Fidget Spinners – What are they? What’s the craze?

Fidget Spinners – Something that you hear about regularly now. Why is there a sudden frenzy for them? What is the connection between fidgeting and spinning? Do they really have the health benefits that manufacturers claim they provide? How do they work?

Well, read on to find the answers to these questions.

Early History  – the beginning

Think about it, everybody fidgets! Touching your hair, biting your nails, shaking your legs, tapping your feet or fingers, playing with your clothing or spinning pens in your hands are very common fidgeting acts. You are probably doing one of the many while reading this. Fidgeting certainly is not a new human behavior. One explanation is that fidgeting may occupy parts of your brain that otherwise would distract the rest of your brain with random thoughts.

So-called fidget toys were originally created to help develop fine motor skills in kids with autism and other special education needs. Kids young and not so young have now gotten more fidgety. And just when we thought that we passed the Pokemon Go and bottle flipping craze, Voila! Enter the fidget spinner –

What are fidget spinners?

The toy looks like a cross between a ceiling fan and the head of a triple headed electric shaver. It is made of plastic and steel, and spins around a bearing. Users have to hold it in the center with two fingers while it spins.

The rise to popularity

Before December 2016, Google searches for the words “fidget spinner” were basically nonexistent. Now the little toy has flooded both the eCommerce and retail stores with many retail stores saying that they cannot keep up with the demand. The trend has also sparked a flurry of YouTube instructional videos on how to use, toss, transfer and twirl the tiny gadget.

And it is not just the pleasure and entertainment value that make it so popular. Manufacturers claim it to have health benefits as well. Most of them say that it promotes focus and concentration, and decreases stress through a smooth, fast, satisfying silent rotation in the hand. Still others claim to “bring out the genius in you”.

They have become so popular that schools have started banning them, warning parents that any seen in school will be confiscated. Some schools state them to be distraction to learning. Many teachers feel that the sound is annoying while teaching and students tend to focus on the toy rather than on class. However, many parents, especially parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not happy with the ban. But, with no actual studies done specifically on the fidget spinner, it is difficult to conclude that they benefit kids with ADHD.

So what makes these finger flicking gadgets so popular?

For one, they are light and fit in your pocket. They are bright and colorful, or sleek and shiny. You can personalize your spinner with different color wheels and even pick up a few to go along with your emoji mood. Kids have even found a way to compete with their fidgets. There are various tricks you can use while spinning and the competition is to see whose will spin the longest.

What’s more is, a new range of ‘fidget spinners’ has been invented for stressed-out office workers who might otherwise bite their nails down to the bone, or drive colleagues mad with endless pen-clicking.

And last but not the least, they are cheap.



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