It is a scientific fact that if you take a child, place her in a featureless void and forbid her to speak she will still find a way to entertain herself. How? By spinning in place, of course. Every kid everywhere spontaneously invented spinning and the activity never lost its appeal. Confusing the heck out of your inner ear was the first natural high experienced by all toddlers, which was why they always pleaded to go on one more Tea Cup or Tilt-a-Whirl ride at the carnival even if they were already staggering around like drunks. Enter Sit ‘n Spin, an amusement park for one.
Sit ‘n Spin was released by Kenner in 1974 and was a scaled-down version of Tea Cup rides. It consists of a circular base with two parts; the bottom part remains stationary on the ground, while the top part—where the kid sits—is free to spin around. A steering wheel rises up from the base’s middle. The faster the wheel was turned, the faster the base would spin, the louder those squeals of delight would get. Sit a kid down on a Sit ‘n Spin and they would be at it for hours. Who can blame them really? Many adults will try to recreate the giddy sensations of childhood on a Sit ‘n Spin, though it’s a lot harder to turn the wheel and generate respectable speeds when you’re that size. Just stick to office chairs and bar stools (the Sit ‘n Spins of the adult world).
Decades later, the toy remains a big success and has spawned many tie-in promotions over the years, earning over $300 million for Kenner and Playskool. Some Sit ‘n Spins even come with a Simon Says game located on the steering wheel if you want to test your child’s memory during fast spinning cycles.
Sit ‘n Spin was, perhaps, not the ideal toy to play with after a meal, but for kids looking to knock their equilibrium out of whack, there were few toys that delivered quite as efficiently. As such, it is fondly remembered by anyone who ever took a twirl. If you happened to take a few rides on this toy in those days of youth, we would love to hear your thoughts in our comments section.