They’re fun. They’re cool. You can do tricks. They keep fidgety hands busy which can be helpful for concentration. But none of these things explain the surprise trend of Fidget Spinners that seem to be driven primarily, by school-age kids.
Fidget Spinners are not a craft, but they are a hobby. They’re also a toy we sell at Craft Warehouse along with a small selection of curated toys and games. We had a small amount of Fidget Toys when the Fidget Spinner Craze started to catch on and since then we’ve ordered large amounts for all eight stores and have trouble keeping them on the shelves. In fact, Craft Warehouse has the largest selection of Fidget Toys you can find in local shops. We’ve been lucky to have a great source, but no one was prepared for the demand.
A Fidget Spinner is a toy that you can balance on your finger or place on a surface. Once you get it started it’ll spin for a long time. The spin is very smooth and there is a soothing noise made when it spins. Fidget Toys were originally designed for people with ADHD. When a person with ADHD can fiddle with something it can make it easier for them to concentrate on something else. There are other Fidget Toys, like Fidget Cubes, but the Spinners are what has become a huge trend.
And of course, there is a controversy. Just like Slap Bracelets, Clackers, and all the multiple school kids trends that have come before, Fidget Spinners have become distracting in class and teachers are confiscating dozens every week. Ask teachers how they feel about them and they’ll say they hate them. Ask a parent who’s kid has problems with restlessness and attention and they’ll tell you they love them. Ask kids in the schoolyard and they’ll tell you that everyone has one (and if they don’t you can bet they’re bugging their parents for one).
See? Controversy. But, why are these so popular now? It seems so old school like the Yo-Yo craze from 60 years ago. Well, there are some theories and most of them have to do with the constant stimulation kids have gotten used to from electronics and activities.
In the last 20 years, an average kids social life has gone from active to hyper. Practices, Classes, and Scheduled Activites have made most kid’s datebooks as packed as adults. Then in the last ten years, tablets and phones have been added to that. So, a kid with downtime is still constantly engaged with electronic devices. Have these changes in culture and technology made it so kids are uncomfortable with stillness? Is it that they can’t handle having nothing in their hand?
It seems indeed probable that the overindulgence in handheld media has created the perfect breeding ground for the rise of such a simple analog toy. This isn’t just for kids. Adults are used to having a device in their hands as well and plenty of adults now have Fidget Spinners on their desks.
It’s interesting to speculate about why these Fidget Spinners have become such a hot thing, but it may be as simple as fun. They’re fun to hold, fun to collect and fun to trade. And with so many new styles and colors coming out weekly, there is always something to get excited about.