Announced recently, the 3 winners emerged from a class of 12 finalists that included the Paper Airplane, the Slip’N Slide, Operation, and My Little Pony. They got the nod by fulfilling 4 key criteria: icon status, longevity, fostering discovery, and innovation.
Yes, there is a National Toy Hall Of Fame; it’s at a museum in Rochester, NY called The Strong, which is devoted to “the history and exploration of play. Since 1998, they’ve curated a collection of inductees that includes everything from Play-Doh to the game of Chess. In a nice populist touch, anyone can nominate a toy for consideration, but the inductees are ultimately determined by an advisory board of curators, educators, and historians. You can question their taste (no Paper Airplane?!), but not their impartial bearing: This year’s corporate-backed effort to enshrine the Hess Oil Truck was summarily rebuked.
There are currently 56 toys in the collection, and all but 2 are available through the Amazon or Ebay links below. As for the exceptions, you can probably find your kid a stick (2008) and the cardboard box (2005) without too much trouble.