On September 9 The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York revealed the 12 finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Toys are considered for induction into the Hall of Fame based on their longevity, iconic status, innovation, and ability to foster learning through play.

Many of the toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame have entertained generations of children; whether it be a wooden stick or cardboard box to multiplayer games.

The 12 finalists being considered for induction into the Hall of Fame include dolls, horses, games, conquering heroes, and foster artistic endeavours.

The finalists are: Baby Nancy, bingo, Breyer Horses, Jenga, Lite-Brite, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Risk, sidewalk chalk, Sorry!, Tamagotchi, and Yahtzee.

The Strong vice president for collections Christopher Bensch spoke on the finalists saying, “whether old or new, or simple of high-tech, all 12 of these toy finalists greatly influenced the world of play.”

Meet the Finalists for the National Toy Hall of Fame:

In 1968, Shindana toys released Baby Nancy, a doll with dark complexion and textured hair.  She was one of the first ethnic dolls to be sold in the mainstream market.

Known today as a past time for many older adults and a staple of fundraising ventures; the game of Bingo has been a part of game culture for centuries.

The Breyer Molding Company introduced the hand designed equine characters the Breyer horses in 1950.  More than just toys that spark the imagination, the magical creatures have become collector’s items and cherished keepsakes.

The towering construction game Jenga was created by Leslie Scott and is based on the toy blocks she had as a child.  Jenga comes from kujenga – Swahili for to build.  The game has become popular for young and old alike.

Lite-Brite has spawned the creativity of children since 1966.  The creative toy uses black paper, coloured plastic pegs, and a light to display the results of the creator’s imagination.

Toy maker Mattel capitalized on the popularity of the comic book, television shows, and films of “He-Man” and the “Master’s of the Universe” to create a line of action figures and items from toothbrushes to sleeping bags.

The colourful plastic toys known as My Little Pony is more than just a plastic toy horse; available in hundreds of varieties, they come with extra long manes and tails for little girls to brush like hair.  Originally released in the 80’s, the toys made a resurgence in 2003.

The strategy board game Risk, allows players to use miniature figures to wage a war to conquer the world.  Originally released in 1959, the game is based on the French game “Le Conquete du Monde”.

Chalk in one form or another has been used as an artform for centuries – back to the days of the cave dwellers.  Today children use the large colourful sticks to create any manner of artists expression on sidewalks around the world.

The board game Sorry is based on the Indian game pachisi but uses cards instead of dice.  The game’s popularity is due largely to the randomness of the draw of the cards.

One of the electronic toy pioneers, Tamagotchi is a digital pet that comes alive – one that a child could raise and love just like an actual pet.

A game involving dice, keeping score, and creating combinations similar to a hand of poker, Yahtzee has enticed adults and children alike.  Hundreds of millions of people around the world have played the dice game with many doing so on a regular basis.

While a panel of experts will determine which of the 12 finalists will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, toy fans from anywhere can also cast a vote for their favourite toys.  From now to September 16, fans can go to toyhalloffame.org and cast a vote for the toys they deem worthy of induction.  The top three vote getters will be added to the votes by the expert panel.  Each collective “Player’s Choice” will be counted as a single vote.

The newest members to the National Toy Hall of Fame will be revealed to join the 71 toys in The Hall in a ceremony on November 5 at  The Strong.

The National Toy Hall of Fame is housed on the second floor of The Strong Museum.  Visitors to the museum can tour the exhibits as a part of their museum admission.



photo credits: Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York