Fidget Spinner – The Latest Toy Taking Playgrounds, Schools & Offices By Storm

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May 02 2017
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Just like the yo-yo, hoverboard, rainbow loom, Rubik’s Cubes and Pokémon craze that have come in waves over the years, there’s a new plastic toy on the block that’s taking the world by storm – fidget spinner. Not only this toy, which does nothing but spins between the thumb and middle fingers, has taken over schools, it is fast becoming a must have desk toy in offices too.


In Dubai, a teacher told a sobbing story of one of her students who would not do his homework without his fidget spinner. Layan Samir, a part-time children’s tutor, said – “One of my five-year-old students is currently not able to focus or do his work without holding his spinner.” Clearly, she is facing a new challenge ever since the spinner craze started.

Fidget Spinner - Kids Showing Their Fidgets

She said – “As a teacher, I would say depending on the child and his personality, the toy could be either a fidget tool that helps them focus, or just another source of distraction.” The spinners are designed to be stress relievers – to help people with ADHD, anxiety, autism and various other conditions. At least, that’s what the manufacturers claim.


Clinton Greene, a counsellor with Elite DNA Therapy said – “The fidget spinner can help those with ADHD by just allowing them to kind of put out some of the sensors that they have and focus it more on something they can hold in their hand and look towards. It keeps them in their seat. It allows them to focus on something besides the anxieties that they’re dealing with at the time.”

Parenting a child with ADHD

For hyperactive children, however, the fidget spinner could do more harm than good. The spinners will add more distraction to such kids. Egyptian Susan Ahmad, mother of two, said she is concerned about her boys aged seven and nine years using the fidget spinner while studying.  Apparently, her children are often distracted by competing on who can spin it faster.


Unfortunately, the low-tech, cheap device has transformed into a huge toy market. However, due to its mass distraction, some schools in the U.A.E. and the United States have banned the toy. Still, it’s selling like hot cakes with Walmart, Toys ’R’ Us, drug stores, gas stations and other stores having a hard time keeping the products in stock nationwide.

Fidget Spinner - Walmart Sales

According to Wikipedia, the fidget spinner was patented in 1997, by Catherine A. Hettinger. The patent has since expired, resulting in many manufacturers making spinners with different names, colours, sizes and shapes. Some discount stores have been reduced to putting the “Limit 2 per customer” sign in order not to disappoint their customers.


Fidget spinners come in colourful plastic, brass, steel or copper and retail for US$5 to US$7 a piece. Your best bet now is to go to Amazon.com to find them. Besides children, college students are buying them ahead of finals, hoping they will help them focus. But how could a toy that just spins while you hold them becomes so addictive?

Fidget Spinner - Multiple Colours

The answer lies on its simplicity. That’s how the yo-yo got its notorious reputation. As the kids get more comfortable with the gadgets, they spin the things on the ground and other surfaces, including their face and nose. Thanks to YouTube (the publicity tool which yo-yo didn’t get), trick-shot videos of fidget spinners help the toy’s popularity.


The little propeller-shaped gadgets with ball bearings can be tossed from one hand to the other. You can balance it on a finger. And it spins and spins and spins. And you can fidget it so much so that you don’t care what your parents (or your boss for that matter)  think. Because there is always another spinner better than yours, the idea of upgrade flashes all the time.

Fidget Spinner - Multiple Designs

Although small in size, fidget spinners can seriously hurt someone when they’re thrown around by students – in classroom, cafeteria and hallways. They’re practically flying everywhere in some schools. And of course, there was this popular pastime where kids and college students were involved in trading of fidget spinners.


But why only blame the kids and college students when the new craze is hitting the office too. The so-called toys created to help develop fine motor skills in kids with autism and other special education needs are now a tool for stressed-out office workers, who might otherwise bite their nails down to the bone, or drive colleagues mad with endless pen-clicking.

Fidget Spinner - Balancing on Finger Tip

Even the Forbes says fidget spinners are the must-have office toys for 2017. Some musicians even use the device to improve their motor skills before a performance. Sure, this spinning gadget will soon die a natural death, the same way the crafting of colourful rubber-band bracelets with the rainbow loom some years ago.


For now, the fidget spinner craze, however, is not going away anytime soon. That’s because adults too are joining in the craze of fidget spinning with thousands of videos posted on social media channels teaching users to do different tricks with the tiny gadget. Should you get your kid a spinner? Hey, how much damage that the toy could do to your kids that your phones and tablets haven’t done yet?



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