Fidget Spinners: New Toy is Spinning Out of Control

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There’s always a new must-have toy that all the kids want and the current craze, fidget spinners, are spinning out of control.

Elementary and middle schoolers are racing to stores to buy these boredom busting toys, which are meant to help with focus.

Teachers all across the country, even here in central Iowa, think they are too much of a distraction for the classroom.

Some adults and parents told Learning Post Store Owner Kym Howe they don’t quite understand the fascination with this new craze, but they are flying off the shelves.

“We found them in about February and got them in April 6th and sold thousands of them in about a month,” Howe said.

They are intended for people with ADHD, ADD, autism or anxiety, who needed a sensory item to “fidget” with and help them focus.

“I know a child that used to pull out her hair when she read. And it got kind of worrisome actually. And at the time I didn’t know about fidgeting. And had I known that I could have maybe suggested a fidget at that time. Anything from a stress ball to something like this. Just something to keep from pulling and twisting the hair,” Howe said.

Many teachers and schools, including Merrill Middle School, are banning them from the classroom because they have become too distracting.

“The thought behind it was, the students could spin something like this and it would get them refocused. That works for about eight or nine kids who truly have a need. For everybody else it’s just the latest toy. It’s kind of fun. I have one, you watch me, you want one. Then all of our friends want to be cool like us,” Merrill Middle Vice Principal Diane Kehm said.

Kehm said kids were trying to do tricks in class like balancing it on their nose or arms and other kids were paying attention to the tricks rather than the lessons.

Howe said they really are a satisfying toy and she even uses them at work to help her refocus on what she was doing or take a little break.

“It really is a nice feeling. The spin, the vibration- it’s just a slight vibration. The fact that there’s no noise. It doesn’t distract others if you use it properly. A good fidget is only something that is out of sight, one handed and really preferably can be in a pocket,” Howe said.

Howe said there are some teachers at other schools who do allow them in the classroom.

“Some teachers like them, some don’t. We have teachers who work here who say they are fine in class as long as I don’t see them and some teachers are totally against them and we understand both sides of the equation,” Howe said.

She added, whether they are banned or not they keep flying off the shelves. She said they sold almost 7,000 in just one month.

Howe said they have all different sizes and colors in stock at the Learning Post and wanted to remind everyone they are not just for kids.