What's the fidget spinners craze all about?

The fidget spinner craze is sweeping the UK’s playgrounds [Photo: Instagram/gigglesmtl]

Scooch over loom bands and match attacks as there’s a new craze taking over the playground…fidget spinners.

Not since Hatchimals, have we seen a greater demand for a children’s toy. If you’ve got children under 16 you’ve no doubt been begged coerced into buying one of the hypnotic, hand-held, plastic spinners.

But for anyone for whom the craze has seemingly passed by, or parents who are wondering where the hell their child’s obsession has come from, here’s our must-know on the five year+ fad that’s sweeping across the globe.

What even is a fidget spinner?

The palm-sized, three-pronged gadget is kinda like a spinning top you hold in your hand. You literally put it between your finger and thumb, then flick to spin. Simples.

Though they can cost as little as £2, soupped-up versions topping kids lust-list can sell for as much as £40. Meanwhile YouTube videos demonstrating how to perform tricks with the little spinners are attracting millions of views (wonder if that will cure children of their unboxing video obsession?).


Where did the trend come from?

The clever little gadgets were originally designed as a stress-reliever to help children with autism and other special needs to concentrate, but the craze has taken hold on children across the board.

But the trend has only taken hold recently. According to LiveScience Google searches for ‘fidget spinner’ were practically non existent last year, but since then kids can’t get enough of the hand-held gadgets. And dedicated forums for fidget spinner superfans are springing up all over the Internet.

The Guardian reports that the US-based inventor of the spinners, Catherine Hettinger, originally designed the toy over two decades ago, but was forced to give up the rights in 2005 because she could not afford the £310 patent renewal fee.

“I just didn’t have the money. It’s very simple,” she told the newspaper.

Sadly this means, Hettinger hasn’t earned a single penny from the millions of fidget spinner sales from this year alone. Gah!

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well, though they were originally designed to aid concentration, fidget spinners have instead become such a classroom distraction that they are being banned across schools in the UK.

First up was a school in Somerset who outlawed the hand-held toys following a letter from a pupil asking for them to be banned. The Year 7 pupil penned a heartfelt letter to Churchill Academy in Somerset pleading for the spinners to be barred from the classroom because they were distracting her from work.

Headteacher Chris Hildrew shared the letter to Twitter, explaining why he would be granting the pupils wish.

In the letter, the girl explains that the noise the spinners make when they spin around were causing her to be distracted.

“This means that I am not doing my hardest on my work so I get less done,” she wrote.

Meanwhile teachers took to a Mumsnet forum, to complain that the gadgets were spoiling their lessons.

“I’ve had two children bring them in today ‘because it helps them to concentrate’ – no, it helps them to annoy their peers and stops everybody else from concentrating,” one teacher wrote.

“They are now in my desk drawer waiting for their parents to come and collect them.”

And then there’s the safety factor to consider. Just yesterday an Australian mum went online to warn other parents of the dangers of a popular playground toy after her son “nearly lost his eye” while showing his friends some tricks.

The Australian mum, known only as Molly, was horrified when her 11-year-old son, Isaac suffered a painful injury after throwing one of the toys up in the air.

“He threw the spinner up a little higher and he didn’t manage to catch the spinner but it came down and clipped the corner of his eye and crunch,” Molly told Kidspot.

“He was very lucky not to lose his eyesight let alone his eyeball.”


Where can I get one from?

If the whir and whizz of the tiny spinners haven’t taken hold in your household and you or your kids are keen to jump on the FS bandwagon you might have to be quick, and/or patient as many places are currently sold out. If you don’t fancy joining the out-the-door queues in toy shops like Toys R Us, going online could be your best bet with eBay and Amazon still having supplies of the addictive gadgets.

Or you could just sit tight and hope that like it’s Pokemon Go counterpart, the fidget spinner trend will pass too.

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