Fidget Cubes
Parent Tips

Fidget Cubes, What Side Are You On?

Are you the type of person that whenever you have a pen in your hand you feel the need to either twirl it or click the top of it? Or do you fidget in other ways?

Brothers Matthew and Mark McLachlan created an object called the fidget cube to satisfy one’s fidgeting needs. The fidget spinners have received a great deal of attention among both adults and children. However, despite the increase in their popularity, they have been banned from schools as they are being used more for toys rather than as a tool for controlling fidgeting tendencies.

Some teachers are a bit more flexible allowing fidget spinners in their room as long as their use is not distracting to other students. In these classes, students may use their fidgets under their desk and out of sight. A relative to the spinner is the fidget cube.

The fidget cube is a six sided gadget with each side designed to please most fidgeting tendencies. There’s one side to satisfy the clicking need that many people have. There are 5 buttons to click on this side. Three of the buttons make sounds while the other two allow you to fidget in silence. The glide side of the cube consists of a joystick for users to glide across the surface. Another side called flip looks like a light switch that one could switch back and forth. The fourth side of the cube is referred to as breathe, because it is designed like worry stones which are said to provide anxiety relief. The roll side of the cube has tactile gears along with a ball that is also clickable. The final side of the cube is referred to as spin; it has a rotating dial. These six sides can satisfy all of a person’s need to fidget as well as be a fun toy to play with.

The idea of the fidget cube was presented August 2016 by the McLachlan brothers on Kickstarter. Their goal was to raise $15,000. They were funded in less than a day. The craze has only grown. Their Kickstarter now has 154,926 backers that have pledged over 6 million dollars. Fidget cubes are also sold on other websites for about $20 each.

Fidget cubes are desirable for people of all ages. Young children can use their fidget cube in school, while adults can easily use it at work. It is considered a vinyl desk toy. Its small size of just 1.3 inches makes this gadget easy to bring wherever you go!

Fidgeting is common.

Although some fidgeting may annoy coworkers or classmates, it is proven that fidgeting is good for you. Fidgeting helps students perform better on tests. According to Fast Company, when we fidget we are distracting the parts of the brain that may become bored while working. Therefore, fidgeting can help us pay better attention to the task at hand.

There is research that suggests that working with our hands correlates with increased memory and creativity.  Fidgeting is also proven to improve one’s health. Certain fidgeting acts can help reduce cardiovascular disease. In addition, research has shown that men tend to be more relaxed in stressful situations when they fidget. (The same has not been shown for women.)

Fidget Cubes

It is of popular belief that fidget cubes will help people focus, especially those with ADHD, however, this has not been proven scientifically. But, there are plenty of cases when fidget cubes can help children focus in school. Senior psychologist at the TLC Speech and Language Clinic, Dr. Cheryl Seah, says, “It may be helpful for a particular child with special needs, such as an anxious child with autism, who needs the sensory stimulation to regulate himself and not to focus on distracting sounds or lights in a classroom. (But) as the fidget spinner is both sensory and visually stimulating, it can distract peers and themselves visually.”

Every child is different.

What may work for one child may not work for another. For instance, 12 year old Ava Ramakrishnan has ADHD. She has tried using a fidget cube to control the fidgeting that her ADHD causes; however, the cube does not help because she simply feels the need to throw it instead. She prefers using another popular gadget called the fidget spinner. It is essentially the same idea, but children can only spin the device.

So if you’re questioning whether a fidget cube or spinner will be beneficial to you there’s no harm in trying. As I write this blog post I used the fidget cube for the first time to truly understand its value. Although it is a little hard to use the cube while typing, it was definitely useful for those writer’s block moments. I quickly spun the cube and got right back to writing.

Fidget Cubes


Written By: Emery Tedesco

Emery Tedesco is heading into her third year as a college student at the University of Delaware. She is studying Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education. Emery continually dedicates her time at Lakeview Elementary School aiding in a second grade general education and special education integrated co-taught classroom, assisting in summer reading/math camp, and volunteering in any classroom in need of support so she can continually spend time with children and refine her craft. At the University of Delaware, Emery dedicates her time to helping children through Project Sunshine whose mission is to bring joy to children in the hospital. In addition, she is a member of the Association of Pre-Professional Leaders in Education (APPLE). APPLE helps inspiring educators learn about the best steps to take as future teachers.

 


References:

“Fidget Cube: A Vinyl Desk Toy.” Kickstarter. Kickstarter, Aug. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/antsylabs/fidget-cube-a-vinyl-desk-toy

Liberatore, Stacy. “Do YOU Fidget at Your Desk? Bizarre Toy with Switches, Buttons and Clickers Claims to Be Able to Help – and Get You to Focus on Your Work.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3780244/Do-fidget-desk-Bizarre-toy-switches-buttons-clickers-claims-able-help-focus-work.html

Woo, Alyssa. “Feeling Fidgety? There Are Toys That Can Help You Focus.” The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co., 07 May 2017. Web. 09 May 2017.  http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/fidget-click-spin

Slow Learning
ADD/ADHD, Difficult Topics, Study Tips

Slow is Fast Enough When Learning

Quick, speedy, fast, and faster! That is how I like to get things done. That was the root of my difficulty with homework: I would dive right into reading, get overwhelmed because I was not reading quickly enough and I knew I had a lot of other work to do, but I did not know what it was. If all that other homework was going to take this long, there was no way I was going to be able to finish my work.

Then I would try to “speed read”. That never worked for me. Instead, I would “finish” a page and even if I had understood the main ideas, I certainly could not retain that information.

I needed to slow down. To take the time to plan and organize, as I explained in Plan First, Work Later.

I needed to understand that slow is fast enough. In class, I sometimes felt compelled to work faster than the other students and know the answer first. But when I was aware of that desire, I became anxious, skipped instructions, and made careless mistakes. I needed to slow down.

In middle school I worked on a poster with a friend, Caroline. We typed and printed a few headers and sentences to glue on the poster. Normally, I would have slapped on some glue and hoped that the piece of paper landed on the poster evenly. Caroline, though, first cut out colorful boarders for each write-up. Then she used a ruler to position each one perfectly. My anxiety from the amount of time this was taking was clear to both of us, and her mother, who calmly told me it would not take much longer and it would be worth it.

She was right. Caroline was slow, but our project was one hundred times better because of it. (For the record, in no other situation would I consider Caroline “slow”. She studied for history class on the bus ride to school and got better grades than I did. She’s also a Fulbright scholar).

According to neuropsychologist Dr. Sam Goldstein, (confirmed by numerous parents and teachers I have spoken with) slow is not fast enough in our current culture (2015). We expect our learners to learn a certain way at a certain pace and panic if they get behind. But people do not all learn the same way at the same pace.

“Adopt a learning to ride a bike mindset” Dr. Goldstein recommends. The experience gained simply from taking time and working on something new is valuable in and of itself.

You learn:

  • To learn from your mistakes,
  • To set realistic goals and celebrate the small wins,
  • To be optimistic and hopeful in the face of challenges,
  • How to deliberately practice to improve,
  • To realize that as you change something, the outcomes change too, which leads you…
  • To develop an internal locus of control.

And eventually, your child will learn to ride a bike. She has also learned all of those other great skills that will help her continue to learn and succeed.

So try to help give your child time:

  • When you notice yourself rushing, slow down and talk about it out loud so your child can hear. For instance, if you notice yourself searching frantically for keys, say, “Stop. Slow down. Think for a moment. Where might those keys be?”
  • Tell your child about a specific subject or concept that was difficult for you to grasp that you learned over time. For me, I had a really hard time understanding the Pythagorean theorem and thought I would get demoted to the lower math level for sure the next year. I kept getting C’s, which was low for me. But I kept doing my homework and re-doing old homework and quiz problems that I got wrong until I got the answer right multiple times without any help. It took a lot of time and it was boring doing the same problems over and over again, but I know the Pythagorean theorem and I did not move down to a lower math class the following year.
  • Be patient and empathetic while your child is working on something difficult. 
  • Praise him when he does take the time to work on a difficult project. “Wow. You sat for two hours and just worked on this project. And what a great poster you made! I am so impressed.” (Be as specific as you can be with your praise).

Finally, as Dr. Goldstein says, “Don’t panic when learning is slow”. Remind yourself of all the good lessons your child is learning!


References:

Goldstein, S. (2015). Managing behaviors. The Learning and the Brain Conference: Boston.