5 Rules for Fidget Toys in the Classroom

Fidget toys like fidget spinners, stress balls, and fidget cubes have become increasingly popular over the past few years. While these toys can help some students focus better by giving their hands something to do, they can also become a distraction in the classroom if not used properly. Here are some suggested rules teachers can implement for allowing fidget toys while minimizing disruption:

1. Obtain Parental Permission

Before allowing any fidget toys in class, teachers should first get approval from parents. Send home a letter explaining the benefits of fidgeting for some students along with your expectations for appropriate use. Ask parents to sign and return the form if they approve their child using a fidget toy. This ensures everyone is on the same page from the start.

2. Establish Limited Approved Items

Rather than letting students bring any fidget toy they want, specify 2-3 approved items they may use. Things like fidget cubes, stretchy rubber balls, and permitted fidget spinners are less distracting than gadgets with lights and sounds. Students must keep their fidget toys within these limitations.

3. Set Usage Guidelines

Make it clear that fidget toys may only be used silently at the student’s desk. Playing with them should not make noise, cause a distraction, or hinder learning. Fidget toys should enhance concentration, not become the focus. Students cannot walk around the room with them or show them off. Simple fidgeting that facilitates paying attention is the goal.

4. Ban Toys if Abused

If a student disregards the rules and plays with a fidget toy in a distracting, disruptive way, take the toy away and notify parents. Make it understood that if rules aren’t followed, fidget toy privileges will be revoked either temporarily or permanently for that student. Follow through on consequences consistently.

5. Store Toys When Not in Use

Students should keep fidget toys in their backpacks or desks when not being used. They should only be taken out during approved times, then put away again. This prevents losing them or having too much idle fidgeting. Kids should learn to limit usage to truly needed focusing moments.

By consulting with parents first and enforcing clear expectations, teachers can utilize fidget toys to enhance learning for certain students. Simple stim toys can help improve concentration, but students must use them appropriately and sparingly. Setting firm rules and parameters allows fidgeting benefits without classroom chaos. With a structured system in place, fidget toys can quietly boost focus rather than impede it.