Fidget spinners encourage a ‘brain-body play experience’ for kids

Parenting expert Nikki Bush says the fidget spinner could be the answer.

Time spent in front of a laptop computer or mobile device is a growing phenomenon among children around the globe and all parents want to know how they can limit their children’s screen time and encourage more time outdoors.

Bush, who has helped parents build relationships with their children by turning “very ordinary, everyday moments into extraordinary memories”, says the toy is the distraction children need from a smart phone and gaming screen.

“The fidget spinner has taken the world by storm and it is the one toy distracting children from screens and giving them a different brain-body play experience,” Bush says.

The three-pronged toy, with a ball bearing in the middle to enable its spinning functionality, is no bigger than the palm of the hand.

And playing is simple – kids should hold onto the centre of the toy with the thumb and forefinger and spin as fast as possible with the remaining fingers.

“The objective is to spin as fast as possible for as long as possible and every day kids are finding new ways to play with them,” she says.

According to Bush, fidget spinners are also being marketed for their “therapeutic value” for ADHD, anxiety and autism, but can also be seen from an educational and developmental point of view.

She says the toy is known to assist with:

• Fine motor control,

• Hand-eye coordination,

• Muscle development in hands and fingers, and

• Manual dexterity.

Why it’s fun

Bush says the device is an innovative and fun way to play and encourages kids to be physical and have some off-screen fun.

“It’s a toy with a difference and even watching children play with a fidget spinner is fun.

“Imagine actually playing with one,” she says.

What makes the fidget spinner fun?

• It wakes up the brain,

• It encourages perseverance,

• It is collectible with a wide variety to choose from,

• It is creative and challenging.

Occupational therapist Cara Lee Weir-Smith describes the toy as “pure genius”, despite being considered disruptive in the classroom.

In her professional opinion: “Schools should be fun and kids should enjoy the school experience.

“Every child should be given the opportunity to learn in a way that works for them in the classroom, and some, if not many, would certainly benefit from a small amount of socially acceptable, appropriate fidgeting,” Weir-Smith says.

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