Stand in Judgement of Toy Hall of Fame Nominees

Twelve finalists have been announced for induction (pdf) into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Nominations were made by visitors to the Strong National Museum of Play’s website.

It’s a completely arbitrary process prone to people or companies gaming the system, but so what? Only two toys will be selected this time around, on November 6th, and the matter will not be put to a vote.

So, hey, let’s review the finalists:

Photo of a doll intended for young children.

Baby Doll — The entire genre of dolls that look like babies or children.

Photo of the board game Clue.

Clue board game — Colonel Mustard did it with the candlestick in the conservatory.

Photo of a dollhouse.

Dollhouse — The entire genre of dollhouses.

Photo of a Flexible Flyer Sled.

Flexible Flyer Sled — The wood and steel snow sled and ending twist in the film Citizen Kane.

Photo of the Game of Life board game.

The Game of Life — Drive forever, only stopping to let your spouse and kids into the car on your way to Millionaire Acres.

Photo of an assortment of Hot Wheels cars.

Hot Wheels — Die cast toy cars.

Photo of a Magic 8-Ball.

Magic 8-Ball — It is decidedly so.


Rubik’s Cube — A cube that challenges you to peel off 54 square stickers and realign them so that each side of the cube displays a solid color.

Photo of skateboards.

Skateboard — The entire genre of skateboards, perhaps best explained by watching the 1965 18-minute film Skater Dater and of course Back to the Future.

Photo of a Thomas the Train wooden railway.

Thomas the Tank Engine — Umm, the iconography of Thomas? Or perhaps the wooden train set. Surely not the matching bedspread and pillow cases.

Photo of a Wiffle Ball and bat.

Wiffle Ball — The plastic hole-ridden ball and plastic bat.

Photo of the Yahtzee box and game.

Yahtzee — The dice game scoring points for achieving various number combinations.

I’ll post my perspective in a bit. Please, dear Thinga-readers, share your thoughts on which two toys most deserve to be inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame and why. I only saw one clear choice and several maybes.

What concerns you? Nostalgia? Entertainment value? Educational value? Cost? What? Why one over another? These questions become increasingly important as our kids leave toddlerhood and we lose some of our focus on educational toys. Or, is that okay?

Update: Okay, here are my two cents. Er, two votes.

Yahtzee is a shoe-in for me. Play it anywhere, and learn probability as you decide a personal strategy for filling in the best possible scorecard against the randomness of the die throws.

Unlike most table games, you are playing against other people without maneuvering to delay, hinder or destroy them. There’s no blocking or confrontation, just die rolls and pleasant conversation.

My second pick is a tie between the dollhouse (unscripted creative play) and Wiffle Ball. I could go with any outdoor athletic toy that keeps kids away from video games, but Wiffle Ball is the only own vying for inclusion that requires the social interaction of group play.


7 Responses to “Stand in Judgement of Toy Hall of Fame Nominees”

  1. Paul says:

    Based on how much time my kids spend with any of these toys, and we have 9 of 12 in our home, my vote is for a super ball and some legos (sans instructions).

    October 3rd, 2008 at 5:19 am

  2. CallMeKelly says:

    My vote would be for the Rubik’s Cube and the Flexible Flyer. I just like them.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 5:49 am

  3. Stephanie says:

    I would vote for the Life game (because it teaches the ups and downs, and somehow you ended up with 3 kids and an audit.)

    My second choice would be the whiffle ball and bat… because you actually have to go outside to play with it. You don’t find many toys like that anymore. It’s a classic.

    But I agree that the super ball is one of the most supreme toys and is incredibly fun in a hallways with wood floors. We broke a couple of framed family pictures with that one.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 7:20 am

  4. Pippin says:

    I’m 35 and have my original Flexible Flyer sled mounted over the fireplace in our library.

    Since I grew up in Mississippi, I think I used it exactly twice. It does lend a certain atmosphere to our oak-paneled, 15 foot ceiling library though.

    I’m voting for it and the whiffle ball.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 6:30 pm

  5. Kathleen says:

    My first vote would be for a box as that is the best and most used toy in this house (plus it is cheap)!
    However, from this list, I would have to vote for the hot wheels. My 3.5 year old son LOVES them and they go everywhere with us. They are more like people with voices and life stories.

    October 6th, 2008 at 6:03 am

  6. Dani says:

    I have to first say that the cardboard box was voted in either last year or the year before. A time honored tradition.
    As the mother of a 2.5 year old boy though, I gotta go with hot wheels. We carry them everywhere with us. Because of him, I can now tell the difference between an excavator, a steam roller and a backhoe.
    Of course not one that we own is actually a hot wheels brand but whatever.

    October 8th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  7. Byron Sled says:

    Skateboards seems to be an easy winner considering how they still are being played with by kids today in various forms.

    My favorite is the flexible flyer sled. I bought a premium flyer sled from Mountain Boy Sleds & I can’t wait to give it my son on his birthday next month.

    The Life game is a classic from my childhood too. I remember my 3 siblings playing that during many summer break away from school. Kids don’t have time anymore for boardgames. Would rather have something much more interactive.

    But I must say the sleds are wicked cool, wish my body could handle it.

    November 5th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

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