Why Is My Baby Obsessed with Spinning Things? (5 Key Facts About Your Baby’s Fascination with Rotation Schema)

Babe in Dreamland - Whi Is My Baby Obsessed with Spinning Things?

Is your little one absolutely fascinated by anything and everything that spins? 

Whether it’s a washing machine, a fan, or even just twirling around in circles, they can’t get enough of that whirling motion. 

And God forbid you to try to interrupt their spinning fixation… They’ll let you know with all the fury a toddler can muster…

Don’t worry – you’re not alone in this strange phenomenon! 

As bizarre as it may seem, your child’s obsession with spinning is a totally normal developmental phase. 

So sit back, relax, and read on to learn all you need to know about your little spin master.

The fascination with spinning things is unrelated to gender and can equally captivate both boys and girls. It is a sign that the baby is mastering a rotational schema, as they are still learning the concept of rotating objects. This fascination is not necessarily linked to autism unless other typical symptoms accompany it. Babies are drawn to twirling objects because they enjoy the sensory stimulation of watching moving objects. The repetitive motion of spinning things can also have a calming effect, helping babies to relax and regulate their emotions.

Spinning Objects Is Equally Fascinating To All Gender

First things first, I wanted to clarify that the fascination with spinning toys is a normal part of childhood development and is not linked to a specific gender.

Children of all genders can be intrigued by rotating objects and develop an intense interest or obsession with them.

Before we explore why your child is so drawn to spinning items, let’s take a moment to review the concept of schemas, in case you’re not familiar with it. 

The Concept of Schema in Baby’s Development

Being aware of this is quite crucial since it will help you decode your baby’s unusual behaviour and create the environment that will help your baby’s overall growth and development.

So, in child psychology, a schema is a process by which a baby’s brain organises and makes sense of the things they experience in the world around them. 

In simple terms, schemas are repeated behaviours that babies demonstrate during play. 

For example, constantly dumping the toy box and its contents on the floor, ceaselessly opening and closing the doors, repeatedly and again pitching the toys from the prams, and again and again opening and closing the doors.

So, they keep repeating those actions until they fully understand them. Through these repetitions, they develop a mental framework that helps them to accomplish their task with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

And as they grow and learn new things, they adjust their schemas to better match what they’re experiencing. 

So, in other words, schemas are a mental representation of their current state of knowledge. They update them over time as new information comes in. 

Rotational Schema

Now, babies are going through various schemas. All are associated with different activities and fascinations your baby is currently having.

For example, trajectory schema (through the creation of lines in space, like dropping things from height), transporting schema (moving things from one place to another), connecting schema (building Lego blocks), and many, many more.

Now, coming back to your baby’s obsessively spinning things, twirling around, around and watching the washing machine spin cycle…

Through these actions, they explore the rotational schema – a fascination with things that spin and rotate repetitively. 

It usually starts in babies from 6 months old and continues until they are toddlers of about 2-3 years.

At this young age, babies haven’t fully grasped the idea of spinning or rotating. Therefore, they spend hours and hours practising and mastering the concept of the schema. As they grow and their skills expand, they can figure out the most effective way to spin and rotate things. As they become rotation experts, their interest in the subject will diminish and quickly be forgotten. 

Now, why is it so important for parents to know all this?

Observing Your Baby’s Behavior Can Help You Support Them

Well, first of all, you can finally understand the reasons your baby or toddler behaves the way they do. And that this behaviour is completely normal! That’s quite a reassurance, I would say.

But not only this.

By observing your little one’s behaviour, you can support them through the entire process of mastering the schema. Such as, you can steer them towards the activities or play that will help them practice and learn more efficiently.


Spinning Obsession vs Autism

Now, many of you will think of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to explain your baby’s fascination with spinning things around. Because when the baby stares at ceiling fans with enchantment or is obsessed with turning the wheels of the cars, pushchairs or whatever object they can lay their hands on – it’s a classic sign of autism, right?


And that’s because the spinning obsession of its own (without other symptoms of autism) proves nothing!

So, go through this list carefully, and observe whether your baby displays any other typical signs of autism. Or if you are seriously worried, visit your GP for advice and get an autism assessment

Although, be prepared for a long wait time for autism diagnosis (at least in the UK, not sure how it is in other countries).

Related Post =========> Why Won’t My Baby Look At Me When I Hold Them?

Babies Are Fascinated With Things That Are Moving

This is yet another reason your baby stares at the wheels and spinning objects with such a passion – they love looking at things that move.

Moreover, it is a natural and developmentally important aspect of early perception and cognition.

 Spinning objects, in particular, can be especially captivating for infants. The motion and changing visual patterns of rotating objects can provide a stimulating sensory experience and a sense of excitement and wonder, which encourages further exploration. 

One study found that six-month-old infants spent more time looking at a spinning top than at a stationary object and prefer to look at the moving stimuli as opposed to the static one.

So, by providing babies with opportunities to explore and interact with moving objects, we can stimulate their senses and promote their cognitive development.

Spinning Objects Can Be Self Soothing

We all know that babies have a natural ability to self-soothe.

The obvious example of this behaviour is sucking their fingers or dummies and rhythmic movements like rocking or swaying. These behaviours help infants regulate their emotions and provide them with a sense of comfort and security.

What we may not realise is that spinning objects, such as musical mobile or toys with whirling parts, can provide a similar type of rhythmic movement that can help babies self-soothe. 

The repetitive motion of spinning can be calming and provide a sense of predictability and stability, which is what babies really need. Especially when they feel overwhelmed or overstimulated.

Key Learning Points

  • Spinning things is not gender-related. It can be equally fascinating for boys and girls.
  • The obsession with spinning things is a sign that your baby is mastering a rotational schema, as they haven’t fully grasped the concept of rotating the objects just yet.
  • Fascination with spinning things is not necessarily a sign of autism unless associated with other typical symptoms.
  • Babies can be captivated by rotating objects because they love looking at moving objects as it provides them with sensory stimulation.
  • And finally, babies find repetitive motion calming, which can help them relax and self-regulate their emotions.
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