I’m not normally an advocate of buying cheap junk from China, but I made a special exception when I saw these rubber balls at the dollar-spot at Target today. To the untrained eye they look like yet another object that’s going to float around the back seat of your car or annoy you when you are trying to vacuum. To a teacher’s eye, they are the perfect “fidget toy”. At a dollar a pop, they are also a steal.
When I taught K/1, our team wrote a special grant to buy toys like this. We kept them in a basket on the rug for circle time. Instead of calling them toys, we referred to them as “learning tools”. Every child was allowed to choose a learning tool when it was time to sit still and pay attention.
There is research to support that fidget toys help children with ADHD focus and attune. But if a teacher only has fidget toys available to the kids who really need them, then that can be stigmatizing. Having a basket of learning tools available to everyone is so much kinder.
You know, now that I think about it, having a few of these hang out in my car isn’t such a bad idea after all. That might be helpful for carschooling.