Fidget Spinners first entered the marketplace as a useful toy for children with Autism and other Attention Deficit Disorders but they soon became much more than that.
It wasn’t long before Fidget Spinners because a trend for children and teens who did not suffer from any disorders but began to use them as a toy almost as they would a yoyo.
A Fidget Spinner is a toy created from metal and plastic that is incorporates ball bearings in the center to spin the three outer lobes.
The Spinner is designed to be held in the center and once it gets going spins very fluidly.
As the name suggests the Fidget Spinner was designed to help children who do Fidget to be able to calm themselves by spinning the device. It is small enough that it was meant to be used while children are in classrooms or anywhere else where their concentration is needed.
As the Spinners were picked up by parents and teachers with Autistic and ADHD Children They soon caught on as a popular toy for other children and what started out as a simple toy became highly marketed and redesigned in different colors and even shapes.
Kids began to invent new ways of doing tricks with the Spinners, throwing them up and catching them, free spinning them on their fingers and spinning them in certain patterns. The Fidget Spinner became almost like a yo yo in terms of all the new tricks being done by them.
While the Fidget Spinner could have been good news if it had of stuck to children who really needed them, used so widely the Spinner has become more of a distraction in most classroom settings than a help. Some schools have banned Fidget Spinners from the classroom and even from the school saying they are causing more kids to loose focus than gain it as the toy was originally intended.
So are they an okay toy for most children to have even outside of school hours?
On the surface it seems like these little toys are nothing but a harmless toy, but a news station in Wisconsin recently tested a range of fidget spinners and concluded that some contained alarmingly high amounts of lead with one brand showing up 400 times the legal amount of lead. The lead is used often to soften the plastic but under certain conditions such as sunlight the plastic can start to break down allowing the lead to seep out and when children put them close to their mouths than can incidentally breathe in some of the particles containing lead. The affects of lead are irreversible and can be highly damaging, especially to developing children.
After the study had been done some of these products were recalled from toys stores and online outlets. But authorities warm there still could be some out there containing more lead than is meant. It has been advised that parents do their own research into trustworthy brands before purchasing one. While it is true that not every brand of Spinner has unwanted amounts of lead in it, it is still a good practice to be cautious with any plastic based toys and what they really contain.
Aside from lead testing studies there have also newly been studies into the actual effectiveness of Fidget Spinners and whether or not they even help children with their attention span. Some Scientists in the US decided to do a study to find out if there really was any merit for children suffering from attention disorders as many manufacturers of the toys claim there are. They saw that there had been before July 2017 no research had been done on the links between the Spinners and children’s attention. Without having actual scientific evidence behind them it appears that the advertising of the Spinners is false.
But there are some parents, Occupations therapists and Teachers who do claim when used correctly and by children who genuinely have Attention Disorders, ADHD, Autism and Anxiety they can be an asset. There are many parents blogging about the benefits they have seen with their children after using them and Occupation Therapists have long been using sensory toys as a way of letting children harmlessly fidget.
So if your child does suffer from a disorder that does affect their attention are Fidget Spinners for them? If you are choosing wisely from brands that you trust and that show no high amount of lead then it seems that a Spinner could do no other harm but provide them with a toy to fidget with. If you are going down this path there are also many other sensory toys that have been scientifically studied and proven to help children with Autism, Anxiety and ADHD to focus in the classroom. So it may be worth having a look at options that aren’t such a fad.
If your child wants a to join the fidget spinner craze and use it as more of a toy then after you have done your research onto selecting one from a reputable manufacturer, there could be no real harm, provided you encourage them to keep them for an after school and weekend toy so they are not distracting other children in the classroom and even the teacher and not taking away from the kids who really need them to be able to concentrate in class.