A couple of weeks ago, I gave our son a small gift just for fun. It was a finger-spinner. These are the latest “thing,” I’m told. They are small metal disks that you hold in the center between your thumb and middle finger, and then spin the outside rings around and around. They seem to fascinate children of all ages, and those of us with child-like imaginations! They come in many different colors, but their purpose is pretty simple.
Our son was was actually a little surprised that I knew about the spinners. They are often called “fidget spinners” and are supposed to help reduce anxiety and boredom and improve focus.
There have been a few articles that include some negative comments about this latest trending toy. It appears that some parents and some schools have had concerns about the spinners causing problems between kids. Also, a couple of parents from around the country reported that children could choke on them (spinners are not intended to be put in the mouth, let me just say, and should not be used by children under a responsible age).
As for me, I can’t imagine any more dangerous and annoying trend than a couple from last year. First, there was bottle flipping. Thanks to an online video showing someone flipping a water bottle in the air and getting it to land upright, children were captivated all over the country. For hours on end, as one mom said, she would hear “Gurgle. Thud. Crunch.” Ahh, the sound of plastic water bottles being flipped. Now that’s a really distracting fad.
The last couple of years also saw the rubber-band bracelets crafted with the rainbow loom. These created mayhem for school staff and parents. Hundreds of tiny rubber bands in neon bright colors were used to create bracelets. Also, the rubber bands snapped, were shot, and generally caused other issues. I’m sure they were swallowed, as well.
The kinds of fads for children’s toys aren’t really new. Remember Tamagotchi? In the ’90s, every kid had to have a virtual pet – one you fed, watered, walked, and played. After a few days, usually it was mom or dad who fed and watered and eventually the expensive little toy pet died. It was awful, and I speak from experience. In absence of the computerized pet, we also saw Beanie Babies.
The 1980s saw children playing endlessly with Rubik’s Cubes, and some had to care for pet rocks. Seriously, pet rocks? That one still amazes me. The decade before, we had Hacky Sacks and Weeble Wobbles.
My favorite decade gave us Jacks, Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, Silly Sand, the Yo-yo, and the Etch-a-Sketch! And even before the ’60s, we had silly putty, Frisbees, and play-doh.
Clearly, I’m up on all the toy fads of any decade, so our son need not have been surprised by my knowledge of spinners. I must end this now, I’m feeling the urge to go play with my Slinky… Email me at email@example.com.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at a local elementary school and Hospice and keeps busy taking care of house, husband, son, and pets. She lives just outside of Troy, Ohio.