The Fidget Spinner (Fidgets 101)

Fidget SpinnerName: Fidget Spinner
Category: Manipulable
Coping: Physical, Distraction, Soothing, Social

Introduction to The Fidget Spinner

We couldn’t start a series on fidgets without first tackling what has become the most popular fidget to date – the fidget spinner. From the spring and summer of 2017 through today, fidget spinners have become a cultural icon. Kids love them. Parents are sick of hearing about them. And, they have become the bane of some teachers’ existence. So, what is the fidget spinner, and why are they equally so loved and so despised?

What is a Fidget Spinner?

Fidget Spinners are part of the manipulables category of fidgets. For purposes of this review, we define fidget spinners as:

A muti-pronged object (generally including two or three prongs) revolving around a center circle that is used by holding both sides of the middle of the spinner and spinning the prongs around the center.

Fidget SpinnerThey spin by using a series of ball bearings that allow the spinners to continue spinning for an extended period time without any additional effort. Today, fidget spinners come in all sorts of shape of sizes. There are also a number of “fidget spinner like items” which incorporate additional fidgeting possibilities – like the fidget spinner pictured here which includes many fidget cube components (we will talk about the fidget cube in a later installment).

The different types, sizes and looks of fidgets spinners are about as numerous as the number of times kids ask for them. Pictured below are some from my personal collection. They include regular fidget spinners, light up spinners, spinners from some of my favorite teams (Cowboys, Yankees, Ohio State) and more. If you happen to know where I can find a Leicester City Football Club spinner, let me know!

How Much Do They Cost?

Fidget SpinnerFidget spinners come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – and also prices! You can find cheap fidget spinners at dollar stores and thrift stores. I’ve found them as cheap as $0.25 for a basic spinner at stores seeking to rid themselves of excess inventory. You can find branded fidgets spinners for fans of sports teams, tv shows, movies, cartoons, comics and much more – generally for anywhere between $5 and $10. There are higher end spinners that claim to spin better and longer and are made out of more sturdy materials for tens and even hundreds of dollars. There are even places where you can order your own personally branded version of the fidget spinner in bulk for giving to clients or students.

Our Review of the Fidget Spinner

Appeal Rating (4.5 Smiles)

We give fidget spinners an appeal rating of 4.5 out of 5 smiles. They are clearly popular which is evidenced by the large number of kids, teens and adults who still use and/or want one. Some of the novelty has worn off from the peek 12-18 months ago, but these spinners still tend to draw a crowd (particularly the more unique ones). There are books of tricks you can do with the fidget spinners and kids still love them.

The fidget spinner serves in a number of different coping capacities:

  • The smooth hum helps to sooth anxious nerves.
  • The physical motion of the spinning can be mesmerizing and therapeutic as they serve as a distraction coping mechanism.
  • The crowds that they draw represent a social coping skill.

All in all, fidget spinners are both effective and a lot of fun. The only thing that keeps them from getting 5 smiles is that they have slightly over-saturated the market in the last couple of years and some of the novelty has begun to wear off.

Durability Rating (4 Stones)

We give fidget spinners a durability rating of 4 out of 5 stones. Like many of he fidgets we will review in this series, the fidget spinner comes in all types of varieties from different of manufacturers (everyone wants a piece of the fidget pie). Some high end fidget spinners are almost indestructible (and you pay accordingly). Even the cheaper ones hold up pretty good. My son found one at a soccer field during a game one weekend that had clearly been out in the elements for weeks (if not months). The plastic casing was eroded, but the spinner still worked fine. Others are slightly less durable, though I’ve yet to see one snap in half. The only issue with some of the spinners is that the center pieces can sometimes fall off or the bearings may fall out. Many also start to spin less smoothly and for shorter periods of time after repeated use.

Portability Rating (4 Bags)

We give fidget spinners a portability rating of 4 out of 5 bags. The fidget spinner comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes making this rating a little hard. Generally, they are fairly small (and even come in miniature varieties) making them fairly easy to carry. The only thing that keeps them from getting a higher rating is that they can tend to be a little heavy or awkward to carry in your pocket, and some of the spinners with sharper edges can pose a problem in terms of carrying them.

Noise Rating (3.5 Decibles)

We give fidget spinners a noise rating of 3.5 out of 5 decibles. They are loud enough when they spin to be a distraction in a classroom setting which has resulted in them to be banned by many schools. That said, in terms of overall noise production, they actually aren’t that loud, and the better made options make very little sound indeed.

Overall Rating (4 Fidgets)

Overall, we give fidget spinners a rating of 4 out of 5 fidgets. Wildly popular, engaging and an effective coping mechanism, spinners live up to their hype. That said, after a while they can grow a little stale and spend more time collecting dust than being used.

For an introduction to our Fidgets 101 series and a complete listing of fidgets reviewed, please click here.

For more awesome resources for learning about and dealing with emotions, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Emotions Help Center.

For more information and resources related to Covid-19, please visit our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Resource Page.

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Written by Wayne Stocks
Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families. Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids' other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son's soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship). You can reach Wayne at