Fidget Spinners: Everything You Need to Know About the Newest Toy Trend

Ease your nervousness. Control your patience. Calm your agitation. These are just some of the mentioned benefits of one of today’s highly trending toys – fidget spinner. This remarkably simple yet revolutionary take on a stress-relieving object has gained popularity in the market today because of the said positive health effects it brings to users. Its appearance can be divided into two main components: an orbiter made from plastic, wood or metallic material and a bearing where the orbiter moves around. But what really is the mechanism behind the use of fidget spinners that makes the toy a potentially health-improving product today? How was this toy created or discovered? Will this trend last a couple of years or will it fade away without reaching a year’s milestone? These are just some of the most common questions that people ask after having heard of fidget spinner and what it does.

The History of the Fidget Spinner

It may come as a total shock to you, but the fidget spinner is not something that has been introduced to the market from last year’s or last month’s  innovative minds of big toy companies. The truth is that the fidget spinner has already existed since the summer of 1993 when Tulsa, Oklahoma native Catherine A. Hettinger decided that her autoimmune disorder Myasthenia Gravis won’t be the thing that would stop her from playing with her daughter in that summer. Suffering from such autoimmune disorder, it became difficult for Catherine to pick up her daughter’s toys and play with her so she managed to assemble together something made from taped newspaper and other objects. But her daughter was playing with the new toy on a different manner, and that’s where she came up with the idea of repurposing and redesigning it. She was able to sell her upgraded versions on arts and crafts fairs all around the state of Florida, selling thousands of units. In May of the same year, Catherine applied patenting for her spinner and was able to secure the same in 1997. Hasbro, a toy manufacturing company, was able to test Catherine’s spinner design but forgone the production. Since Catherine herself is not financially stable enough to renewal fee of $400 for her patent, she decided to surrender it in 2005. It was only later on that several manufacturers caught up with Catherine’s invention, and started mass producing the spinners in a wide range of designs and shapes.

Health Effects of Fidget Spinners

Since its creation, there were already claims of the spinner’s potential to help persons with autism and ADHD perform much better and develop more progressively from their condition. Fidgeting, along with other repetitive motions (Stims), is behavioural symptoms of these disorders which can be lessened and controlled by the fidget spinner, as many special needs institutions have reported. By using a fidget spinner, persons with autism can be able to focus more on the tasks at hand with the toy on the background occupying their need for sensory input. An interview by WTOP radio (103.5 FM), a Washington DC broadcasting station, with two occupation therapists, made it clear that the fidget spinner as a toy for kids with special needs is indeed helpful. Stephen Poss and Katherine Ross-Keller, as the interviewees, however, stressed that there still should be rules imposed by therapists and educators when it comes to the use of such toy. However, with the constant increase of the toy’s popularity, the need for more extensive research and conclusive reports have not yet been met, and many people especially concerned parents are still left undecided whether or not to buy a fidget spinner for their kids or even for themselves.

Becoming the Trend

A feature article written by James Plafke for Forbes on December 23, 2016, has opened up the market to fidget spinner domination, branding the product as the “must-have office toy of 2017”. It wasn’t long before social media websites were bombarded with the hot topic of Fidget Spinners. Several YouTubers and Redditors started posting videos and reviews regarding the use of the spinner as well as some bonus tricks you can do out of the said toy. The Boston Globe claimed that the fidget spinner wasn’t alone as it climbed from the unknown to being mainstream, with its related product Fidget Cube also gaining the same momentum. E-commerce websites like Etsy and Amazon are filled with different models and designs of fidget spinners, even occupying most spots in the top selling toys. By spring, the toy has been officially called a new fad in many publications and fidget spinners are currently being sold at different prices, ranging from one dollar to a whopping £1,000 in physical stores and online shopping sites.

Why Fidget Spinners are Banned in Schools

Becoming popular majorly because of its posed health benefits that can help improve the condition of persons with ADHD and autism and many other health issues, fidget toys have been used by a majority of children and teenagers in most schools. The toy is said to help them achieve better focus in studies and school-related stuff. It was even reported that students started selling the said toys inside the campus thereby helping spread the fad much faster. Because there was too much concentration of the number of fidget spinners in schools, many educational institutions decided to ban the toy. Such conclusion was reached upon after recognizing that many students are not really aware of the toy’s usage in the context of increasing focus and productivity. Instead of using the toy to relieve stress and heighten their level of focus to other things, students end up focusing too much on the toy. In more specific reasons, school faculty stressed out that the toy’s appearance is too distracting and playing the spinner also creates noise that doesn’t really help much in a classroom setting or other environment for studying. Unlike those that are suffering from specific disorders that can really get some help from the fidget spinner, normal students can get little to no benefits from toys, making it more like a tool for fun rather than an aid.