The Easter bunny will likely be delivering a lot of fidget spinners in Easter baskets this year alongside chocolate and eggs.
The palm-size, three-pronged spinners, which twirl like a pinwheel, are all the rage among kids, who spin them on their fingers, on their noses and other body parts. Spinners come in metallic, in solids, in glow-in-the-dark and in prints such as gumballs, soccer balls and camouflage. Most range in price from $9 to $20.
“I balance it on one finger while it’s spinning,” says third-grader Suzann Link, 8, of Massapequa. “I can do it on my forehead and my shoe.”
The fad spread from kid to kid, as most do. “First my friend got one, then a bunch of people. Now you see them at every store,” says Gavin Lamere, 10, a Plainview fifth-grader who has four fidget spinners. “For me, they help me concentrate when I’m doing my homework.” He says in one hand he’s got his pencil and in the other his fidget spinner.
Parents who have had trouble finding spinners for their kids have taken to Facebook parenting pages asking where other moms or dads have found them. People will respond saying they just found one, for instance, at a certain 7-Eleven or other store.
“It’s mayhem, beyond mayhem,” says Jamie Glassberg, vice president of sales at Bay Shore-based Top Trenz, which is distributing its brand, called Spinner Squad. “I’ve been in business for 23 years. Remember Rainbow Loom and Silly Bandz? This thing is bigger than both. Did you ever have a pen, and you’re tapping the cap on, off, on, off? Or you spin it finger to finger? That’s the appeal of the spinner — it’s a way to fidget.”
The fidget spinners, which spin silently, have been recommended in the past for kids with attention deficit disorder as a way to divert their excess energy and allow them to concentrate their focus on schoolwork. But they’ve gone mainstream, more of a toy than a tool.
Companies are marketing additional shapes, including a two-pronged spinner, a spinner that looks like two Ts, and even a bat-shaped spinner, says Lisa Hodes, owner of Sweeties Candy Cottage in Huntington. Hodes also sells fidget cubes, which look like oversized dice with buttons to push and click, but they don’t sell half as well as the spinners, she says.
‘KEEPS YOU BUSY’
Hodes says she likes the toy because it gets kids off their smartphones. “Your hands are busy with the spinner,” she says. “I actually found that when I was spinning it, I was able to listen to people more, not think of all the different things I had to do for work.”
For the Rodriguez family of Wyandanch, the spinner is enthralling more than just the youngest generation. Tony Rodriguez, 12, was locked in a spinning battle recently with his grandmother, Winnie, 63, and his siblings, Alex, 8, and Jayla, 7, to see whose spinner would spin the longest. “She’s beating everybody,” Tony says of his grandma. Says Grandma: “We’re really getting a kick out of this.”
Ben Levine, 15, a sophomore at Smithtown High School East, says that when he noticed the trend he decided to become an entrepreneur and has been making spinners with his personal 3-D printer. Purchasing the materials online has cost him about $1.60 per spinner; he has sold about 70 of them for $10 each. He says he’s learning about running a business.
A.J. Prudente, 8, of Nesconset used to walk around the house bouncing a basketball, but now he plays with his fidget spinner instead, he says, calling the spinners addicting. “You just flick it and it starts spinning for a while. It keeps you busy if you’re bored.” He says most kids at school keep one in their pocket or in their pencil case — and kids say teachers have told them they aren’t allowed to use them during classes.
A.J.’s mom, Denise, says she tried A.J.’s spinner and doesn’t get why kids find them so mesmerizing. “I spin it, I’m getting dizzy. I said, ‘Forget it, take it back,’ ” she says. Incidentally, she adds, A.J. was spinning one in one hand while on the phone being interviewed for this story.