The benefits of a fidget spinner for your child’s development

The fidget spinner could be the answer to decreasing children’s screen time, experts say.


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

ALSO SEE: Too much screen time can affect early childhood development

Parenting expert Nikki Bush says that the fidget spinner could be the answer. Nikki, who has helped parents build relationships with their children, explains that 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,” she says.

The three-pronged toy, with a ball bearing in the middle to enable its spinning functionality is no larger than the palm of the hand. And playing is simple – kids hold onto the centre of the toy with their thumb and forefinger and spin as fast as possible with their remaining fingers.

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

The learning benefits of the fidget spinner: 

Nikki says fidget spinners are also being marketed for their “therapeutic value” for attention deficit disorder, anxiety and autism, but can also have an educational and developmental benefit. She says the toy is known to assist with:

  • Fine-motor control
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Muscle development in hands and fingers
  • Manual dexterity.

Why it’s fun

Nikki adds that the device provides an innovative way to play, and encourages kids to be physical and have off-screen fun.

What makes the fidget spinner fun?

  • It wakes up the brain.
  • It encourages perseverance.
  • It is collectable – there is a wide variety to choose from.
  • It’s creative and challenging.

What the experts say

Occupational therapist Cara Lee Weir-Smith describes the toy as “pure genius”, despite the fact that it’s considered disruptive in the classroom.

“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,” she says.

The fidget spinners are available from Toy Kingdom stores countrywide from R79.

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