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Fidget Spinners: The newest 'ADHD' Craze
So I am sure as most parents at this particular moment are aware, fidget spinners are the newest 'must have' toy of the moment and it doesn't seem to be slowing down much at all. My son is 8 years old and came home one day from school and was badgering me and my wife about getting him a fidget spinner. Just like you are likely doing right now, I began researching what a fidget spinner was. Perhaps that is how you came across this article.
So, essentially it is a toy that spins in your hand with weights on the ends of three arms. Inside the middle round part where you hold this spinner, is a ball bearing system that keeps it spinning smoothly, or at least that is the idea. Now, before I go into all the different types and essentially the pros and cons of these things, I want to disclose that I have no opinion as to whether or not they are truly helpful when it comes to ADHD issues, as my son does not have ADHD, but rather just wants the new fad toy.
Before I get into the pros and cons of this little toy, I want to first discuss that there are a WIDE ranging swath of qualities out there and that depending on which type and quality you pick, the price can vary as widely as the types. With that said, I will warn you now, the quality of these things can range from plastic construction to metal construction, really poor quality to sturdy and outstanding quality. The other quality control issue apparently is, how long they can continue to spin before you have to hit it again to continue the spinning. The primary piece for this spinning action are the ball bearings in the center ring. If you open this silly little toy up, the ball bearings can vary in materials, such as aluminum, ceramic, or plastic. I have personally seen and bought all types unknowingly, to the chagrin of my eight year old. The quality of construction is also dependent on the materials of the arms, such as plastic or aluminum. Some plastic fidget spinners can feel just better constructed than others. I will discuss in a bit about how to pick the proper fidget spinner for your particular tastes, or that of your child.
So let us begin talking about the pros and cons of this new toy fad, the fidget spinner. I will focus first on the cons, based upon my thus limited experience with these little seemingly innocent toys. First thing I noticed is that these toys are not exactly the “cheapest” when it comes to what you actually get. They range anywhere from $3.00 to $15.00 at many different places. I have seen these things sold in gas stations around my neighborhood, Michaels’ craft stores, and surprise, Amazon. I will get into how each of these could be different experiences depending on where you buy them. So, I will say that price SHOULD be dependent on the ‘style’ and quality of the fidget spinner. If you buy a fidget spinner for $3.00, it will likely break when it first hits the ground/floor, and I GUARANTEE it will hit the floor. This goes back to the saying, “you get what you pay for”. Remember folks, these little gadgets are made in China. Obviously, you would expect the $15.00 fidget spinner to be sturdier and better constructed, right? Wrong again. The ones that I have personally seen at that price seemed to be overpriced compared to their brethren of similar appearances. Why then are they listed so high? I can’t really tell you, perhaps it is the seller trying to maximize profits from overpaying for shipping, who knows, and this is not a business article, so perhaps that is a topic for another day. I would suggest that middle of this pack is somewhere in the range of $5 - $10 is going to be an acceptable grade of quality and satisfaction.
Another con to these little widgets from China, is that they do and WILL break. Look, if you are buying this for yourself, perhaps you won’t drop it on the ground repeatedly, but let’s face it, you are probably buying this for your child, as I have. If that is the case, my best advice now is to understand that you are buying something that WILL eventually break. If you accept this going into the purchase, then you will be better prepared for the price you are willing to pay. Look, some are better constructed than others, it’s just the way it is. I do need to clarify the ‘breaking’ issue. The weights pop out, because the round part that surrounds the weight at the end of the arms crack. This crack therefore allows the weight to pop out. The arm does not break completely off or become loose, it just does not hold the weight at the end if it falls again, but for all literal senses, this is broken now, functioning or not. My experience was that the cheapest one I purchased, broke, did not crack, just broke, arm came off and was rendered useless. Literally 3 minutes after getting home, it dropped on the tile floor and broke. So I will not buy the 'cheapest' anymore.
I can almost guarantee that the cheapest one you see on Amazon will likely break and then be rendered useless after that. The middle of the road fidget spinners will break, eventually, but will still be usable. I say usable, because they will function after you pop the weight back into the arm. The crack is just that, a crack that causes the weight to come loose if it strikes something, not during spinning. The pieces that seem to break are the ends of the arms that hold the weights. Obviously, anything that breaks will slowly become weaker from that point on. I figured that this should just be an accepted fact of the item you are purchasing. So I would recommend buying a middle of the road piece, especially if you are shopping on Amazon. If you are in a store, go ahead and pick it up and feel it for yourself, you will immediately know a poor quality one when you touch it.
One last con to these toys based on the quality is the time these things spins. You can YouTube all sorts of videos that show fidget spinners spinning for like 3-4 minutes and more based on one spin. I will say that they will spin for a seemingly endless time, based upon the ball bearings inside. The ceramic ones will spin for quite a while, but those fidget spinners are also likely to be more expensive. For my eight year old, I don’t mind him spinning it over and over on his own. So, if that is an important feature to you, then you need to make sure that the ball bearings are indeed ceramic, as the one’s I have seen are metal and plastic. I should also note that the metal ball bearing fidget spinners seem to spin longer on one spin the more use they get. I am not sure if that’s by design or not, I also am going to run an experiment on one of my son’s broken ones buy spraying some WD40 on the metal ball bearings and see if that makes it spin any longer than usual.
Okay, so now to the pros. My son was completely happy when I finally got him a fidget spinner. Isn’t that what we all want, to make our children happy, especially for $10? With the happiness of my child aside, I will say that this little Chinese widget has provided him tons of entertainment not only by himself, but with his friends. I have seen them trade fidget spinners like I used to trade baseball cards at that age, how times have changed. There is also a wide variety of styles available. The aluminum fidget spinners are more expensive and can run you close to $20. Personally, I am not willing to spend that much money on something I expect to break. They come in so many different colors and patterns such as camouflage, American Flags, black, glowing arms, glow in the dark, and then they vary from three arms to two, which is affectionately known as ‘pro’ fidget spinners, according to my household expert, my son. I have not bought or even seen a ‘pro’ fidget spinner in person, as my son and his friends don’t even seem to be interested in those at all, so I have not wasted my time researching those.
Another pro to these gadgets is that they are sold EVERYWHERE. I mean, I see signs in front of gas stations now, “Fidget Spinners Sold Here”. That is a literal sign to tell me this is a fad that will last until the next fad arises. Either way, they are abundant, so WHEN yours breaks, you will never be short on supply. This means Amazon Prime could be your friend. When you shop on Amazon, I will warn you that these are being supplied directly from China and are seemingly very cheap. If you have patience, it could take 2-3 weeks to get to your house. That is unacceptable when your eight year old is asking every day, three times a day, when it’s getting here. So, click the button for “Prime” only and search that way. Are you paying a bit more, sure, but you are guaranteed to get it in two days. This is the lifeline you need. Reading the reviews on Amazon is sort of moot on these gadgets for the reason I stated earlier, they WILL break. Accept this fact going into it and what you see on Amazon for the most part will be middle of the road fidget spinners that will continue to function after breaking. What you should focus on when reading reviews is whether or not the ball bearings are ceramic, metal, or plastic. That is typically the thing that matters. If the ball bearings are plastic, it is likely that they won't spin fast and long at all, and the quality is also likely to be very cheap.
Okay, so there you have it, all one father knows of fidget spinners. I am not an expert in these things, but I do attempt to do research on these items before just continuing to have a revolving door of the same toy because the quality is poor. So if you can accept that this toy will break but function, you can then personally decide how much you are willing to pay. I am assuming that the aluminum versions would not break like the plastic ones, but I cannot say personally that is the case since we have not bought an aluminum one. I hope this article helped in some fashion or another. Leave your comments or questions and I will do my best to get back to you.