In case you weren't aware, there is a National Toy Hall of Fame. And you can help determine the 2020 inductees. But hurry!

The Hall, located in Rochester NY, is taking votes to name its new members from 12 finalists. A panel of judges will choose three and the public can vote for three. Ballots are being accepted through this Wednesday, September 16, and you can vote once per day.

I opted not to vote more than once. Like most of you who will cast your ballots, my choices were generational and gender-biased. I mean, I think My Little Pony brings happiness to millions, but I never had a My Little Pony. Or a Baby Nancy.

Anyway, here is my BIG REVEAL: I voted for BINGO, Yahtzee and Risk. 

If you go to the Toy Hall of Fame website and click on Player's Choice Ballot, you can choose your top three. No sign-up or email address required. Just pick and that's it.

Here is the list of 12, in alphabetical order, with brief descriptors of each, provided by the National Toy Hall of Fame. Fun stuff!


In 1968, Operation Bootstrap launched Shindana Toys, a community-owned company dedicated to making toys that “reflect Black pride, Black talent, and most of all, Black enterprise.” In its first year, Shindana produced Baby Nancy, a baby doll with a dark complexion and textured hair.


American bingo is descended from a lottery game first played in Italy around 1530. The game came to be known as lotto and was played in France and in Germany as a teaching tool. A marketer copied the 1920s American carnival game beano and changed its name to bingo, and the game has become a staple of adult play and fundraisers for churches and charity organizations.


In 1950, The Breyer Molding Company introduced Breyer Horses, which realistically captured the spirit and magic of the living creatures. Hand-designed by artists, the unique horses seized the imaginations of children, drew interest from collectors and became cherished keepsakes for equestrians. The brand continues its popularity today as it celebrate its 70th anniversary.


Englishwoman Leslie Scott created Jenga based on wooden blocks from her childhood in Africa. The word jenga is the the Swahili verb “to build.” With its catchy name and edge-of-your-seat game play, Jenga has inspired both young and old to enjoy the towering, toppling results.


Created in 1966, Lite-Brite used backlit plastic pegs on a black background for children to create glowing images, either following manufactured designs or creating their own picture. Through the years, Lite-Brite gradually changed its format and technology but the potential for open-ended creativity kept Lite-Brite popular for more than 40 years.



The Master of the Universe line of action figures, which includes the iconic He-Man, traces its popularity to maker Mattel’s use of comic books, television and the big screen. The cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which ran from 1983 to 1985, created a cohesive, fantasy world that allowed Mattel to introduce new characters and new toys to the line.


Introduced in the 1980s and reintroduced in 2003, the My Little Pony line of mini-horses encourages children in traditional forms of doll play—fantasy, storytelling, hair grooming, and collecting. The small pastel ponies have come in more than 1,000 varieties, all with elongated tails and manes made to be brushed. The toys peaked in popularity between 1982 and 1993—even outselling Barbie for several years.


Based on the French game Le Conquete du Monde, Risk translates the hobby of wargaming with miniature figures into a mass-produced war and strategy board game. First published in the United States in 1959, Risk challenges players to control armies and conquer the world.


Historians have every reason to believe that the earliest people played with chalk.  Chalk’s use in playful pursuits relies on its physical properties. Chalk that was used on early boards was made of gypsum, the dehydrate form of calcium sulfate.


The Sorry! board game is one of many variants descended from the ancient Indian cross and circle game Pachisi, commonly known and branded as Parcheesi in the United States. Instead of traditional dice, players draw cards which control the movement of their four pawns from start to home. Even young players can claim victory over adults if they draw the right cards.


While some might consider Tamagotchi a fad, the innovative game helped shape the electronics toy market in the late 1990s and early 2000s, giving it a lasting legacy. Tamagotchi provided kids (and then nostalgic adults) with a digital pet that came alive. Children could raise their virtual pets from birth to adulthood with care, affection, and attention at the press of a button.


When playing Yahtzee, each player takes a turn rolling the dice in a cup to try to match the combination of the number values with a list of predetermined combinations to score points. Maker Hasbro estimates that 100 million play Yahtzee today on a regular basis.


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