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Licensing Awards: Toy Of The Year Finalists Named

The Toy Industry has announced the finalists for the coveted Toy of the Year Awards for 2022.

From creative construction toys and innovative collectibles to lovable plush and toys for grown-ups, the finalists announced this week will certainly be topping 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 114 finalists were announced Monday morning by a group of kid & family influencers. Licensing pros and the general public can now head to www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite toys & games in each of the 16 categories, browse toys, and download shopping lists for the holidays.

One interesting trend is that, for the third year in a row, the toymaker Mattel topped the list for the most products tapped as a TOTY finalist, with a record 17 entries.

“Leading The Toy Association’s Toy of the Year finalist list is a testament to the strength of our portfolio of iconic brands and world-renowned licensed partnerships,” said Steve Totzke, Global Chief Commercial Officer at Mattel.  “Congratulations to all finalists who are dedicated to uniting fans of all ages through play.”

The iconic Barbie is among the finalists for top doll of the year, one of a record 17 finalists for toymaker Mattel in the 2022 Toy Of The Year Awards.

Voting will close Jan. 4, 2022, and every vote cast serves as an entry in the TOTY sweepstakes, giving consumers a chance to take home the winning toy in each category!

“Each and every finalist announced today demonstrates the incredible ability of toys and play to bring inspiration, laughter, and learning to children of all ages!” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We congratulate the outstanding finalists and look forward to announcing the winners in each category, as well as the coveted overall ‘Toy of the Year’ winner and ‘People’s Choice’ honoree, at our gala in February.

“As the most critical annual fundraiser for The Toy Foundation, that night will be especially meaningful for the toy community, with 100% of the gala’s proceeds benefitting programs that deliver toys, funds, and the healing power of play to children in need.”

This year’s TOTY finalists were selected from 623 nominees submitted in 16 different categories. Twenty-three judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists reviewed and ranked the products in categories relevant to their areas of expertise before determining the finalists. They considered each product’s creativity, design, and play value.

Winners will be announced at The Toy Foundation’s TOTY Awards gala on Friday, February 18, 2022. 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.

In the list below, we’ve included every finalist for the TOTY Awards, in Alphabetical order, by category:

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

  • Akedo – Ultimate Arcade Warriors by Moose Toys
  • Avengers Hasbro Marvel Mech Strike 8″ Super Hero Action Figure – Ultimate Mech Suit Iron Man and Captain America by Hasbro
  • Bakugan GeoForge Dragonoid by Spin Master
  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu by Moose Toys
  • Jurassic World Ocean Protector Mosasaurus by Mattel
  • Masters of the Universe: Masterverse by Mattel
  • Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu by Hasbro

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.

  • 5 Surprise Toy Mini Brands by ZURU
  • Chuckle & Roar Pop It! Family by Buffalo Games
  • Funko POP! Star Trek: The Original Series Collection by Funko
  • Got2Glow Fairy Finder by WowWee
  • Hot Wheels Red Line Club by Mattel
  • LEGO Minifigures MARVEL Studios by The LEGO Group
  • Polly Pocket Compacts – Pocket World Assortment by Mattel

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

  • Arckit 100 by Arckit
  • Gears! Gears! Gears! Mega Builds by Learning Resources
  • Gravity Bugs: Free-Climbing MicroBot by Thames & Kosmos
  • LEGO Friends Heartlake City Grand Hotel by The LEGO Group
  • LEGO Spider-Man Daily Bugle by The LEGO Group
  • Snap Circuits MyHome by Elenco
  • Zig & Go Music by DJECO-US

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

  • Connetix 100 Piece Rainbow Creative Pack by Connetix Tiles
  • Follies by Follies
  • Hey Clay by Trendformer Ltd.
  • Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron by Moose Toys
  • LEGO VIDIYO The Boombox by The LEGO Group
  • Paint & Peel Jelly Stickers by Klutz
  • Pixicade Plus by BitOGenius, Inc.

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

  • Ada Twist, Scientist Lab Doll by Just Play
  • Baby Alive Lulu Achoo Assortment by Hasbro
  • Baby Bee Doll Collection by Orijin Bees
  • Barbie Extra by Mattel
  • Disney Classic Dolls by The Walt Disney Company
  • Glo-Up Girls by Far Out Toys
  • Rainbow High Winter Break Dolls by MGA Entertainment
  • Spirit Untamed Ride Together Lucky & Spirit by Mattel

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

  • A Game of Cat and Mouth by Exploding Kittens
  • Crossed Signals by Mattel
  • Disney It’s a Small World Game by Funko Games
  • GibGab by Fat Brain Toy Co.
  • Hedbanz Blast Off! by Spin Master
  • Marvel Villainous by Ravensburger
  • Monopoly Builder by Hasbro

*NEW* GROWN-UP TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys and games developed primarily for grown-ups/kidults, including party games, board games, collectibles, arts and crafts, and more. These toys are often fueled by fandoms, social media, and adult humor while they are not “adult toys” nor sexual in nature

  • Disney Castle Collection by The Walt Disney Company
  • EXIT: The Game Season 5 Bundle by Thames & Kosmos
  • Hot Wheels R/C 1:10 Tesla Cybertruck by Mattel
  • Kinetic Sand Kinetic Kalm Zen Box by Spin Master
  • LEGO Botanical Collection Flower Bouquet by The LEGO Group
  • Rambler 16 by Razor
  • The Beatles Collection Magna-Tiles Structures by CreateOn
  • The Goonies: Never Say Die by Funko Games

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

  • Classic Push & Play Walker by Radio Flyer
  • Crayola Light-Up Activity Board by Crayola
  • Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot by Mattel
  • LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot by LeapFrog
  • Musical Whale Fountain by Hape
  • SpiroKu by Fat Brain Toy Co.
  • VTech Sort & Recycle Ride-On Truck by VTech

The Australian kids’ show Bluey that became a global hit is among the finalists for the Top License of the Year in the 2022 Toy Of The Year Awards program.

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

  • Barbie by Mattel
  • Blue’s Clues & You! by ViacomCBS
  • Bluey by BBC Studios
  • Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends by Marvel
  • Masters of the Universe by Mattel
  • PAW Patrol: The Movie by Spin Master and ViacomCBS
  • Pokémon by The Pokémon Company International

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

  • Aerobie Sonic Fin Football by Spin Master
  • Disney Princess Cinderella 24V Carriage by Dynacraft BSC, Inc.
  • Fisher-Price Power Wheels Hot Wheels Racer by Mattel
  • KidKraft Nerf Command Base Battle Fort by KidKraft
  • Mobo Wobo 2-in-1 Rocking Baby Balance Bike by Asa Products
  • Step2 Safari Truck Climber by Step2 Company LLC
  • ZURU Crazy Bunch O Balloons by ZURU

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

  • Barbie Dreamhouse by Mattel
  • Batman Bat-Tech Batcave Transforming Playset by Spin Master
  • Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle by Hasbro
  • JUNKBOTS Large Factory Habitat – New Port Power Plant by HEXBUG
  • LEGO Star Wars Boba Fett’s Starship by The LEGO Group
  • LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course by The LEGO Group
  • Super Mario Deluxe Bowser’s Airship Playset by Jakks Pacific

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

  • Blue’s Clues & You! Check-up Time Blue by Just Play
  • Moji The Loveable Labradoodle by Skyrocket
  • Scruff-A-Luvs Cutie Cuts by Moose Toys
  • Squishmallows by Jazwares
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child Real Moves Plush by Mattel
  • TeeTurtle Reversible Plushies by Tee Turtle, LLC
  • ZURU Rainbocorns Fairycorns by ZURU

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

  • Big Feelings Pineapple by Learning Resources
  • Fisher-Price B.B. Hoopster by Mattel
  • Land of Dough by Crazy Aaron’s
  • LeapFrog LeapLand Adventures by LeapFrog
  • LEGO Disney Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana’s Storybook Adventures by The LEGO Group
  • Tonies by Tonies
  • VTech KidiZoom PrintCam by VTech

SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys from manufacturers that primarily do business through independent retailers (neighborhood toy stores, museum shops, vacation destinations and similar venues) or in limited quantities online

  • American Girl 35th Anniversary Collection Dolls, Books & Accessories by Mattel
  • Dimpl Pops Deluxe by Fat Brain Toy Co.
  • Hide Inside: Mixed Emotions by Crazy Aaron’s
  • LEGO Everyone is Awesome by The Lego Group
  • Loopdedoo Deluxe by PlayMonster
  • Shashibo Explorer Series by Fun in Motion Toys
  • Snap Circuits Discover Coding by Elenco

STEAM TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that encourage kids to develop, strengthen and integrate skills across science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics

  • Bill Nye’s VR Space Lab by Abacus Brands
  • Candy Claw Machine: Arcade Game Maker Lab by Thames & Kosmos
  • GraviTrax Speed Set by Ravensburger
  • Gridopolis by Gridopolis Games
  • LEGO CREATOR 3-in-1 Ferris Wheel by The Lego Group
  • Smartivity Pinball Machine by Smartivity Labs/Elenco
  • VTech Marble Rush Ultimate Set by VTech

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

  • Air Hogs Jump Fury by Spin Master
  • Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Dinobots Unite Roll N’ Change Bumblebee by Hasbro
  • Hot Wheels Color Reveal by Mattel
  • LEGO Creator Expert Porche 911 by The Lego Group
  • PAW Patrol: The Movie Chase’s Transforming City Cruiser by Spin Master
  • PLAYMOBIL Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus by Playmobil
  • VTech Switch & Go Velociraptor Helicopter by VTech

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 Foundation                        www.toyfoundation.org 
The Toy Foundation (TTF) is a 501 (c)3 children’s charity whose mission is to provide philanthropic support and the vital commodity of play to children and families under stress and in dire situations, across the country and globe. TTF’s donations represent the charitable works of TTF and the toy industry. Last year, TTF provided $360K in cash grants to nearly 4 million children severely impacted by the pandemic. Since its inception in 2003, TTF’s signature Toy Bank has provided $225 million in toys to more than 26 million underserved children coping with serious illness, enduring temporary home placements in the foster care system, living with domestic violence, and/or dealing with natural disasters. TTF is also broadening its mission to provide grant funding to children’s hospitals to encourage healing through play and to foster a diverse and inclusive culture and pipeline of talent for the toy industry.

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