THE fidget spinner craze sweeping the world arrived in Whakatane this week – and already one school is having to restrict their use to lunch times.
The three-sided spinners come in multiple colours and are made of plastic or metal. Three bearings move around a central bearing and children – or adults – hold them in one hand and spin them with the other.
Port Ohope Store received its first batch on Monday and by yesterday morning most had been snapped up. The good news is another 20 are arriving today and another 300 next Tuesday.
“It’s a global phenomenon picked up by a number of learning institutions and is being used to treat autism, attention deficit disorder and to stop fidgeting,” store owner Greig Dean said.
“But … it is also a great toy,” he said.
Mr Dean said it was mostly children buying them, but a few adults had come in as they used them for the practice of “mindfulness” (being focused on the present moment).
“They keep them in their pocket and when they want to take a moment they use them to refocus.”
The store’s Ashlee Dean said the spinners coming in next week would offer even more colours than the ones in stock.
Ohope Beach School teacher Karen England said the toys were cool but distracting so it had been decided it would be easier to let children use them only at morning tea and lunch.
“We have fidget cubes for children who need to twiddle with something, but they click so we have taken them away.”
Fidget cubes are also used to help users focus and have buttons and other tools attached.
“There are few fidget spinners around but not heaps. They are cool but not really useful as a tool to help kids concentrate when they are listening, which is what we use the other types of things for.”
A shipment of spinners is also on its way in the next week or two to 123 Mart Dollar on The Strand, and The Warehouse says it is expecting stock to arrive at its Whakatane store this weekend.
General manager of merchandising Jenny Epke said the cube and spinner was the “latest craze across the world”.
“They were originally developed to help maintain concentration, as studies have shown fidgeting or doodling is a good way for adults and children to concentrate for longer periods,” she said.
“However, people just love playing with them – young and old.”