toys r (all of) us.


National Toy Hall of Fame Reveals 12 Toy Finalists

Which toys will make it into the National Toy Hall of Fame this November? The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, announced the 12 finalists for induction into the hall: American Girl Dolls, Battleship, billiards, Cabbage Patch Kids, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Mahjong, Masters of the Universe, piñata, Risk, sand, The Settlers of Catan, and toy fire engine.

“These 12 toys represent the wide scope of playthings—from one of the most universal playthings in the world like sand to a game-changing board game like Risk to the popular adult game of billiards,” says Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections. “Whether old or new, for kids or adults, all 12 of these toy finalists greatly influenced the world of play.”

The Hall of Fame receives thousands of nominations annually, and this year, fans may vote for their favorite finalists from September 15 to 22 as part of a “Player’s Choice” ballot at The three toys that receive the most public votes will be submitted and will join the other top-three submissions by members of the National Selection Advisory Committee. (The public will collectively act as one member of the 23-member committee.) The final 2021 toy inductees, chosen based on the ballots, will be announced by The Strong museum on Thursday, November 4, at 10:30 a.m.)

to cast your vote, visit

and may the best toys win!

The museum recognizes toys that have engaged and delighted multiple generations. Criteria for induction include: Icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); Longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations); Discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play); and Innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design). Anyone can nominate a toy to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity, and discovery through their lives and careers.

To date, 74 toys have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, some of which are: alphabet blocks, Big Wheel, blanket, bubbles, Candy Land, cardboard box, checkers,  Crayola Crayons, dollhouse, Easy-Bake Oven, Etch A Sketch, Frisbee, G.I. Joe,  Hot Wheels, , jack-in-the-box, jacks, Jenga, jigsaw puzzle, jump rope, kite, LEGO, Lionel Trains, green army men, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox Cars, Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head, paper airplane, Radio Flyer Wagon, rocking horse, Rubik’s Cube, sidewalk chalk, Silly Putty, Slinky, Star Wars action figures, stick, Super Soaker, swing, teddy bear, Tonka Trucks, Twister View-Master, and Wiffle Ball.

i’m totally on team ‘sand’

and while pinatas are one of my favorite things in the world

sand is the best toy ever

Sand may be the most universal and oldest toy in the world. Educator Maria Montessori has argued that sand “is only one substance that the modern child is allowed to handle quite freely.” Children recognize sand as a creative material suitable for pouring, scooping, sieving, raking, and measuring. Wet sand is even better, ready for kids to construct, shape, and sculpt. Sand provides unique opportunities for tactical, physical, cooperative, creative, and independent free play.

“to this day, i have the most fond memories of some of my old toys.”

-michael keaton



credits: s. rhinewald, strong’s national toy hall of fame

62 responses »

  1. first cab 🙂 a number of beach councils run Sandcastle Comps every year; they are very well attended, crafted by adults and children alike, and grace the shores of local beaches ; the sea gulls stare in astonishment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My nephew recently brought along various types of rocks on a recent trip to the beach. He hid the different rocks in the sand where his almost 3 year old son was playing. Then his son would find the rocks and be curious about them. The idea was to foster an interest in geology.

    On that same trip, my great nephew (the young son) and I would make “drip sandcastles” – with wet sand. He enjoyed knocking them down. Sand is such a great toy!

    Your post makes me want to visit that toy museum!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Years ago I wanted my kids to come and get their stuff. Neither had room for it all. But each said, “Don’t throw away the games and blocks and Barbies etc!”
    They didn’t use the word toys but that’s what they meant.

    I cried when I found my mother gave away all my Nancy Drew books. They weren’t exactly toys. But then I didn’t have a sandbox. ;(

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a marvelous post, Beth. I remember a sandbox when I was a little kid. We didn’t keep it very long, because my grandmother’s cats (she lived next door) used it as a litterbox… But I did love to make “mud pies” whenever it rained. I wasn’t above throwing one at the boys now and then either. 😀
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t see how billiards is a toy when the majority of children cannot participate in it. That’s like saying roulette is a toy. But I’m all for celebrating things that open children’s imaginations and creativity and bring them joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So interesting. We weren’t a toy family. My daughter preferred bears to dolls and books about bears or anything else was always how she spent her time. Her older brother loved his big wheel and books. I have very odd children. Of course that’s my go to as well. They have an odd mother.

    Liked by 1 person

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