YOU can spin them on your nose, chin, finger or tongue. Some include LED lights; others resemble a ship’s wheel, or even a skull and crossbones.
The fidget spinner has three paddle-shaped blades attached to a central, weighted disc containing ball bearings. Flick a blade and it spins—for as long as 12 minutes, if it’s an advanced model from Japan. Originally designed to help calm children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism, it swept the world earlier this year as a toy that everyone could play with.
Retail sales have undoubtedly slowed recently, says Mark Austin of ToyWorld, a trade publication—good news for the schools that have banned the toys as too distracting for pupils. But the spinner has created a new “fidget” category of playthings. And the global toy industry has learned lessons from its surprising success