The latest craze to hit the youth of the world is a small piece of metal or plastic with a bearing in the middle allowing it to spin. They are more fondly referred to as, “Fidget Spinners.” So is this new fad worth your attention or is just another in a long line of forgotten gadgets. The answer might be both.
As a geek dad held responsible for the development of 4 fantastic geeks in training, it’s my job to know about stuff…even when it doesn’t make sense. This story starts when my 10 year old daughter came across a video of kids doing tricks with fidget spinners. Almost immediately we started noticing other kids with them while we were out in public. It was quickly apparent that we needed to join in.
I picked up a plastic, 3 prong, fidget spinner for my 10 year old, 8 year old, and 3 year old. As a bonus, the spinner I picked up also had LED lights on each of the 3 prongs, making it light up as it spins. For the first weekend, each of the kids were captivated with spinning the item around and around. The older two would try to do different tricks and one-up each other, while the younger most liked to sit it on the table and spin it around in place. Either way, they were each having a great time.
Less than a week in, the 8 year old and 3 year old have lost interest. They will still play with it occasionally, but it’s not with them at all times like it was just a few weeks before. It might be worth noting here that they are both boys. The 10 year old, however, does still play with it almost daily. You will mostly see her use it when she is reading. Something about the mechanics of it soothe her while enjoying her favorite book. I asked her what it was about the fidget spinner that she enjoyed, and this is what she said,
“It helps me to relax and it helps to stop my bad habit…biting my nails. It’s also fun because you can use it anywhere. It’s also fun to do tricks sometimes, that’s fun.”
Not long after picking up spinners for the kids, I decided that I wanted one for myself. Being that I am very particular about my stuff, I picked out a 2 pronged, metal fidget spinner. After receiving the spinner I tried it out and found it very tactile. From the hum of the spin to the vibration the spinner made in my hand, it was very engaging. I instantly starting carrying it around with me and using it in almost any situation that I could. From talking with friends in a circle, to waiting for a table at a restaurant, to stand up meetings at work. It now resides in my pocket and goes everywhere with me.
I am not a doctor so I can’t speak to if fidget spinners help kids with ADHD or Autism. What I can share is my own personal experience. I have a tendency to bite my fingernails, looks like that runs in the family. I know, it’s gross, but it happens. It’s most evident when my mind is occupied but my body is not. Best example of this is when I am watching a movie. My mind is engaged with what is happening on the screen, but my body is just sitting there like a sack of potatoes. Now, with my fidget spinner in hand, I find myself spinning during a movie instead of reverting to my more gross habit.
I will say that fidget spinners do seem to be a split in my house. While the 10 year old and myself seem to enjoy them, the younger two kids have mostly abandoned them for cars and LEGO. Maybe it’s because they are more active or maybe it’s just because we are programed differently. What I can say for certain is that fidget spinners are indeed a trend that can resonate with a particular audience. I don’t know that they will heal any personality condition or social anxiety that you have, however if you find your hands anxious when your mind is at work you might want to think about picking up one. What I do know for sure is that, just like roller blades and yo-yos, fidget spinners have found their audience and will ride this wave as long as it can.
Are you a fan of fidget spinners? Have they helped your kids? Let us know in the comments.