The kids are back in school and the amount of daylight is growing shorter, but that only means that playtime moves indoors where children of all ages can enjoy many of the toys that have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame or half to induct a few new ones.

Each year at the end of summer a new list of finalists is announced for consideration into the Toy Hall of Fame.  The finalists for 2022 are Bingo, Breyer Horses, Catan, Lite-Brite, Nerf Toys, Masters of the Universe, the piñata, Phase 10, Pound Puppies, Rack-O, Spirograph, and the top.

In order to even be considered for induction into the Toy Hall of Fame, a toy must have longevity – lasting for generations, help to spark learning and discovery through play, and reach icon status where it is not only recognizable the world over but influences its creation in other forms – films, TV, books, etc.

The new class of inductees will be selected by a panel of experts and revealed on November 10.  Currently the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York features 77 toys  that span the simple cardboard box and sand to board games and coloring books to LEGOS, tinker toys, and video games.

The National Toy Hall of Fame can be found on the second floor of The Strong Museum of Play at Manhattan Square in Rochester, New York.  The Strong is also home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame and hundreds of exhibits on the main floor that include a stoop from “Sesame Street”, a mini Wegman’s grocery store. A post office, numerous dolls and dollhouses, and a display of devices for alternate learning for people with disabilities.

Meet the 2022 finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame:

Popular with many adults, the game of Bingo has been around since the 1500’s.  The game made its way across the pond to America in the 1920’s.  And since that time, it has become a staple at charity and fund raising events; especially among churches.

since the Breyer Molding Company created hand designed realistic horses in 1951, the equestrian toys have sparked the imaginations of children and adorned the shelves of collectors everywhere.

A relative new comer in the annals of historic toys, the board game Catan was originally called The Settlers of Catan upon its release in Germany in 1995.  Players work together to form a settlement on an island by trading, the spending of resources, and rolls of the dice.  Since it’s inception, the game has been translated into over two dozen languages. 

Lite-Brite returns to make a go at lighting up the Hall of Fame.  Players use colored pegs to create colorful designs against a black background that light up once the board in turned on.  The imagination and creativity are limited only by the number of pegs available to the player.

The rubbery characters that make up the Masters of the Universe have done much more than spark the imaginations of children everywhere; the characters have spawned an entire universe of products from comic books to toothbrushes and sleeping bags.

Children around the world have heard a parent tell them that they weren’t allowed to play ball or darts inside.   It thanks to the invention of the Nerf ball  – a foam rubber sphere that is lightweight and soft – children can play ball inside…and stay warm, dry, and safe.

The Piñata has long been a part of celebrating as far back as the 1300’s in China.  Brightly coloured papier Mache objects are filled with toys, candy, etc and blindfolded party goers attempt to bust open the pinata and shower party goers with goodies.  Most recently the pinata became the focus of a different type of celebration when Mexican born NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez busted a taco shaped pinata as a part of his post race celebration when he won a race.

In 1982, Ken Johnson invented the car game Phase 10, similar to Rummy the game has taken on a life of its own and is second only to Toy Hall of Fame inductee Uno in sales.

Another 80’s creation, the Pound Puppies allowed millions of children to have the favoured household pet without all the expensive veterinarian bills and hassle of cleaning up after the dog.  After over two million puppies were “adopted” in the first year in 1985, the plush pets launched its own animated series.

Milton Bradley has released numerous games over the years, in 1956, they launched the card game Rack-O – a game where players have to create a sequential numeric pattern with their cards.  Not only is it a way to wile away the hours on a cold or rainy night, it can help the youngest members of the family learn their numbers.

Spirograph is much more than a drawing game; it can also help with pattern learning and even some math.  The drawing toy is also disguised as an educational tool and for over 50 years has been thrilling children and adults alike.

And finally a toy as old as time itself – the spinning top.  The toy can be found in many forms including an eight sided top, round, and even a four sided top known as a dreidel that is also a game.