Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Are your kids addicted to fidget spinners?

Posted April 24

Fidget spinner

It was Rainbow Loom a couple of years ago; Rubik's Cubes last year; slime and bottle flipping earlier this year. Now, it's the fidget spinner.

The toys are all the rage at schools across the Triangle - and far beyond. The two- or three-pronged gadget rests on your fingers so that you can spin them. They are designed, according to manufacturers, to help those with ADHD, autism and other issues, joining other kinds of "fidget" toys that help some people focus.

In reality, the small toys are inside the backpacks of kids of all abilities (and causing more than a little grief for their teachers). Forbes named it the must-have office toy of 2017.

My grade schooler wanted one so badly she spent her meager allowance on an $8 fidget spinner on Amazon. They are selling for more than twice that much at a local toy store, I'm told.

But Beth Harris, our resident science educator, found a positive spin on this spinning fad - science!

"I’d heard about these spinner things all the kids have and finally got my hands on one. Now I can’t put it down," she writes on her blog. "Literally. This simple spinning toy is totally addictive. Not to mention all the science!"

"It is extremely satisfying to hold this spinning, whirring toy between your fingers," she writes. "Part of this is the small resistance you feel when turning the spinner from side to side. What you feel is actually the angular momentum of the spinning toy."

Harris describes the science behind how the toy works and some simple science-related activities that you can do with your fidget spinner. The video she made below shows the crazy effect that happens when you watch the toy through a video camera.

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