Fidget Spinners, those typically three-bladed plastic or metal gadgets that kids and adults alike have begun twirling between their fingers this spring, come in an array of splashy and sparkly models. But it was a rather modest paper sign seen in the window of the Wellesley Toy Shop promoting Fidget Spinners, and a little pile of the devices spotted on the Wellesley Square CVS counter, that got me thinking it was about time for Swellesley to post about this fad before it dies off.
I’ve seen kids playing with Fidget Spinners in the wild, come across memes, and had caught the SNL spoof ad for diamond-encrusted Cartier edition. Now it was time to take a bit closer look at the Wellesley Fidget Spinner scene.
Inside Wellesley Toy Shop, owner Andy Brown told me that he has sold over 20 different models and gets new shipments weekly, helping him to satisfy buyers who collect them. Among the latest models: ones with Bluetooth speakers built in. The shop has sold more than 5,000 of the gadgets since it started selling them in February, says Brown, who adds that the toys provide him with an alternative to spinning his cellphone.
“Fidget Spinners have been extremely hot,” Brown says. ” I always say to have a really hot fad the product has to appeal to both boys and girls of all ages and Fidget Spinners have done that. Whenever you have a 5-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy and an adult like the same thing you know you’ve hit it big.”
I found Fidget Spinners at Magic Beans in Linden Square, where an employee told me the products remain hot sellers, as do other various takes on the idea, such as fidget cubes. Gillian Kohli of Wellesley Books, which began carrying Fidget Spinners in early April and has sold hundreds, says the shop upgraded from $10 models to those costing twice as much that are sturdier and come in more appealing patterns. She says most are purchased by parents.
Despite the popularity of Fidget Spinners, not everyone is amused. Some schools have been cracking down on Fidget Spinners in class — one reader on our Facebook page said her kid’s K-8 school in Brookline has put the kibosh on them because they are too much of a distraction.
In Wellesley, there is no district-wide policy on the items, which originated back in the 1990s and have been marketed as stress relievers. Fidget Spinners are popular with kids throughout the Wellesley Public School system.
“Schools are dealing with this as needed,” says Superintendent David Lussier. “Sounds like there are limits being imposed only if and when they start becoming a distraction in classrooms.”
But with the school year ending soon, Fidget Spinners are about to become someone else’s issue.
“You never know when these fads will end, but I do think this will be a great summer camp toy,” says Wellesley Toy Shop’s Brown. “So I don’t see the craze ending any time soon.”