It’s not a toy, it’s a focus mechanism.
Julie Randall and Wendy Hansen, co-founders of Fidgi Spinz, design and create fidget and hand spinners in the backroom of Kids in Harmony in north Red Deer, which Hansen owns.
They found the inspiration for the business from each having a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“It became noticeable that the traditional fidgets weren’t cutting it for them in the classrooms,” said Randall. “We put our heads together and came up with Fidgi Spinz.”
They started prototyping the handheld objects in October 2016 and released them by December when it wasn’t a toy fad. In recent months, hand and fidget spinners have become increasingly popular. Randall and Hansen envisioned the spinners as therapeutic tools.
Being honest, they can’t wait until the toy fad of fidget spinners passes and they return to being primarily a therapeutic tool.
Fidget spinners require arm and wrist movement to make them spin, while hand spinners rely on fingers for motion. They are designed to occupy a small part of someone’s attention with a repetitive activity and allow them to better focus the rest of their attention.
An early prototype featured a bearing with arms cut out of paper. Along the way they used screw nuts glued together, they then had them spot welded and an attempt at wood didn’t succeed either.
They have the stainless steel frame cut at Lasermann Cuts, order ball bearings and use a 3D printer for other parts. They then hammer and glue together the components. Hansen said they chose an industrial stainless steel look to separate them from other fidget devices.
After months of developing and testing they have created three hand spinners and five fidget spinners designs. The spinners have varying weights, designs and sizes to fit personal preferences.
Both Hansen and Randall said they have noticed great improvement in their children’s focus with the held of fidget spinners. Randall recounted a day her son hadn’t taken his medication before going to school. He had taken his fidget spinner though, having it allowed him to focus and do well in class because the part of his mind that had to be in constant activity.
“The fidget takes away from his phone 60 per cent of the time,” said Hansen. “So he can listen and not be staring at his phone.”
Randall said it also benefits people with autism, over-sensory issues, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“These are going to help kids in the classroom and who knows who else they will help,” said Randall. “That’s where we started.”