If you’re desperate for distraction or want to get your friend’s kid something that they will love but their parents might hate, an on-trend fidget toy is the way to go. While it’s disputed whether or not they actually help to reduce anxiety or increase focus, fidgeting is a common human activity, and with some pocket-friendly fidget toys, you’ll find yourself a distraction whether you’ve got your phone or not.
You can get yourself a fidget toy anywhere, but getting one that will satisfy your curiosity might require a bit of thinking. Your options include the tried and true fidget spinner, found everywhere and seen in every form, and the fidget cube, a multifaceted tactile distraction option. Which one’s best? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for.
Fidget spinners are the toy du jour and dominate the fidget toy market. It’s usually a three-pronged device with a center pad for your fingers to hold it and a ball-bearing inside. You flick the ends, the prongs spin. Simple.
Fidget cubes are six-sided fidget toys with a different tactile option on each side. Distractions usually include a joystick, a face with buttons, a rotating disc, a thumbprint indentation mimicking a worry stone, rotating cogs, a ball bearing, and a switch. If you really need to fidget, you can do it in your pocket.
Fidget Spinner: The World’s Favourite Fidget Toy
Fidget spinners are available in hundreds of colours, sizes, and shapes. Want one with flames on it? Here you go. How about one made of brass? Well have I got a spinner for you. You can also find them at any gift shop, corner store, or bodega. They’re everywhere. I think I saw a Green Lantern-themed fidget spinner in a GameStop.
Fidget spinners are popular for good reason: they’re fun. The multi-pronged spinning toys are easy to use and only require three fingers to use. You can also put it on a table and flick it to watch it spin like a top. Of course, you could also just get a top.
Fidget spinners differ from fidget cubes thanks to their more visual method of distraction rather than the fidget cube’s tactile and audio focus. Rainbow spinners, spinners with lights, chromed out spinners, all of them look different when you spin them, so you can always get one that will embarrass you the least when you feel the need to pull it out of your pocket.
You should watch out for any fidget spinners with actual electronics inside. They’re cheap toys made overseas, and prone to exploding at inopportune times. Stick to the luddite-friendly models.
Fidget Cubes: The Superior Fidgeter
A fidget cube has six sides with which you can fidget. Six! Forget flicking your finger back and forth watching some plastic spin, a fidget cube lets you fiddle with a joystick, a rotating dial, and some buttons, among other features. While not as popular as the fidget spinner, the fidget cube does have its fans, and is a more discreet fidget toy.
The cube’s shape enables it to harbour a variety of tactile surfaces, but it also feels really weird in your pocket. It’s like carrying a single die. A weird, misshapen die. Unlike a fidget spinner, which you can find in a variety of slim, short, two-armed versions, the fidget cube isn’t exactly flexible in the shape department.
The fidget cube is great for people who hate visual distractions but just want something to play with while they, well, fidget. Cubes don’t spin, so it won’t pull your gaze when you decide to space out for a bit.
Verdict: Fidget Cubes for Life
I think fidget cubes are the future of single purpose distraction devices. With a more diverse array of fidget-friendly features, the cube’s silent and audible options make it the perfect companion for the anxious (not that it helps). It occupies your mind without drawing attention to itself, and lets you do something with your hands in your pockets that you think looks totally normal.
As for the fidget spinner fans, I get it. The spinning, the colours, the thrum of the ball bearing as it twirls about. I know. But it isn’t enough. Spinners, while popular, are a one trick pony, and will eventually be a piece of cultural ephemera compared to the long-lasting power of the fidget cube. When they find the rest of them buried next to copies of the Atari 2600’s E.T., you’ll wonder what took you so long to adopt the cube into your life.