Y’all know how I like to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends. What’s that you say? I don’t post about what’s trending in the world? Oops, you are right. This is as good a place as any to start.

The latest must-have toy for kids and teens doesn’t have a game console, wires, or require a power outlet.  They are calling it the anti-Xbox. Thank GAWD for that.

This newest fad is a Japanese toy dating back to the 1500s. It is similar to the old-fashioned ball and cup game we used to play. It is called a kendama, and in certain parts of the U.S. (dare I say world?), they are flying off the shelf. Want to be the cool parent, grandparent, or fairy-godmother to some kid in your life? Duke it out with a fellow fairy-godmother at your nearest toy store and buy a child a kendama.

Rather than describing what this craze looks like, take a gander here:

Kendama Français : kendama (bilboquet japonais)

 The kendama also doubles as a fashion-statement. All the cool kids where them around their neck. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The object is to swing the ball up into one of the cups or to have the ball land on the spike (see the hole in the ball?) Easy-peasy, right? Not so. It takes hand-eye coordination and hours of practice. This toy also comes in handy when you misplace your egg cup or need a meat mallet.

But most importantly, in this age of rampant childhood obesity and a generation of zombie-like teens transfixed to various forms of electronic devices, this toy gets kids off their rear end and moving.

We have a kendama club in Sacramento and they meet . . . get this . . . at a library! Not only are kids not epoxied to their game console, they are talking to each other in a place that houses books! Books, I tell you! You never know . . . a kid might knock a book off a library shelf with his kendama, wonder what it is, and then read it.

More good news for parents is a kendama is cheap . . . they run $1.50 for a plastic version, $13.00 for an entry-level (whatever that means) kendama, and $28 for the cherry-wood Kendama USA Pro Model.

Richard Gottlieb, a toy industry consultant and analyst in New York said, “I’d put the kendama in the same continuum as the yo-yo or hula hoop. They require skill, mastery, and coordination.” Wouldn’t you love to see that guy’s office?

What I like about the kendama is they don’t plug into the wall.

Remember, you heard about the kendama here first.

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