If you haven’t noticed, fidget spinners are all the rage right now.
(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to read an article from Forbes about fidget spinners. You will see them everywhere after reading!)
And while fidget spinners are a craze right now, fidget toys are not new.
In fact, my oldest son used them when he was in kindergarten…
Create Your Own Fidget Factory Using Spielgaben
*Disclosure: I received a Spielgaben set to review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only choose to share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy. We absolutely adore this set and will be using it in our homeschool this year. Stay tuned!
Our fidget backstory…
Our oldest son absolutely adored preschool, due in large part to a phenomenal student-teacher match. His preschool teacher understood him and appreciated his passion, boundless energy, and non-stop questioning. He had a blast those two years, and he blossomed.
And then he went to kindergarten.
If I’m being perfectly honest, we knew it would be a tricky year. But we told ourselves it would be okay.
He’ll be fine.
He might love it.
They might get him.
He’ll make new friends.
Kindergarten is fun!
It’s only half day.
We need time to figure it out.
As the year wore on, my son’s complaints about school increased. He would climb in my car at the end of the day and ask,
Do I have to go tomorrow?
Our passionate little guy, our energetic little fellow, our creative thinker was losing his love of learning.
By spring, we had a mounting pile of behavior slips and a testing appointment with a psychologist upstate, and by Memorial Day weekend we had an answer.
Our son is profoundly gifted. At age 6, in kindergarten, he had cognitive abilities above the 99.9th percentile and academic abilities two to six years above grade level.
And yet, he floundered in kindergarten.
He’s always been a wiggle worm and so it came as no surprise that he had trouble sitting still in kindergarten. He tipped in his seat, he smuggled his paperclip collection to school so he’d have something to play with, he spoke out of turn, he asked endless questions of the teacher.
The school responded by giving him a fidget, hoping it would help.
Fidgets in your homeschool
Fortunately, with homeschooling, we no longer have a strong need for fidgets. My son spends hours outdoors daily, running and climbing. He is able to get the physical activity he craves, and he’s never been happier.
But, let’s be honest here- fidgets are still fun.
Create your own Fidget Factory
Despite this hilarious internet meme, homeschoolers are not immune to the fidget spinner craze. My kids have played with their friends’ spinners. And, after hearing that a soccer teammate made his own using parts of a skateboard, my kids were inspired.
They decided to make their own “Fidget Factory” and this led to an afternoon of tinkering fun and play!
Ideas for your Fidget Factory
If you think your kids would love to create a Fidget Factory, the set-up is simple. All they need is their imagination and some basic supplies.
Here are some of the materials we used:
- silly putty
- natural materials (sticks, stones)
- rubber bands
- pipe cleaners
- origami paper
- materials from our recycle bin
We keep many of the above supplies in the kids’ Tinker Kit. (Our Tinker Kit is the best $5 I have ever spent!)
My children used a variety of materials to create their fidgets, but they had the most fun – and the best results- using our Spielgaben set.
For the uninitiated, Spielgaben offers a sophisticated approach to child development for children ages 3-12 years.
Housed in wooden drawers, all 14 Spielgaben play sets are made from non-toxic and sustainable materials. The play sets are absolutely stunning and come with oodles of lesson plans and play invitations. The play sets are designed to be used in sequence in a developmentally appropriate manner.
There are countless benefits to using these high-quality, open-ended materials and you can read my full review here for more information.
In the coming months, I will be sharing how we use Spielgaben in our homeschool. In particular, I have a series planned in which I will pair fantastic picture books and hands-on learning activities using Spielgaben.
Until then, we play…
Play is learning
One of the many reasons that I have fallen head-over-heels for Spielgaben is the fact that it is such a high-quality, play-based resource.
Yes, we made fidget spinners.
(This may not seem particularly “educational” to some, but I assure you- this is learning at its best!)
As my children played with the Spielgaben set, they were learning about and working on:
- STEM skills
- cause and effect
- creativity and imagination
- centripetal acceleration
- center of gravity
- fine motor skills
Our Fidget Factory Results:
Photos don’t do our Spielgaben Fidget Spinners justice, so I am sharing video demonstrations with you all!
Fidget Spinner #1
My oldest called this fidget “absolutely mesmerizing” and I would have to agree with him!
Fidget Spinner #2
My kids had a blast making these fidget spinner “tops” using Spielgaben. They experimented with different sizes and shapes to see which design would spin the longest and the fastest. This was their favorite design:
Fidget Spinner #3
Inspired by those classic helicopter-flyer toys, this fidget will keep your hands busy!
Fidget Spinner #4
This one is just pure fun.
My littlest guy adored this one!
Fidget Spinner #5
This is my favorite video, by far. Brothers and their dueling fidgets!
I am including this clip because I love his concentration tongue!
Do you have a fidget loving child, too?
Be sure to check out these related posts:
- Fidgitz: The Perfect Game for Wiggle Worms
- Sensory Processing Disorder Gift Guide
- When Your Kiddo Has Sensory Processing Disorder
- Sensory STUFF
Need a fidget but don’t want to make one?
Learn more about Spielgaben
Please read my review of Spielgaben here:
Here’s a special offer for My Little Poppies readers…
How we are planning to use Spielgaben in our homeschool…
If you have been following this site, you know that we love fantastic read alouds and educational games… and pairing the two! Spielgaben is perfect for this and, in the coming months, I will be sharing how our family takes our read alouds to the next level with play, using Spielgaben. Stay tuned for this monthly series!
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: Are your children obsessed with fidget spinners too? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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