The toys which are intended to increase focus have gained popularity amongst older students.
Since our March 2017 story about the arrival of fidget toys to the middle school, they have gained quite a presence all over campus. Fidget toys are becoming a staple of all classrooms at Malvern.
“It’s something to do in class,” junior and fidget-owner Tim McLaughlin said.
The term ‘fidgets’ is an umbrella which contains a variety of therapy toys that revolve around a repetitive motion. They come in all shapes and sizes; rings, cubes, or spinners, fidgets are meant to harness any nervous energy.
At Malvern, fidget spinners are really taking off. They exist of three shapes protruding from a center circle which spin a circular motion for extended periods of time when pushed. The spinning circle can be balanced on the fingers or a variety of surfaces. You do not have to look at it in order to use it; it is something you can do mindlessly while performing another task.
These toys are the most popular in the classroom and a lot of students are seeing benefits to their work while they are in use.
“Everyone has them, they’re appealing, I use them in class, they spin really fast, and they look cool,” freshman Phil Gatti said.
Though they’re supposed to improve attention, fidgets may actually hurt it.
“It doesn’t really help me focus, it actually does the opposite.” Gatti said.
“It’s definitely a distraction,” chemistry teacher Dr. Agnese Abate said, “But it’s a stress reliever, and that’s good.”
When someone is using a fidget in plain sight, it can catch your eye and distract you. Some students are finding them to be bothersome.
“I find it kind of distracting when other students do it,” McLaughlin said, “Kids just flick it around and you want to look at it but you know you have to try to pay attention.”
Fidgets might be starting to become an issue in classrooms, but they may have some uses for outside of class as well.
“They’re a good outside of class reliever, but not in class,” Abate said.
Regardless of their positives and negatives, their popularity is undeniable. Fidget toys may be just a fad or they may just be here to stay.