Some of the hottest toys on the market for boys these days include Pokémon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this has me walking down memory lane a bit.
It feels like just yesterday that my oldest child, now 19 years old, was pleading for Pokémon cards in exchange for good behavior in his kindergarten class. He literally learned the alphabet by studying his poster of the 151 Pokémon (yep, it was only 151 at the time, but they covered every letter, from Charizard to Squirtle).
He adored the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even before that. I don’t think he was even 4 years old before he was duplicating Leonardo’s ninja moves. To this day, he can morph into a ninja with minimal encouragement. These were the original tough guys in his toddler mind.
So, imagine my surprise this summer when I discovered the Pokémon toys are back, along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as popular as ever. I’m not sure they really went away altogether, but they’re hot again.
And you can bet I made a point of giving a couple of the newest toys to my son for his 19th birthday. He was just as excited about seeing his old pals as he was about the more age-appropriate gifts (you know, video games and clothes to get him through his next semester of college).
We played with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Flingers, from Playmates, for a good hour, though much of that time was spent trying to figure out exactly how to roll the little guys at the right speed so that they’d fling their daggers far enough to reach his buddy across the table. This takes some patience, so be prepared.
The Pokémon Catch and Release Poke Ball, from Tomy, was easier to master. All we had to do was set the Pokémon figure on his block, then slide the ball back and let it rip as it propelled across the table, knocking the Pokemon into the ball so that we could “catch ‘em all.” I dare you to play with this ball without singing the theme song at least once. Watch the video below to see how this toy works.
You don’t have to be an old fan to enjoy these toys. They’ll be fun for kids of any age, as long as the ‘kids’ are familiar with their adventures.

Desiree Miller is a member of the 2013-2014 Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board. She is also a blogger at You can follow her on Twitter at @DesireeMiller!