It was a tussle of the titans as play professionals and toy fans around the globe celebrated the Toy Association’s 21st annual Toy of the Year Awards this weekend, with both Mattel and LEGO emerging with four award wins each.
This year’s online event peeled back the curtain on what is normally an industry-exclusive ceremony held in New York City, allowing play enthusiasts from around the world to witness an all-virtual ceremony of the awards labelled as ‘the Oscars of the toy industry.’
During the livestream, viewers witnessed the overall Toy of the Year Award go to Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Child Animatronic Edition Toy, a product that also scooped Innovative Toy of the Year, as well as watch global toy makers Mattel and LEGO score no fewer than four award wins a piece.
Meanwhile, in a surprise announcement, two winners were chosen for the People’s Choice Award; Story Time Chess (Story Time Chess), a classic game re-imagined for the youngest of players, and The Original Spawn Action Figure and Comic Remastered (McFarlane Toys), a fan-favourite that has its roots in Kickstarter success.
Toy of the Year Awards were handed out in 16 categories. The winners are:
Action Figure of the Year: Fisher-Price #ThankYouHeroes Line (Mattel)
Collectible of the Year: LEGO Super Mario Character Packs (LEGO)
Construction Toy of the Year: LEGO Star Wars The Razor Crest (LEGO)
Creative Toy of the Year: Crayola Colors of the World Crayons (Crayola LLC)
Doll of the Year: Barbie Color Reveal (Mattel)
Game of the Year: Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Company International)
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel)
Innovative Toy of the Year: Star Wars: The Child Animatronic Edition Toy (Hasbro)
License of the Year: Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney)
Outdoor Toy of the Year: Ultimate Go-Kart (Radio Flyer)
Playset of the Year: LEGO Super Mario Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set (LEGO)
Plush Toy of the Year: Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child 11” Plush (Mattel)
Preschool Toy of the Year: PAW Patrol Dino Patroller (Spin Master)
Specialty Toy of the Year: LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (LEGO)
STEAM Toy of the Year: Mega Cyborg Hand (Thames & Kosmos)
Vehicle of the Year: PLAYMOBIL Back To The Future DeLorean (PLAYMOBIL)
Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, said: “From 117 outstanding finalists to this year’s TOTY winners, to Hasbro’s Toy of the Year Award and two unique People’s Choice winners, each underscores the joy of play in uncertain times, the togetherness of family game night, as well as the swiftly-evolving retail and e-commerce landscape.
“The TOTYs continue to reflect the toy and play community’s passion and perseverance, all while honoring the richly deserving Hall of Fame inductees. It also raises vital funding for The Toy Foundation as it embarks on impactful new programs supporting children’s hospitals and driving diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in the toy industry. We thank the independent expert judging panels and the tens of thousands of individuals who voted this year.”
During the event, four toy industry visionaries were also officially inducted into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame. This year saw Philip Bloom, founder and former publisher of The Bloom Report; William C. Killgallon, chairman of the board at The Ohio Art Company; Pleasant T. Rowland, founder of American Girl, a division of Mattel, Inc.; and the late Margarete Steiff, founder and creator of Steiff were all inducted.
Read more about the Hall of Fame inductees here.
More than 500 TOTY Award nominees poured in late last summer. Of those, 117 finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges. Category winners were then determined based on votes from toy retailers (mass and specialty), media, Toy Association members, and consumers.
The “Toy of the Year” winner was determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social).
The “People’s Choice” award winners were uniquely selected by online consumer votes. All results were audited for accuracy, including the judging and voting process, and The NPD Group validated marketplace acceptance. Descriptions of all TOTY finalists can be found at ToyAwards.org.