More New Entrants into National Toy Hall of Fame

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November 25, 2021

Education dolls, a board game of world domination, and ubiquitous sand are the latest entrants into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

National Toy Hall of Fame 2021 winners

The 18-inch-tall American Girl Dolls burst onto the scene in 1986, the product of educator Pleasant Rowland. Each girl came with a corresponding book, and the pair highlighted an aspect of American cultural and/or social history. The dolls also varied in eye color, hair color, skin tone, face mold, and style of clothing.

Of the several dozen models still available, one, Kaya'aton'my, is Native American. Her book tells of living in 1764. Others in the historical tradition included Josefina Montoya, a young Mexican girl living in 1824; Cécile Rey, an African-American girl living in 1853 New Orleans; and Nellie O'Malley, an Irish immigrant living in 1904 New York.

The board game is Risk, which hit U.S. markets in 1959 and, with its intricate yet understandable game play model, became one of the most popular board games of all time. The dice-based turn-by-turn game, which was based on a French game titled La Conquête du Monde, paved the way for an explosion in the number and popularity of wargames from the 1970s through to today.

Sand, of course, is one of the world's oldest substances and, therefore, one of the oldest known media for play.

Those three emerged from a field of 12 finalists for inclusion into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The other finalists were these:

  • Battleship
  • billiards
  • Cabbage Patch Kids
  • Fisher-Price Corn Popper
  • Mahjong
  • Masters of the Universe
  • piñata
  • Settlers of Catan
  • toy fire engine.

Examples of the winners will be displayed in the Hall of Fame, which is part of the Strong National Museum of Play, in Rochester, N.Y.

The National Toy Hall of Fame announces its inductees each year, after the toys are selected by a committee of curators and historians, and has done so since 1998. This year's additions brought the total of inductees to 66. The hall has resided in its current location, the Strong, since 2002.

Criteria for induction include:

  • being widely recognized enduring in popularity for many years
  • fostering learning and/or creativity through play.

The Toy Hall of Fame first inducted toys in 1998, when the list included Barbie®, LEGO®, the Frisbee®, and marbles.

To nominate a toy, click here.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2021
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2021
David White