Should Your Child Play with Fidget Toys?
If there’s one thing that brings generations together, it’s toy crazes of their youth. Everyone remembers the toys they once begged their parents for, only to be disinterested with them soon after. But we NEEDED it! Everyone else at school had it! Fast forward to 2017 and not much has changed, as the toy crazes keep on coming. The latest buzz in school hallways around the country is fidget toys. But there’s something different about this trend: it may be good for you.
Fidget toys aren’t anything new. They’ve been used for years by parents and occupational therapists to aid children with ADD and ADHD. As special education teacher Melissa Ferry wrote on friendshipcircle.org, “Fidget toys are self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening.” Essentially, they occupy a restless child’s hands to help them pay attention in school or during other activities. Instead of sharpening their pencil every five minutes or poking their desk neighbor on the shoulder, they can spin or click away with these sensory toys.
They only recently entered the mainstream as a recreational toy. Kids have been selling out toy stores’ (including Magic Beans!) stocks of fidget cubes and spinners. Don’t worry, because we have more online and in store. Many children have found that the toys are helping them focus, while some just love the satisfying feel of a spin. What we really love about them is how simple and useful the toy actually is. We have a feeling that these will occupy kids much longer than its toy craze predecessors.
Bridget Dujardin, Owner and Occupational Therapist at Boston Sensory Solutions in Milton, is pleased with the influx of sensory toy popularity. “If they’re flying off the shelves, they’re obviously meeting a huge need for some children” she says. She believes that if they’re utilized not as a toy but as a tool to hone a child’s focus, then they could aid learning. However at the moment, since they’re such a popular toy, it’s likely they’re a distraction and are not suitable for school. “But if the child is just using them during free time for enjoyment,” she says, “they’re beneficial for play.” Dujardin believes it can be a great tool during free time and “a very developmentally appropriate toy for school-age children” as they promote motor strength and visual processing.
Adults can’t get enough of them either. They’re addicting to fiddle with during conference calls, long meetings, and plain old desk boredom. If you think your child is too distracted to bring their toy to school, confiscate it and use it during work. We won’t tell. You can find our selection of fidget toys online or at your closest Magic Beans location. Our store staff will point to them the second you say, “do you have fi-”. We’re well versed in this craze and we’re here to help. Check out the spinners, cubes, and much much more!