You might have noticed that there is suddenly an influx in the market of Fidget Cubes and Fidget Spinners for ADHD, ADD, Autism, SPD, PTSD, and Anxiety. In fact, my son who is in high school told me fellow students are purchasing Fidget Spinners by the box full and selling them on their off periods to fellow classmates because they are so popular! Some schools are investing in these items while other schools have banned them entirely.
Why the rage with Fidget Cubes and Fidget Spinners? Are they a help or a hurt for adults and children with disabilities, anxiety, or those of us who are typical but need a bit of distraction or calming?
What are Fidget Cubes?
What’s a Fidget Cube?
Fidget Cubes were created as a Kickstarter campaign by Matthew and Mark McLachlan of Denver, CO. You can order the original Fidget Cubes through their company here, although I’ve been told there is a long wait to receive the item.
Where do I get one?
Fidget Cubes, as well as many knock-off brands, can now be purchased on Amazon.
Click here for a variety of Fidget Cubes that are available. Prices range from $2-20. Be sure to read reviews as some of the knock-off brands tend to break easily.
What all does it do?
The Fidget Cube has 6 sides and each side has something to keep you busy:
- Spin – Circular dial you spin
- Roll – Gears (that click) and a roller ball
- Breathe – Like a traditional worry stone, a smooth indentation to rub
- Flip – A switch to flip, provides a clicking feel and sound
- Glide – A mini-joystick to move. Also clicks up and down
- Click – For the pen lovers, 5 buttons to click
Fidget Cubes are smaller than you might expect and fit easily into your pocket.
Who uses Fidget Cubes?
Fidget Cubes are marketed as a helpful stress relief for ADD, ADHD, PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, people with anxiety, and more. They are now being used in school classrooms and even making their way into the work place.
When my daughter brought us Fidget Cubes as a late Christmas gift this week, I was curious to try them out. We have several family members with ADD or ADHD and a couple who have to be fidgeting with something at all times. (Note, not all our kids with ADHD are fidgeters.)
In the past we’ve used a variety of sensory strategies of various types and my husband and kids love Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. Check out this marble fidget toy for another quiet option recommended by teachers.
I have found this little Fidget Cube soothing and I don’t have ADD or ADHD. I find myself picking it up while at the computer waiting for something to load or while sitting watching TV. It is soothing and a calming distraction. I’m not normally one to fidget, either. In fact, my whole family has commented, “Mom, I never thought you would like this thing!” But I have.
I can still concentrate on something else and fiddle with it, although if I really had to focus I would put it down.
The name brand Fidget Cube has “silent options” on every side but the knock offs don’t. Also a child wouldn’t necessarily abide by that anyway. This thing clicks the same way a pen clicks over and over. I could see this driving co-workers or fellow classmates crazy if you did it 100 times in a silent room.
I would not recommend this for church because of the clicks, which is too bad because otherwise this would be a great church bag item. I could see handing this to kids in a doctor’s waiting room or while heading through the aisles while shopping, provided they could keep track of it. The one we got has a little wrist strap.
Although Fidget Cubes click, overall they are quiet and not overly stimulating. I would recommend a Fidget Cube for a person with ADHD who needs to fidget or simply enjoys something to keep hands busy.
I also find it soothing for anxiety and stress.
What are Fidget Spinners?
What’s a Fidget Spinner?
Fidget Spinners are a small spinning toy that you hold between 2 fingers.
Where Do I Get a Fidget Spinner?
Fidget Spinners have become incredibly popular in recently months to the point that they are back ordered online and sold out in stores.
Who uses Fidget Spinners?
Fidget Spinners are super-popular with kids, even more so than Fidget Cubes. Kids at my son’s high school buy Fidget Spinners by the boxful and sell them to other students.
Fidget Spinners are marketed as a sensory toy in the same category as Fidget Cubes, but many teachers and schools see them as two totally different items.
The Controversy With Fidget Spinners
Occupational Therapist Victoria Prooday wrote this article recently, Fidget Spinners: The Danger of the Fidget Epidemic. Her point?
We’re continually overstimulating our kids. Between the i-pad, video games, the television, and other sensory overload, our kids cannot handle boredom.
Yes, a few children do need sensory calm-down items, but there is too much of a good thing. Even the children who need it also need to learn how to cope without it.
Children who need sensory items need to be taught how to use the calm-down item without it becoming a distraction, and in my experience as a mom of kids with special needs, this is always the challenge.
My friend Jaime Christ, a mom and teacher, shares this:
If Fidget Spinners helped kids to concentrate, the teachers – who want more than anything for kids to concentrate – would not be banning them.
For fidget items to be effective, they have to be in the background.
The fidget cubes are different. (They are lower-profile, the movements are smaller, they can be held in a hand under the desk while someone works, and they don’t take two hands to operate.) Other ideas like squeeze balls and bands across the legs of desks are used effectively across the country to provide stimulation.
Kids who do and don’t have attention issues are using Fidget Spinners as toys because they are toys – cleverly marketed toys – much like Nutella was once branded as a healthy breakfast food.
Fidget Spinners have their place as a fun toy. Pull them out for once in awhile just as you would any other fun toy or as a reward for hard work accomplished.
I could also see Fidget Spinners proving helpful for a child who does not calm in other ways, such as a child with autism who overstimulates and rages in a crowded place. If a Fidget Spinner helps this child soothe, look – go for it. I’m not going to judge you because if it works, do it my friend and I have your back. I’ve parented children who rage and you do what you have to do.
Unlike Fidget Cubes (which would be distracting in a silent room but not otherwise bothersome), Fidget Spinners are visually stimulating and distracting, both for the user and for others around him. I cannot image a classroom full of kids using these during a work time.
Do you or your kids use Fidget Cubes or Fidget Spinners? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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