Other schools have banned fidget spinners, but this school has embraced them

Pupils learn how to make their own fidget spinners at Roslyn Primary School.
Pupils learn how to make their own fidget spinners at Roslyn Primary School. Photo: Warwick Smith/Stuff

Fidget spinners – the latest children's toy worldwide sensation – are an essential past of lessons in one classroom.

Shunned by some schools, who say they're a distraction, the influential Forbes magazine has named the spinners and fidget cubes the top toys in 2017.

At Roslyn School in Palmerston North, New Zealand teacher Mandy Veza is not fighting against the tide and is embracing the toys' learning power.

With another teacher, she has created a fidget spinner challenges kit and a booklet of lessons, using the spinners for science, technology, maths, communication, teamwork and problem solving.

Pupils are measuring circumference, diameter, seconds of spin time, building their own spinners from nuts, ball bearings and cable ties and testing different designs.

Later, they will do a letter-writing exercise presenting their thoughts to the school principal about why they think fidget spinners are good or bad.

"They've all got them at home. They're a big thing right now," Veza said.

"We want to engage our children and have more hands-on activities. We find students that just sit, get bored, and then we get behaviour problems, so we wanted to use the fidget spinners to get them engaged and talking and working on their oral language."

She has seen significant benefits for two children with ADHD, who use the spinners.

Advertisement

"[One] can now sit and concentrate for half an hour, whereas before he couldn't. It has made a huge difference and he finds it really good when he gets upset and angry."

The other uses one when watching TV and finds it helps him relax.

Now Veza has set out to test how the rest of the class react and will be observing throughout the lessons to see if their use creates distractions. "For those children that do stay on task and do their work, I don't think it's going to put them off, but I'm not 100 per cent sure they are going to be suitable for everyone in classrooms."

Other Manawatu principals are taking a cautious, but interested approach.

Lytton Street School principal Ben Ward-Smith said the fidget spinner craze had well and truly arrived in Feilding.

"I know kids find them heaps of fun and are enjoying using them a lot.

"So if it's fun and they play with them appropriately and they don't cause any problems then we don't have any problems at the school."

However, as with any items, teachers would use their discretion depending on what was happening in each class.

Ross Intermediate principal Wayne Jenkins was yet to be convinced the possible educational value was worth the distraction, but said they were a "pretty cool" toy.

Zakia Sayed, 8, from Vezas' class, said she was learning to balance the spinner on her nose and on her pinky finger and keep it spinning.

"Some people like that it can calm them down, but some people just like that there's lots of colours and you can do tricks," she said.

Dakodah Nathan, 9, saved his pocket money to buy a fidget spinner, and has his eye on a new gold and multicoloured one on the internet.

He was enjoying using them for lessons in class.

"Mine was going for 311 seconds. It's fun."

- Stuff