On September 15, The Strong and the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York revealed the 12 finalists up for induction into the Hall of Fame for 2021.

Finalists for the Hall of Fame are selected on their longevity, impact on culture, and iconic status. As seen in the past, finalists may be traditional toys or something as old as the cardboard box, a stick, or this year’s nominee sand.

The finalists for 2021 are:
American Girl Dolls
Battleship
billiards
Cabbage Patch Kids
Fisher-Price Corn Popper
Mahjong
Masters of the Universe
the piñata
Risk
sand
The Settlers of Catan
toy fire engine

Whether it be a bucket of sand, a board game, or a doll that had parents fighting over them in the stores, the 12 finalists have a far reaching impact on generations of children. And not all of the finalists are just for kids as seen with games like Risk and billiards.

The 12 finalists were selected from thousands of nominees received from across the country…and the world.

While a panel of experts will make the final decisions, the general public may also have a say in the outcome of the inductees. From now til September 22, toy fans may cast their votes at toyhalloffame.org. The top three toys will be added to the top three toys selected by the expert panel for the final decision of inductees. The fan votes will count as one vote in the final decision.

The new class of inductees will be revealed at The Strong on November 4.

The newest class of Hall of Famers will join the previously announced 74 inductees.

The National Toy Hall of Fame is located on the second floor of The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York.


Meet the 2021 National Toy Hall of Fame finalists:

American Girl Dolls were created in 1986. They were designed to show off America’s social and cultural heritage. Each doll has her own narrative.


Battleship began with pencil and paper. It later grew into the plastic box strategy game where players try to discover the location of their opponents pieces. Today numerous versions of the game are available from the traditional box format to computerized versions.

Billiards covers a variety of games that require a stick and a cue ball. Stemming from the lawn game of croquet as far back as the 14th century, billiards has been a part of society for hundreds of years. While the old time “pool hall” is a dying breed, the game remains very popular as a pass time…and a way of teaching physics.

When the Cabbage Patch Kids first hit the market, they were the IT toy of the year. Parents would swarm stores to get their hands on the dolls. Their plastic heads and hands with soft bodies gave children a cuddly playmate or snuggle buddy. The dolls later spawned books and and television programs. What set the Cabbage Patch dolls apart from the typical baby doll was that each came with its own name and adoption papers.

The Fisher-Price Corn Popper has been a part of toddlers playtime and even learning to walk for over 50 years. The bright colours and popping sounds also delighted the children.

Mahjong is an ancient game from China that originated from a gambling game of cards. The Asian game made it way to the United States in the 1920’s and has grown to a popular computer game that anyone can play.

The Masters of the Universe action figures stemmed from the original comic book series. The rubbery figures have launched themselves into a universe all their own with television programs, films, and a plethora of merchandise items from toothbrushes to sleepwear.

More than a toy, the pinata has long been a part of parties where players are blindfolded and try to knock the stuffed pinata open to release the goodies within. The pinata has long been considered a part of Mexican culture but evidence shows that the party game may have originally come from 13th century China.

A strategy board game, Risk originated in France as Le Conquete du Monde. Players have military figures and try to conquer their opponents to rule the world.

A part of the earth since the world began, sand has been the object of many a little girls mud pies, sandcastles on the beach, and the subject medium for many a budding sculptures.

The Settlers of Catan – Catan – originated in Germany before sweeping across Europe. The board game pits players against each other to build settlements via rolls of the dice; as well as, trading with opponents for needed goods.

The toy fire engine has been a staple for many a little boys toy box for generations. The brightly coloured trucks have been constructed out of wood, metal, and plastic. Some are simple trucks; while others are elaborate affairs with flashing lights, sound, and moving parts. The toys urge role play and spark many an imagination..

Photo Credits: Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York