Ask any kid at my children’s school
and they’ll tell you THE TOY to have is a Kendama. A what? That’s what I might
have said a few months ago, but I’ve had a crash course in the toy that every
California school kid must have. Now I’m here to share my knowledge with you, so you can decide whether a Kendama is the best thing since Minecraft or will it be like the Rainbow Loom or Beyblades—just another trendy plaything that will soon be cluttering your house.
Basically it’s a souped-up
version of an old-fashioned ball and cup. Instead of just a wooden ball
attached to a handle by a string, the kendama’s handle has two wooden cups and
a spike at one end, plus another cup at the base. The handle can be plain or
colored wood. Really fancy (read: expensive) versions can sport fancy paint
game is played K-E-N, like Horse is played H-O-R-S-E
Players challenge each
other to do tricks by catching the ball in a certain pattern (like big cup, small
cup, spike, base cup). If the other person can’t copy the pattern, then the
first player gets a letter, until someone reaches Ken. According to my reliable sources, some of the popular tricks are
“acrobat,” “tornado” or “bird.”
strings can break
Buyer beware! Not all Kendamas are created equal. Some have
thin strings, which may snap after a few uses. Believe me, this is not fun,
unless you enjoy being around weepy children. Replacement strings can cost $1
each, so it may be smart to buy a quality Kendama from the get-go.
schools have banned Kendamas
Really? With all the problems facing today’s
kids, it seems the clacking of a wooden ball on a stick would be the least of
our problems. You can’t download M-rated video games or text a selfie with a Kendama. Seems like it’s the ideal toy we can hope for our kids to play with! But I guess it's back to fist-fights in back of the cafeteria...
There's no advertising agency, hashtag or celebrity endorsement. Kendamas aren’t sold at many big box stores and most of
their fans have to ask their parents to order one online, which will set you
back $10-20. Madison Avenue and Silicon Valley could learn a thing or two.
Have more questions about Kendamas? Ask a