Toy Foundation’s Toy of the Year Awards celebrate top toys and games
After two years of celebrating virtually, hundreds from the toy community reunited in Dallas Sept. 20 for the much-anticipated Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards & Celebration, where the top toys and games of the year were named. Hosted by The Toy Foundation (TTF), the awards program recognizes the industry’s creativity and collective philanthropy, with more than $500,000 raised in support of TTF’s mission to bring the benefits of play to children in need.
In addition to naming the winners, the 23rd edition of the TOTY Awards showcased the industry’s support for TTF’s programs: delivering toys to children across the globe, funding play therapy in children’s hospitals, and introducing the industry to diverse, young talent. TTF’s local partners participated in the celebration, including three children’s non-profits — Dallas Metro, Rainbow Days, and The Birthday Party Project — which received toy donations; Baylor, Scott and White McLane Children’s Hospital, which was named one of TTF’s new play grants recipients; and the next generation of leaders from University of North Texas at Dallas, who congratulated and networked with winners.
The prestigious awards spotlighted the finalists across 17 categories of play, including collectibles, grown-up, plush, specialty, and the newly created ride-on category. Eighteen winners were announced, including a tie for Specialty Toy of the Year. The coveted overall Toy of the Year and People’s Choice award winners will be announced on November 21, 2022, bringing an element of excitement to consumers at the peak of the holiday shopping season.
The following TOTY winners were announced tonight, giving consumers gift ideas as they begin their holiday shopping:
- Action Figure of the Year: Jurassic World Dominion Super Colossal Giganotosaurus (Mattel)
- Collectible of the Year: LEGO Minifigures The Muppets (LEGO Systems)
- Construction Toy of the Year: LEGO MARVEL I am Groot (LEGO Systems)
- Creative Toy of the Year: Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball (Moose Toys)
- Doll of the Year: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fresh Fierce Collection by The Fresh Dolls (World of EPI Company)
- Game of the Year: Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon GO Elite Trainer Box (The Pokémon Company International)
- Grown-Up Toy of the Year: LEGO Ideas The Office (LEGO Systems)
- Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year: CoComelon Ultimate Learning Adventure Bus (Just Play)
- License of the Year: Squishmallows (Jazwares)
- Outdoor Toy of the Year: Twister SPLASH (WowWee)
- Playset of the Year: LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Peach Starter Course (LEGO Systems)
- Plush Toy of the Year: 16″ Squishmallows (Jazwares)
- Preschool Toy of the Year: Crayola Color & Erase Reusable Mat (Crayola)
- Ride-On Toy of the Year: Mario Kart 24V Ride-On Racer (JAKKS Pacific)
- Specialty Toy of the Year: Ann Williams Craft-tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt Potions (PlayMonster Group) and Snap Circuits: Green Energy (ELENCO)
- STEAM Toy of the Year: Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit (Abacus Brands)
- Vehicle of the Year: LEGO Technic McLaren Formula 1 Race Car (LEGO Systems)
“We are excited to have the industry in-person to celebrate the TOTY winners, all of which are extraordinary examples of creativity and imagination that deliver the benefits of play to children and adults alike,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We congratulate each of the category winners, and all the innovative nominees, on receiving this incredible honor and we thank the industry for continuing to choose this award ceremony to support the Foundation’s programming and raise funds for the benefit of children in need.”
The TOTY Awards received 550 submissions over the summer. Of those, a panel of expert judges — comprised of toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists — reviewed and ranked the products before selecting 122 finalists. Category winners were determined by votes from Toy Association members, toy retailers (mass and specialty), media, and consumers. The overall Toy of the Year award winner will be determined by a panel of expert judges and the People’s Choice award winner will be decided by online consumer votes (open until November 11 at ToyAwards.org); both will be announced on November 21, 2022. All results are audited for accuracy, including the judging and voting process.
The TOTY Awards, now taking place annually in the fall, highlight the industry’s support for TTF’s programs. With help from the industry this year, more than $4 million in aid was delivered to Ukrainian children and families; play therapy activities were made available to 175,000 pediatric patients; and young, diverse talent was introduced to careers in toys.
For more information about the TOTY Awards voting and selection process, visit ToyAwards.org.
The next TOTY Awards will take place September 29, 2023, kicking off Toy Fair week (taking place September 30 to October 3) in New York City.