Fidget spinners are the new craze among students much like Pokémon Go was last summer. And while these are driving teachers crazy, some people suggest that these spinners can actually help students focus. Is there any science behind this claim?
1. Squirming and spinning are not the same thing.
To date, there are no studies investigating the potential benefits of fidget spinners on either cognitive functioning or mental health.
However one study found that students with ADHD benefit from squirming and wiggling around to help to direct your focus rather than just sitting still. Does this mean that fidget spinners are helpful for those with ADHD? The authors of the study suggest that the spinning motion could actually be more distracting as it takes attention away from what the children are focusing on. In contrast, squirming or wriggling is a full body movement which engages the brain to focus attention.
2. Spinning as a stress relief?
A review article looked at the effectiveness on different types of sensory approaches like touch and sound and smell to destress. Unfortunately it was hard to draw clear conclusions from the study so we don't have any proof that fidgeting maybe useful as a stress relief.
3. Moving is still the best.
If parents are classroom teachers are looking to improve academic outcomes and grades among the students exercise is still the best way to achieve this. Numerous studies showthat physical exercise are greatly beneficial for all students, and improve attention, grades, and memory.
TAKE AWAY – As a toy, it’s better than staring at a screen. Just don’t rely on it to help your child pay attention.
By now we've all seen or heard of these new toys called fidget spinners. You, your kids or somebody you know most likely has one. Within the past few months, these spinning gadgets have taken the country by storm.
Always fun being on First Coast Living talking about memory tips from food, to sleep, to fun activites, from my book Training Your Brain For Dummies.
Training Your Brain interview Part 1
You know fidget spinners are a big deal when a reputable publication like The Atlantic runs a story with the following headline: "The Fidget Spinner Explains the World."