The Toy Foundation™ Reveals the 2023 Toy of the Year® Awards Finalists
Voting Now Open; Category Winners to be Announced September 29
NEW YORK, NY | August 21, 2023 – An animated game to create movie magic, an activity table to drop musical "beets," and an 8-foot inflatable obstacle course to spark endless outdoor fun are among the inventive finalists for the prestigious Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards. Today, The Toy Foundation™ (TTF) announced the top 122 toys, games, and properties across 17 product categories (listed below) that are advancing the world of play.
Consumers are invited to visit ToyAwards.org to see the complete list of product category finalists and vote for their favorites to help determine the category winners through September 8.
The product finalists were selected by an independent panel of play experts, journalists, academics, retailers, and other toy experts, who narrowed down the pool from the hundreds of nominations submitted by toy companies of all sizes. The category winners, determined by votes from consumers, Toy Association members, retailers, and media, will be announced at the TOTY Awards on September 29 in New York City. As the kickoff to Toy Fair®, the TOTY Awards are the biggest night of the year for toys, where the industry gathers to recognize innovation across every category of play. The night is also the ultimate fundraiser to support TTF’s work delivering the extraordinary benefits of play to children in need around the world.
The Toy of the Year and People’s Choice winners will be announced on November 20, in time to create peak holiday shopping buzz. Voting for the People’s Choice Award, uniquely decided by online consumer votes will remain open through November 10. The Toy of the Year will be determined by a panel of expert judges.
New for the TOTY Awards, the achievements of industry trailblazers and outstanding initiatives will be celebrated across four people-focused and two campaign-focused categories. Twenty-seven professionals are recognized as finalists for uniquely advancing the toy industry across sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion; packaging design; and PR/marketing. The people-focused category winners will be determined by Toy Association member votes. An independent panel of marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, assembled in partnership with Advertising Week, have evaluated the campaign-focused nominations and will determine the winners.
“This year’s TOTY Awards finalists are an unmatched lineup of toys, games, and professionals that represent the best of the best in the toy industry,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We look forward to celebrating all of the finalists at the industry’s biggest night of the year, plus advance the industry’s collective philanthropy for the benefit of children in need.”
TTF aims to be the uniting force for the collective philanthropy of the toy industry for the benefit of all children in need. In 2022, the industry’s support helped TTF reach more than 925,000 children and all proceeds generated from the TOTY Awards will help TTF impact even more children through the distribution of toys through The Toy Bank℠, support of play therapy programs in children’s hospitals, and development of the next generation of diverse talent for the industry.
2023 Toy of the Year Award Finalists
PRODUCT CATEGORY FINALISTS:
Images available at ToyAwards.org/Press
ACTION FIGURE OF THE YEAR
Toys that represent a person or fictional character intended for active, imaginative, and narrative-based play.
- Gunslinger Spawn with Horse by McFarlane Toys
- Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Deep Goo Sea Triple Goo King Hydra by Moose Toys
- Jurassic Park Real FX Baby T-Rex by Wow! Stuff
- Jurassic World: Dominion Roar Strikers by Mattel, Inc.
- Pokémon Train & Play Deluxe Pikachu by Jazwares
- Star Wars: Chatter Back Chopper Animatronic by Hasbro
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem by Playmates Toys
COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that compose a set and can be collected in multiples, including novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.
- Bitzee by Spin Master
- Furby Interactive by Hasbro
- LEGO® Minifigures Disney 100 by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Monster High Skullector Line by Mattel, Inc.
- My Arcade® Micro Player Pro by My Arcade®
- Shashibo Grateful Dead Series by Fun In Motion Toys
- Squishmallows Pokémon Collection by Jazwares
CONSTRUCTION TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that include building as the primary play pattern.
- Create A Castle BuildMaster Indoor Activity Starter Kit by Create A Castle
- Hot Wheels® Smash n Crash Bone Shaker™ Crush Course by Mattel, Inc.
- LEGO® Disney ‘Up’ House by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- LEGO® Friends Heartlake International School by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- MEGA Forest Pokémon Center by Mattel, Inc.
- National Geographic Epic Forts by Blue Marble
- STEM Explorers™ Bridge Builders by Learning Resources
CREATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that allow kids to build and/or make items that are unique to them.
- American Girl® Create Your Own™ by Mattel, Inc.
- Beast Lab by Moose Toys
- Cool Maker PopStyle Bracelet Maker by Spin Master
- Creative-Tonies by Tonies USA
- Mars Rovers Clixo Pack by Toyish Labs
- National Geographic Hobby Pottery Wheel by Blue Marble
- Skillmatics Foil Fun by Skillmatics
- Tasty Labs: Wizard Potion Science Kit by Thames & Kosmos
DOLL OF THE YEAR
Toys that include baby, toddler, and fashion dolls.
- Barbie The Movie Dolls by Mattel, Inc.
- CreativeSoul Dolls by Disney Consumer Products
- Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Doll by Mattel, Inc.
- Latinistas Fashion Dolls by Purpose Toys
- Magic Mixies Pixlings by Moose Toys
- The Fresh Beats Collection by World of EPI
- Under the Sea Exploring Ariel Doll by JAKKS Pacific
GAME OF THE YEAR
Games for families and children (ages 0-14), including board, card, electronic, or other physical game formats and puzzles. Exclusive of video or app games.
- 5 Second Rule Relay by PlayMonster
- Beat the 8 Ball by Blue Orange Games
- Disney Animated Game by Funko Games
- Game Night in a Can by Goliath Games
- KidKraft Beat Board™ by KidKraft
- Magic 8 Ball Magical Encounters Board Game by Mattel, Inc.
- Search Party: Chaos at The Park by Relatable (formerly What Do You Meme?)
- Shashibo Battle Shapes by Fun In Motion Toys
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 and are not “adult toys” nor sexual in nature.
- Chicken vs Hotdog by Big Potato Games
- Dumb Ways to Die Card Game by Spin Master
- Flyer™ Folding Cargo eBike by Radio Flyer
- Kanoodle® Pyramid by Educational Insights
- LEGO® Art Hokusai: The Great Wave by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- LEGO® The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell™ by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- The Riddler Puzzle Box by Edward Nygma – Detective Mode by McFarlane Toys
INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for ages 0-3. (Infant is defined as 0-18 months. Toddler is defined as 18 months-3 years)
- Crawligator by Kiddy Crawler
- Deluxe Push & Play Cube Walker by Radio Flyer
- Laugh & Learn® Mix & Learn DJ Table™ by Mattel, Inc.
- LEGO® DUPLO® 3 in 1 Tree House by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Let the Beet Drop DJ Set by Skip Hop
- Miniland Sensorial Reef by Miniland
- Pop It & Learn by Buffalo Games
- Sleepy Friends: Sleepy Sheep Night Light Tonie by Tonies USA
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 Franchise by Mattel, Inc.
- Bluey by BBC Studios
- Disney 100 by The Walt Disney Company
- Magic: The Gathering The Lord of The Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ by Hasbro
- Spider-Man by The Walt Disney Company
- Squishmallows by Jazwares
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem by Paramount Consumer Products
OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys designed for outdoor play, excluding ride-ons.
- Bunch O Balloons Tropical Party Self-Sealing Water Balloons by ZURU
- Cosmic Kick the Can by Starlux Games
- Faction Skyfire Tactical Target Drone by Skyrocket
- Monopoly SPLASH by WowWee
- National Geographic Volcano Bean Bag Toss by Blue Marble
- Sky Viper Vector Performance Stunt Jet by Skyrocket
- Step2 Space Capsule Swing by The Step2 Company
PLAYSET OF THE YEAR
Toys designed to work together to enact some action or event, including characters and role play.
- Deluxe Grill & Pizza Oven Play Set by Melissa & Doug
- Green Planet Explorers: Pandas’ Bamboo House by Hape
- KidKraft Ultimate Helicopter by KidKraft
- Little Tikes Adventure Rocket by MGA Entertainment
- PAW Patrol Mighty Aircraft Carrier HQ by Spin Master
- PLAYMOBIL My Figures: Pirates' Island by PLAYMOBIL
- Scribble Scrubbie Glow Lagoon Playset by Crayola
PLUSH TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys made of fabric and stuffed with cotton or a similar filling, including toys with interactive or electronic features.
- 16” Squishmallows by Jazwares
- Build-A-Bear Plush Axolotl by Build-A-Bear Workshop
- Cookeez Makery by Moose Toys
- Fluffie Stuffiez Plush by MGA Entertainment
- GUND Recycled Plush by Spin Master
- Slumberkins How to Bee Helpful Set by Slumberkins
- tonies® x Steiff Jimmy Bear by Tonies USA
PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for ages 3-5.
- Color Wonder Fingerpaint Activity Book by Crayola
- Hurry Up Chicken Butt by Exploding Kittens
- LEGO® Disney Celebration Train by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- MAGNA-TILES® Downhill Duo 40-Piece Set by MAGNA-TILES
- Reel Big Catch Game by Educational Insights
- SmartGames Safari Park Jr. by Smart Toys and Games
- TinkerTar by Buffalo Games
RIDE-ON TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys designed to be ridden outdoors, such as motorized vehicles, bicycles, scooters, wagons, etc.
- Crazy Cart Shuffle by Razor USA
- Droyd Romper by Droyd
- Extreme Drift Go-Kart by Radio Flyer
- Ground Force Elite by Razor USA
- Highwaykick 1 by Scoot & Ride
- Little Tikes Street Burner by MGA Entertainment
- YBIKE Leap by National Sporting Goods
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.
- Anywhere Sports - Trampoline Pong by Thin Air Brands
- Deep Ocean Creatures Clixo Pack by Toyish Labs
- KAI: The Artificial Intelligence Robot by Thames & Kosmos
- Plus-Plus Puzzle by Number Map by Plus-Plus
- Razor Deck by Storyastic
- Shashibo Jumbie Artist Series by Fun In Motion Toys
- Stapelstein by Stapelstein®
STEAM TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that encourage kids to develop, strengthen, and integrate skills across science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
- Air Toobz by Fat Brain Toy Co.
- Cranium Big Brain: Detective Game by Funko Games
- DK Virtual Reality Dinosaurs! by Abacus Brands
- LEGO® Technic NASA Mars Rover Perseverance by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Little Tikes Big Adventures™ Metal Detector Mining Truck by MGA Entertainment
- Magic Adventures™ Telescope by LeapFrog®
- National Geographic Mega Science Advent Calendar by Blue Marble
VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Toy cars, trucks, trains, and other vehicles in all scales, including R/C vehicles.
- Bubble Blitz by Odyssey Toys
- Hot Wheels® Ultimate T-Rex Transporter by Mattel, Inc.
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Train by Disney Consumer Products
- Monster Jam Mystery Mudders by Spin Master
- RC Akula (Avatar: The Way of Water) by McFarlane Toys
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Pizza Fire Van by Playmates Toys
- TrainBots: 2-in-1 STEAM Maker Kit by Thames & Kosmos
PEOPLE-FOCUSED CATEGORY FINALISTS:
Headshots and bios available here
CHAMPION OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Recognizes an individual who has shown a strong commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable industry by promoting and celebrating diversity.
- Brent Bell, Art Director at Moose Toys
- Dr. Zabina Bhasin, Founder & CEO at In Kidz
- Esra Cafer, Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Hasbro
- Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President & Head of Design at Mattel, Inc.
- Karen Kelly, Manager of Executive Communications & DEI and Community Engagement at Crayola
- Vanessa Raponi, P.Eng, PMP Manager of Manufacturing Engineering Product at Spin Master
- Genna Rosenberg, Changemaker & CEO at GennComm
- Dr. Lisa Williams, Founder & CEO at World of EPI
- DeeDee Wright-Ward, CEO at Purpose Toys
CHAMPION OF SUSTAINABILITY
Recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions or acted as a change catalyst to develop purposeful, environmentally friendly, and mission-driven programs that lead the way in creating a better future for the toy industry.
- Peter Handstein, CEO at Hape International
- Jason Kroskrity, Director of Sustainable Development, Chemistry, & Materials at Mattel, Inc.
- Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer at Radio Flyer
- G.B. Pillai, Founder at Wild Republic
PACKAGING DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional creativity in designing packaging for toys, including originality, innovation, and iconic value.
- Ingrid Chow, Art Director at Abacus Brands
- Tim Conlin, SNAP CIRCUITS® Logo & Packaging Re-Design Initiative at Elenco Electronics LLC
- Shane Hartley, Creative Director of Global Games & Disney Lorcana at Ravensburger
- Suzanna Lakatos, Director of Packaging Design at Mattel, Inc.
- David Pearce, Principal Graphic Designer of Packaging & Branding, Boys Brands at Moose Toys
PR/MARKETER OF THE YEAR
Recognizes an individual who has achieved outstanding and proven results in promoting toys to consumers.
- Caleigh Anthony, Director of Global Communications at Spin Master
- Jessica Kalichman, Director of Marketing at WowWee
- Lisa Krueger, Senior Communications Director at Ravensburger North America
- Sarah Madey, Director of Marketing & Franchise, Hasbro Gaming at Hasbro
- Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President & Chief Brand Officer, Mattel, Inc.
- Erika Merklinger, PR & Communications Manager at Crayola
- Dana Moncrief, Senior Director of Public Relations at Moose Toys
- Lisa Orman, President at KidStuff Public Relations
- Lee Parkhurst, Senior Marketing Manager at Educational Insights
For more information about the TOTY Awards voting and selection process, visit ToyAwards.org.
About The Toy Foundation™ www.toyfoundation.org
The Toy Foundation™ (TTF) is a 501 (c)(3) children's charity and philanthropic arm of The Toy Association™. Our mission is to be the uniting force for the collective philanthropy of the toy industry for the benefit of all children in need. In collaboration with the toy industry, TTF aims to create a world where every child experiences the comfort, joy, and extraordinary physical, emotional, and educational benefits of play through three program areas – The Toy BankSM; Play Grants; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pipeline Program. TTF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, has delivered more than $284 million in toys to 31 million children around the world. In 2022, TTF provided $1.9 million in Play Grants to children’s hospitals nationwide and global partner organizations actively assisting thousands of Ukrainian refugees. TTF launched its DEI program in 2022 working with a network of colleges and universities to attract diverse talent to career pathways in the toy industry.