Nature’s Fidget Spinner

Even if you don’t have one in your home, you’d be hard pressed to not know about the fidget spinner craze. But instead of running out the door, jumping in your car, and speeding off to the nearest store selling them, encourage children to get outside and find nature’s fidget spinners: “helicopter” seeds!

Now is the perfect time to look for them – “helicopters” (technically double samaras) fall in late summer and early autumn, before the leaves start falling from trees (and we’ll be back with some ideas for all those falling leaves soon). Without wheel bearings, they can’t be spun on little fingers like a fidget spinner, but how else can you use them?

  • First, try out their namesake activity: throw them up in the air and watch as they spin back down to the ground. In which direction do they spin?
  • Bring out sidewalk chalk to mark where they land – toss them up one at a time, or grab them by the handful. See where the go and how differently they fall!
  • Fill cups with “helicopters” and toss them in the air like confetti, and see which seeds spin the longest. This could be an exciting game for you to play together.
  • If your child has any fondness for actual helicopters, talk to them about how they work and what the difference is between real helicopters and the ones they’re playing with.
  • Use them as art materials: add them to nature collages, tape onto dolls or action figures as wings, and use as paintbrushes for unique art strokes.

So, leave the fidget spinners in the store, or in your home, and get outside to spin some “helicopter” seeds, instead!