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Fidget fad making a comeback with Rockford students

The popular toys could help students be successful in the classroom
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The fidget fad that swept the nation in 2017 is returning as the toys are now finding new life in the classroom.

The United Way is working with Lincoln Middle School for its “Move the Middle” program. The fidget toys are just a small part of this.

For seventh-grader Tamiya Wickson-Huey, it’s a toy that helps her be successful in the classroom.

“They help me concentrate if I’m struggling in class and stuff. They help me concentrate and focus on the work and not the things around me,” said Wickson-Huey. “I think it will help them and I think a lot of kids actually need this.”

United Way Achievement Britney Lindgren says she considers them a useful tool that even she enjoys.

“I definitely see the benefit because there are certainly times where I can’t focus either,” said Lindgren. “So even for me...to have a break from what you’re doing but just to kind of like mindlessly focus on one thing is kind of like a little refresh.”

While these toys could help students focus or manage their anger, Wickson-Huey doesn’t see them as something to play with.

“I wasn’t trying to use them as like a toy. it was more like I needed them.”

Lindgren says changes forced on students because of the pandemic threw many of them off their mental game. While some scientists disagree with the notion that the fidget toys help with concentration, supporters say they’ll try anything to help a student find their way.

“It definitely is a stressful time for everybody so it’s nice to have something that people are familiar with that they can utilize if they need it,” said Lindgren.

Lindgren says she has seen more engagement in the second year of this program. Students come in to either take one for the day or just for a certain class.

Their most popular one is the ’Pop-It’ toy, but the kids each connect with something different.

The organization analyzes about 400 students in the sixth and seventh grades to find ways to make them successful in the classroom.

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