“These 12 toys span the history of play. The top is as old as civilization itself and bingo has been played in some form for hundreds of years,” said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong museum in Rochester, where the hall of fame is housed.
The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have “engaged and delighted multiple generations.” Criteria for induction include the toy’s “icon-status,” its popularity across many generations, how it enriches a child’s life, and its uniqueness.
This year’s nominees include game night favorites bingo, the board game Catan, and card games Phase 10 and Rack-O and two lines of figurines — Breyer Horses and Masters of the Universe figures, including He-Man and She-Ra.
Voting to determine which of these toys will be formally inducted is now open to the public through September 21. The three toys with the most votes from the public will make up the “Player’s Choice” ballot, which will be counted alongside those turned in by a national selection committee whose members include industry experts, academics, and others.
You can cast your vote here. Inductees will be announced on November 10.
To date, 77 toys have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, from American Girl Dolls and sand to Monopoly and the Nintendo Game Boy. If your favorite toy hasn’t yet been inducted, you can nominate it online. You will need to explain why the toy deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and it must have icon-status, longevity, discovery, and innovation.
The National Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 and “recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.” While 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.