The Fidget Spinner

It’s a new toy craze that is sweeping our nation and even reaching across the pond to the UK. These ball-bearing spinners are capturing everyone’s attention to the point where people are making all variations of them possible: a spinner made of crayon, one made of wood, one entirely of fastening nuts for screws. Audiences both young and old are enjoying the latest fad, but is this just any other toy?

The fidget spinner was originally created by a woman named Catherine Hettinger who, due to a muscular autoimmune disorder, needed an alternative way to play with her daughter. It was later marketed to be a focusing agent for children with ADHD and ASD. The way the spinner works is by holding the center piece with usually the thumb and middle finger and spinning the wheel with the other hand. The weights on each of the three ends of the spinner give it such momentum that it can spin on its own for two to three minutes. The marketed age is 8+ and that’s simply because of the small parts the toy is assembled with.

The toy, in short, is addicting- even for myself. If you’re the type of person that gets enjoyment from the sensory firing that a spinning object provides, this is for you. If you’re the type of person that enjoys the motor challenge of balancing a spinning object on the tip of your nose for more than 30 seconds- also for you. But is the toy really helping children with problems focusing? I think not. It seems to be serving as more of a distraction than a helping agent. Children are using the spinners in every situation- at home, at the dinner table, in the bathroom, in the classroom- and although it catches their attention and allows them to focus on the spinner and perfect certain motor skills, is that all it’s doing? Redirecting attention?