I had never heard of this latest craze among kids, teens and even adults, until this morning. I spent the day with grandkids Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, all out of school for Good Friday. As we chatted about what was new in their lives, Joey mentioned this small palm sized gadget that kids at his middle school are toting around. Aubrey and Oliver chimed in, adding that they also knew about the spinners.
I was curious.
Looking up spinners on Google, I found lots of pics. I confess I didn’t immediately see the appeal. However, I saw the earnest hopeful looks on the faces of my grandchildren. Joey knew of a store in Carthage, Repurpose Boutique, selling these hot items.
Off we went to investigate.
My first clue about the popularity of this new toy should have been that the parking lot for the boutique was full. We had to park in the street.
The second clue was that as soon as we walked into the shop and Joey began his answer to the query, “May we help you?”, the lady behind the checkout counter immediately knew what the kids were looking for. She directed us to a bin of Fidget Spinners. Ah, I thought, so that’s what they are called!
And my final clue was that Repurpose Boutique can’t keep these $15.00 gadgets in stock! As my three excited grandkids picked out fidget spinners, more and more people were coming into the shop, asking for them. They sold out while we were there, after receiving 150 spinners three days ago.
As the kids played with the spinners at home, I did my research. In 2012, a Kickstarter campaign raised more than 6 million for a gadget called a Fidget Cube. The small stress relieving toys were covered on all sides with rollers, toggles and switches, making them ideal for fidgeting.
After the success of the cube (another item I never heard about) the company created a companion product, the Fidget Spinner. Made of metal or plastic, the weighted spinners rotate smoothly, and for a surprisingly long time.
When children or adults fidget with a fidget toy, it soothes them while creating a mind-body connection that frees the brain to focus better. Psychologist Dr Harris Stratyner uses fidget toys such as the spinner with patients suffering from ADHD and sensory issues. He says that in addition to helping people focus, fidget toys help to generate creative ideas by centering the body.
Joey, Oliver and Aubrey enjoyed the Fidget Spinners. They carried them around all afternoon. I gave one of the spinners a try. I liked the satisfying heft of the metal fidget toys, making them spin smoothly with a musical whirring sound. I was reminded of spinner rings, from a few years ago, with a central section that spun freely around the finger. And worry stones, smooth glassy feeling rocks that one could rub repetitively with the thumb to reduce anxiety.
What I decided was that fidget toys like the spinners allow trapped or built up energy to move, releasing tension, stress or anxiety. It gives the body something to do, so the mind can be free to focus, think or create. Yo-yos and the coiled up Slinky toys are older versions of fidget toys.
I read about a man who plays with a fidget spinner while watching TV, so that he doesn’t bite his nails. I can see that some children might benefit from playing with a spinner while reading or doing homework. We will see how long this latest trend last and whether it endures as the slinky has.
The grandkids found Fidget Spinners to be mesmerizing fun. I think I want one now!
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