Early this year The Strong’s National Museum of Play announced twelve finalists for induction into the 2021 National Toy Hall of Fame.  The contenders included nominees from previous years, including American Girl dolls, the Battleship board game, billiards (including pool), Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, mahjong, Masters of the Universe action figures, piñatas, the Risk board game, sand, The Settlers of Catan board game, and toy fire engines.

Only three would take their honored places in the Hall this year when they were announced at a ceremony this week at The Strong in Rochester, New York.  The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys “that have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create, and discover through play.”  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).  A toy may be inducted on the basis of innovation without necessarily having met all of the first three.  So what made this year’s cut?  American Girl Dolls, the Risk board game, and sand–yep, look out Anakin Skywalker, your least favorite thing is one of the favored playthings of this world.

The Hall of Fame, which began in 1998, is celebrating its 23rd year.  Reviewing the 75 previous inductees should provide you with an incredible flashback of nostalgia: alphabet blocks, the Atari 2600 Game System, baby doll, Baby Nancy doll, ball, Barbie, bicycle, Big Wheel, blanket, bubbles, Candy Land, cardboard box, chalk, checkers, chess, Clue, coloring book, Crayola Crayons, dollhouse, dominoes, Duncan Yo-Yo, Dungeons & Dragons, Easy-Bake Oven, Erector Set, Etch A Sketch, Fisher-Price Little People, Frisbee, G.I. Joe, The Game of Life, Hot Wheels, Hula Hoop, jack-in-the-box, jacks, Jenga, jigsaw puzzle, jump rope, kite, LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Lionel Trains, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, Magic: The Gathering, marbles, Matchbox car, Monopoly, Mr. Potato Head, Nintendo Game Boy, paper airplane, pinball, Play-Doh, playing cards, puppet, Radio Flyer Wagon, Raggedy Ann and Andy, rocking horse, roller skates, rubber duck, Rubik’s Cube, Scrabble, Silly Putty, skateboard, Slinky, Star Wars action figures, stick, Super Soaker, swing, teddy bear, Tinkertoy, Tonka Trucks, Twister, View-Master, Uno, and Wiffle Ball.

Which of these 12 toys would make your list for 2021?

The beauty of all these toys?  We did some of our own research and about 95% of them are still available for today’s generation of kids.  Just click the toy name above and you’ll find most available at Amazon right now.  Want to spoil your kid and get them one of each of the 78 toys in the Hall (or donate a set to your local community center)?  It’ll cost you about $1,840.

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