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Teaching Tuesday - Mommy Standard Time

For today’s “Teaching Tuesday” post, I have decided to share how I use fidget spinners as a tool in my online ESL classroom.  But I also think some of these ideas would be fun in a traditional classroom, or even in a home with a bunch of no-longer-on-trend fidget spinners.  Are you curious yet?  Read on!

Fun Ideas for Using Fidget Spinners in the Classroom - Mommy Standard Time



Supplies for magnetic fidget spinner

Let’s start with the most straightforward: I glue a button magnet to the back of each fidget spinner and use them on my magnetic wall. (Give the glue plenty of time to cure before trying to use it on the wall).

Super Glue Magnet to Fidget Spinner - Mommy Standard Time blog

ONLINE ESL CLASSROOM:  When I teach for VIPKid the kids think it’s awesome when I bring the fidget spinner close to the camera, spin it, and then put it on the wall for it to spin on its own.  It keeps the reward within view for the whole lesson (which I prefer) and for very young students we practice counting the spinners as I give each one a spin.  I also extend the conversation by having the student name each spinner color.  I will often hold up two fidget spinners and say “Do you want the red spinner or the white spinner?” to give them a choice (especially if they are still learning the English color words).

Magnetized spinners on wall

TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM:  You can use the magnetic fidget spinner as a timer of sorts. Attach it to your whiteboard at the front of the room, telling the students that they have until the spinner stops to be seated quietly. Or you could see how many times a student can read a list of words before the spinner stops. If you have a student who struggles with transitions, you can have him spin the fidget spinner and give him until it stops to be ready for the next activity. So many possibilities!

AT HOME: My kids love to steal the magnetic fidget spinners at home! If you struggle to keep your kiddos occupied while you cook dinner, you could totally pop a few of these on the fridge and have the kids play!

ALL SETTINGS: No matter what setting you are in, racing the magnetic fidget spinners is always a good time! Have the kids pick which spinner they think will spin the longest and then give them a good flick. The kids love to cheer for the color that they think will win.


ONLINE ESL CLASSROOM: In the world of VIPKid, we are asked to give the children stars that they can exchange in their virtual “store.”  On top of that, it is requested that we use a secondary reward system to keep the kids engaged in the lesson.  I love when I can combine the two reward systems.

Enter the fidget spinner.

 I put little sticky dot labels over the three holes of the spinner.  On two dots I draw stars, and on the third one I draw a question mark.

Spin a Star Fidget Spinner - Mommy Standard Time Blog

When it’s time to give the child a reward, I tell them they are going to spin for a star and I hold the spinner up to the camera.  Then they tell me when to spin and when to “STOP!” At that point, I grab the fidget spinner to stop it and, depending on where my finger lands, they either get one of the stars or I will ask them a question.  Sometimes we also like to switch it up and have the students ask ME the questions.  Rewards that spark conversation are the best kind of reward!

TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM: You could totally use this method for small group work. If you have groups of three, you can give each child a number and (when it’s time for the groups to answer questions or report) you can spin to determine which number is the spokesperson. (Just put numbers on the dots.)

HOME: Put your kids’ names on the dots! If you have more than 3 kids, you could have multiple spinners and group the kids by age. These spinners are great for times when the kids are having trouble deciding who should go first for an activity, who gets to pick the movie, or who even how to split up the bigger family chores, you can leave it up to the spinner!

(For day-to-day small chores, be sure to check out this post for my No-Fuss Chore and Allowance System.)


ALL ENVIRONMENTS: Have you ever watched your child (or student) get frustrated trying to flick a cheap cardstock-and-metal-brad spinner?  Have you ever tried using one of these cheap spinners upright in the online ESL classroom?  Well, I’ve discovered a better way!

Fidget spinner as game spinner. Mommy Standard Time Blog

You can use one of the magnetized fidget spinners mentioned earlier in this post and cover just one of the holes with an arrow sticker. Then you can use it to hold up a piece of paper with a pie chart (your “spinner.”)  The fidget spinners make for a much more exciting spin since the anticipation builds as the spinner gradually slows down (think of the big wheel on “The Price is Right.”)

 I have even included a blank pie chart (click here) that you can customize to your liking!  I cut out the circle and laminated mine, so all I have to do is write on the chart in dry erase marker depending on what I want each kiddo to earn and/or practice.

(Note:  The button magnets are not the strongest option.  For most of my magnetic needs I use small neodymium magnets.  I’m sure the larger neodymium magnets would work well on the fidget spinners, but just be careful in case the magnetism of the neodymium magnet interferes with the metal bearings of the fidget spinner.)

If you use the button magnets for your spinner, it is best to put one finger on the center of the spinner while you spin with the other hand to make sure it stays secured to the wall.  Although, the kiddos usually get a kick out of watching the fidget spinners fall to the floor every so often.


It really won’t take much to get started.  Amazon has a few awesome package deals on fidget spinners where you can pay less than one dollar each.  Then all you need is a package of magnets, super glue (or packing tape if using neodymium magnets), some dot stickers, and my printable spinner chart!

If you end up using any of these ideas, please come back and let me know!  I’d love to hear how fidget spinners work for you in the classroom (or in your home).

Have an awesome day!

🙂 Stephanie

Fun Ways to Use Fidget Spinners in the Classroom