But now a primary school in Dundee has joined many across the UK and banned the pocket-sized gadgets saying they are a distraction.
Parents whose children attend Craigiebarns primary received a memo saying the ban “also includes the playground as if they were to be thrown they could really hurt someone. Please keep these fancy fidgets at home. Thank you for your support in this.”
The colourful three-pronged toy made of plastic or metal, spins on a central weighted disc when flicked. They were invented in 1997 and developed to help children with autism and other special needs improve motor skills.
Paula Carr, 40, who has two children at the school, said the school had over-reacted in banning the toys.
“The school seems to be taking it a bit far.
“The kids are not very happy. They were saying it was because of an accident where a toy hit a kid in the eye.
“My kids are upset by this though especially my son who is in primary two. He’s devastated by it.
“We had said to him it was OK to put the toy in his school bag and take it out after class but they were given into trouble for even taking them out in the playground and now they’re banned altogether.”
Marlyn Sherman, 66, whose five-year-old granddaughter Farrah Sherman attends the school, said: “I can understand this for safety reasons because if they are thrown or not used sensibly then someone could get hurt. However, I don’t mind if it is not affecting lessons.
“Kids should be able to have them in the playground.”
However, Dr Amanda Gummer, a child psychologist, said widespread use could de-stigmatise the toy previously used for youngsters with additional needs.
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: “The school has taken a decision and this has been communicated to parents and families.
“Specific learning aids will be provided to any pupils who have been found to need them following assessment.”