2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award Finalists Unveiled

By Staff Reports

From educational toys that make at-home learning fun, to creative crafts, board games, and innovative toys the whole family can enjoy together, the 2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award finalists announced by The Toy Association are sure to top wish lists this holiday season. Known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, the TOTY Awards program recognizes the top playthings on the market and is a vital fundraiser for The Toy Foundation, which delivers the magic of play to millions of children in vulnerable situations.

The 117 finalists were announced this morning by a group of well-known online influencers. Play lovers can now visit www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite playthings in each of the 16 categories, browse toys, and download shopping lists for the holidays. Voting will close January 5, 2021. Consumers can also head over to @GeniusofPlay on Facebook to enter for a chance to win incredible TOTY prize packages.

“Throughout history, the toy community has demonstrated a remarkable ability to inspire generations of play, in both good times and bad. During the pandemic, we have witnessed firsthand just how important toys are in bringing fun, laughter, and learning into the home,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “This year’s TOTY finalists, carefully reviewed by a panel of expert judges, truly represent the creative spirit of the North American toy industry and our members, as well as the critical role toys play in bringing joy to kids and adults alike. It is a great honor to unveil the incredible slate of finalists today!”

Winners in each category, as well as the coveted overall “Toy of the Year” winner and “People’s Choice” honoree (based solely on consumer votes), will be announced at the virtual TOTY Awards gala on Friday, February 12, 2021. The celebration will include the induction of four industry trailblazers into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame and shine a spotlight on the inspiring philanthropic work of the toy industry and The Toy Foundation.

And the 2021 TOTY Finalists Are…
Images available at ToyAwards.org/Press
More information about the TOTY voting and selection process can be found in the “About the Awards” section of www.ToyAwards.org.

ACTION FIGURE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that represent a person or fictional character intended for active, imaginative and narrative-based play

  • Alter Nation Action Figure Assortment (Panda Mony Toy Brands)
  • Anime Heroes (Bandai America)
  • Batman 4 Inch Action Figures (Spin Master)
  • Fisher-Price #ThankYouHeroes Line (Mattel)
  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu (Moose Toys)
  • The Original Spawn Action Figure and Comic Remastered (2020) (McFarlane Toys)
  • Treasure X (Moose Toys)

COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that compose a set and can be collected in multiples; can include novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.

  • Blume Petal Pets (Skyrocket)
  • Charaction CUBE (Bandai America)
  • Hairdorables Hair Art Series (Just Play)
  • HEXBUG JUNKBOTS Large Dumpster (HEXBUG)
  • LEGO Super Mario Character Packs (LEGO)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Remix Hair Flip (MGA Entertainment)
  • Space Invaders Micro Player (My Arcade)

CONSTRUCTION TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that include building as the primary play pattern

  • BRIO Motor Set (BRIO)
  • LEGO Friends Rescue Mission Boat (LEGO)
  • LEGO Star Wars The Razor Crest (LEGO)
  • MEGA Construx Halo – Pelican Inbound (Mattel)
  • Plus-Plus GO! Street Racing Super Set (Plus-Plus)
  • Snap Ships Sabre XF-23 Interceptor (PlayMonster)
  • SolarBots: 8-in-1 Solar Robot Kit (Thames & Kosmos)

CREATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that allow kids to build and/or make items that are unique to them

  • Big Gem Diamond Painting: Magical (Faber-Castell USA)
  • Chocolate Pen (Skyrocket)
  • Clixo (Toyish Labs)
  • Crayola Colors of the World Crayons (Crayola LLC)
  • Face Paintoos Party Pack (PlayMonster)
  • Kinetic Sand Sandwhirlz Set (Spin Master)
  • Swirl & Style Tie Dye Studio Maker (YULU)

DOLL OF THE YEAR
Toys that include baby, toddler, and fashion dolls

  • Barbie Color Reveal (Mattel)
  • Cave Club Fashion Dolls (Mattel)
  • Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Wash Your Hands Singing Doll (Just Play)
  • FailFix (Moose Toys)
  • Healthy Roots Dolls: Zoe Doll (Healthy Roots Dolls)
  • L.O.L Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
  • Rainbow High Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
  • The Fresh Dolls (World of EPI and Just Play)

GAME OF THE YEAR
For families and children’s (ages 0-14) games including board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles, exclusive of video or app games

  • Drone Home (PlayMonster)
  • Fish Club (Blue Orange Games)
  • Genius Square (MUKIKIM LLC)
  • Poetry for Neanderthals (Exploding Kittens)
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Company International)
  • Story Time Chess (Story Time Chess)
  • The #UpsideDownChallenge Game (Vango Toys)

INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 0-3 (0-18 months infant/18 months-3 years toddler)

  • Crayola Easy-Clean Fingerpaint (Crayola LLC)
  • Deep Sea Adventure (The Manhattan Toy Company)
  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel)
  • Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower (VTech)
  • Helping Heroes Fire Station (VTech)
  • Little Tikes 3-n-1 Sports Zone (Little Tikes)
  • Step2 Ball Buddies Adventure Center (Step2)

INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value

  • Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market (KidKraft)
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad with Eye-Soft-Technology (Crayola LLC)
  • Go Go Bird (Zing)
  • KidiZoom Creator Cam (VTech)
  • LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course (LEGO)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Remix Super Surprise (MGA Entertainment)
  • Squeakee (Moose Toys)
  • Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition Toy (Hasbro)

LICENSE OF THE YEAR
Character or property that has had success spreading its brand through the development and merchandising of products developed from the intellectual property

  • Baby Shark (Pingfong)
  • Blue’s Clues & You (Nickelodeon)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment)
  • Marvel (Marvel)
  • PAW Patrol: Dino Rescue (Spin Master and Nickelodeon)
  • Pokémon (The Pokémon Company International)
  • Ryan’s World (pocket.watch)
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney)

OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed for outdoor play, including ride-ons

  • Birdie Golf (Hog Wild Toys)
  • Little Tikes Magic Flower Water Table (Little Tikes)
  • Outdoor Science Lab (SmartLab Toys)
  • PRIMO (Ambosstoys)
  • SpikeBrite (Spikeball Inc.)
  • Total Z70 Zipline Bundle (Adventure Parks)
  • Ultimate Go-Kart (Radio Flyer)
  • Wind Power 4.0 (Thames & Kosmos)

PLAYSET OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed to work together to enact some action or event, including characters and role play

  • Blume Rainbow Sparkle Surprise Playset (Skyrocket)
  • HEXBUG Nanotopia (HEXBUG)
  • Fisher-Price Imaginext Pop-Up Gotham City Playset (Mattel)
  • Kindi Kids Kindi Fun Unicorn Ambulance Playset (Moose Toys)
  • LEGO Super Mario Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set (LEGO)
  • PLAYMOBIL Scooby-Doo! Mystery Machine (PLAYMOBIL)
  • Railway Bucket-Builder-Set (Hape International Inc.)

PLUSH TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are made of fabric and stuffed with cotton or similar filling, including toys with interactive or electronic features

  • Dolce Primo Kangaroo (Magformers)
  • Eco Nation (Aurora World, Inc.)
  • Little Rebels Dolls (Little Rebels Inc.)
  • Shore Buddies (Shore Buddies)
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child 11” Plush (Mattel)
  • Story Magic Unicorn Dream Dollhouse (Horizon Group USA)
  • Whatsitsface (Whatsitsface)

PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 3-5

  • BRIO Smart Tech Sound Action Tunnel Travel Set (BRIO)
  • Dimpl Digits (Fat Brain Toy Co.)
  • Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Super Surround Batcave (Mattel)
  • Fun Fan Fryer (Hape International Inc.)
  • LEGO DUPLO Modular Playhouse (LEGO)
  • PAW Patrol Dino Patroller (Spin Master)
  • Real Rigs Recycling Truck (Kid Trax)

SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are distributed through independent retailers, i.e. neighborhood toy stores, and not sold at mass brick and mortar stores. Toys that are sold only online do not qualify.

  • American Girl – 2020 Girl of the Year Joss’s Ultimate Collection (Mattel)
  • HEXBUG nano Land (HEXBUG)
  • LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (LEGO)
  • Monster Math Scale (Hape International Inc.)
  • My First Rush Hour (ThinkFun, Inc.)
  • Shashibo Artist Series (Fun In Motion Toys)
  • The Amazing Tightrope-Walking Gyrobot (Thames & Kosmos)

STEAM TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that encourage kids to develop skills (foundational or curricular) in the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

  • 3Doodler Start ‘Learn from Home’ Pen Set (3Doodler)
  • Crayola STEAM Paper Flower Science Kit (Crayola LLC)
  • Discovery #MINDBLOWN Toy Circuitry Action Experiment Set (Discovery, Inc.)
  • DIY Rainbow Catcher (Klutz)
  • Eyeclops Digital Microscope & Camera (Jakks Pacific)
  • Little Learning Hands World Explorers Subscription Box (Little Learning Hands LLC)
  • Mega Cyborg Hand (Thames & Kosmos)
  • Professor Maxwell’s VR Universe (Abacus Brands)

VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Toy cars, trucks, trains and other vehicles in all scales, including R/C vehicles but exclusive of ride-ons

  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Glamper (MGA Entertainment)
  • LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sian (LEGO)
  • Monster Jam Megalodon Storm RC (Spin Master)
  • Pick Up Pete (Fotorama USA)
  • PJ Masks Transforming 2 in 1 Mobile HQ (Just Play)
  • PLAYMOBIL Back To The Future DeLorean (PLAYMOBIL)
  • Power Treads (WowWee)

The finalists were selected from 557 nominees submitted by 205 companies. Eighteen judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, reviewed and ranked the products in categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a discussion to determine the finalists in each category. They considered each product’s creativity, design, play value, and marketing.

All proceeds from the TOTY program are donated to The Toy Foundation, which delivers the magic of play to millions of children in vulnerable situations through industry-wide toy donations and cash contributions.

About The Toy Association www.toyassociation.org / www.thegeniusofplay.org / www.playsafe.org

Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $97.2 billion, and its 1,000+ members drive the annual $27 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.

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