculum or tips on child discipline, we have a library of knowledge at your fingertips! Well worth a look, for any parent.
Has your child got a fidget spinner, or perhaps you have? Education Quizzes would like to hear from you! Tell us what effect they’ve had, whether positive or negative. Maybe you can do amazing tricks with yours or perhaps it’s helped your anxious child to calm down. Whatever your story, please share it with us by filling in the comments box below.