Fidget Spinners 051017

A South Attleboro vendor spins two Fidget Spinners while other sit on a table below.

Fad is defined as “a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal,” by Merriam-Webster. By their nature, fads come and go. They arise out of nowhere, take over, and then disappear just as quickly. And in many cases, there’s no rhyme or reason for the instant popularity, other than the fact that everyone else is doing it.

For all the parents of kids between the ages of 4 and 14, we’ve ridden quite a few fad waves this year. It all started back at the beginning of the school year, when we were losing our minds with the bottle flipping. Water bottles flying through the air. Everywhere. Constantly. Bottles were flipped in the house, in the cafeteria, on the playground, even on the bench when a player was not on the field. I don’t know how many gallons of water were wasted as new bottles had half their contents dumped out to get the perfect water and weight ratio for flipping.

Then there was The Dab. What started as a dance move became the only pose a kid knew how to take. After every great game play, or witty comment, or simply saying goodbye to their friends – the kids dabbed. If you look through my camera phone, it’s hard to find a posed picture where my kids are not dabbing during those fall and winter months.

Rubik’s Cubes came next. To be honest, I did a double take when mine started asking for one. “Really? You want a Rubik’s Cube? Where did you hear about those?” And then I came to find out, they aren’t just cubes now! There are Rubik’s Pyramids, and Rubik’s Megaminx 10-sided puzzles, 3D Gear-cubes and wheel cubes. And when today’s kids got stuck, they didn’t have to peel off the stickers. These cubes can be disassembled and put back together for a fresh start. Not to mention the cheater apps. Plug the colored squares into an app on their phone and it tells you how to solve it.

As that fad faded, my least favorite emerged. Slime. I still need to take a deep breath and align my inner rainbow to stay calm thinking about the perpetual mess my house faced during those months.

A couple of my good mixing bowls were sacrificed on the slime altar when one attempt turned into concrete instead. New and varied concoctions were created daily. It was like MacGyver took over all pre-teen girls’ brains and they suddenly found ways to use every household product in the creation of slime.

And now we’re at the final fad of the school year. Fidget Spinners. Supposedly a tool to help kids with ADHD, it seems like those are the only kids not playing with one right now.

I enjoy sleeping with a fan on at night, but the perpetual white noise of these toys spinning constantly in the background while I try to cook dinner, fold laundry, or write an article is about to make me scream.

Although to their credit, they did spark the inner engineer in my son, who has now taken a few apart just to see how the bearings worked.

The 2016-2017 school year has definitely been the year of fads. Some may have had some redeeming qualities in sparking problem solving skills or fostering creativity. But as a whole, I’m happily waving goodbye as they fade off into the forgotten distance; and then bracing myself for what will inevitably come next.

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