TCS Fourth Grader Uses STEAM Skills to Design Fidget Trader

By Mia (Class of 2024)


Ever heard of fidgets? They come in all shapes and sizes, like the infamous pop-it and the fidget spinner. Fidgets give you something to do with your hands and can help keep you focused. 

Ari, a fourth-grader at The Children’s School (TCS), gave her reasons why they are helpful: “They help you focus, and it’s just fun to play with.” 

She’s created a newly released app with help from TCS STEAM Specialist Kelly Lyn that allows TCS students to trade fidgets.

They are modeling the app off of Craigslist, a website where people can trade or buy products and services. Ari and Kelly worked together through stages like designing, programming, and building out the final app. 

The app is only open to TCS students, and they can find the website and other details on posters around campus.

“To trade a fidget, you have to visit the website, take a picture of the fidget you want to trade away; and tell a little about your fidget, your name, and what class you are in,” said Ari. “Look at the listings to see if there is a fidget that you are wanting and contact that person to see if they will trade. Once you know you are going to make a trade, put tape on your fidget and write your name and the name of the person you are trading with. Keep checking the box in the library to see if the person you traded with left your new fidget there.

When Ari got the idea to make a fidget app, she immediately reached out to Kelly. Ari and Kelly met at lunch on Wednesdays to discuss, plan, and work on the app, and Kelly helped Ari program it. 

“I was just so overjoyed when I received Ari’s email,” said Kelly. “(Ari) said, hey, I’ve got this idea. Can you help me? I was just so thrilled, and I was like, yeah, let’s figure this out together. She’s been coming (to the STEAM studio), and I don’t have to remind her to come. She just shows up during her lunchtime.” 

STEAM combines science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Kelly Lyn runs the STEAM program at TCS, leading projects like making light pens, coding and 3D printing name tags, making wires out of tin foil and batteries, and making puzzles and coding. 

Kelly explained a bit about herself and her project with Ari saying, “My undergraduate degree is in computer science and programming. I’ve done web design and I’ve done programming, but I’ve never done anything like this. So we’re definitely learning together.” 

Ari’s app is inspired by her own experience and her fourth-grade classmates’ interest in fidgets and is based on fidgets only. She said she would think about the possibility of expanding only if it became really popular. 

Ari has learned skills like programming, being creative, and making things from this process. 

”Ari’s super creative and I think she’s really committed to this and persistent,” said Kelly. Even though she’s said she’s not thrilled with programming, last year she did sophisticated programming in order to make a puzzle and other things so it might not be her favorite thing, but she’s really good at it!”