Nominations & Selection Process

Nominations for the 2023 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards will open in the spring.



Products or properties may be nominated by any individual authorized to submit the nomination on behalf of the product manufacturer, importer, or licensor. Toy Association membership is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination. No single product will be allowed to be nominated in more than one category. Duplicate nominations will not be reviewed by judges and will be disqualified.

Market Availability

All TOTY 2023 nominated products must:

  • Have been introduced to the marketplace within the last two years and be available at retail in North America on or before November 1, 2023;
    (NOTE: This can include a new version of an older product line, if the “new” product or reiteration has been introduced within the last two years.)
  • If submitting a crowd-funded item, the product must be fully funded by June 1, 2023 with retail availability by November 1, 2023.

Through our unique partnership with Nemours, we have come to understand more about how children and families experience healthcare and identify ways that play can become part of trauma-informed patient care. 

Research findings are currently being used to develop materials and approaches, that will aid in the healing and recovery process. Using play intervention materials and other related resources, our goal is to support and comfort children experiencing both short-term and long-term effects, due to illnesses, injuries, or painful procedures.

Intellectual Property Rights & Originality

The product manufacturer, private labeler, importer or licensor of every product submitted for consideration in the TOTY awards must own or have been granted permission to use all intellectual property rights. The submitted product must not infringe upon any other party and/or another party’s intellectual property rights. Court Orders Involving infringement of intellectual property rights, the originality or lack or originality of a product submission can be grounds to invalidate TOTY consideration. A further qualification of an award can be required verification at any time that the product submission is not in breach of this representation or is not subject to such Order(s).

Safety Reports

If a product is selected for the TOTY Awards ballot, the manufacturer, private labeler, or importer of record must agree to provide copies of all relevant safety test reports to The Toy Association for reference should any safety issues be called into question by regulatory or consumer groups during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season or beyond.

Nomination Criteria

Each product nomination must include a brief (50 word) product description AND a statement (up to 100 words) explaining to the nomination committee why the product is deserving of recognition on the TOTY Awards ballot. Consideration will be given to:

  • Creativity and Originality
  • Design and Quality
  • Play Value

Finalist Selection

Finalists will be selected by a panel of 20-25 judges comprised of industry experts including toy specialists, journalists, and retailers.

The judges will receive all the nominations submitted for review and will rank the nominations on a scale of 1-5 on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and Originality
  • Design and Quality
  • Play Value

Following the online evaluation, the judges will meet for an in-person session to discuss and decide the TOTY finalists for each category. The selection of finalists will be based on both the data and personal statements provided in the nomination materials.

No brand will be allowed to have more than one (1) finalist in a single category. Companies can still have up to two (2) finalists, as long as they are not the same brand.

Each product selected as a finalist will be featured on

TOTY Finalist Seals will be available for purchase by the finalists when they are announced. TOTY Finalist Seals are to be used exclusively and only for the marketing & promotions of TOTY Finalist products (product packaging, e-commerce, and social media).

Toy of the Year Voting

For the individual product and property categories, the ballots are weighted as follows: Toy Association members* (30%), retailers (30%), media* (30%), and consumers (10%).

*Toy Association members and media will be allowed only one vote per company.


The winner in this category will be determined exclusively by votes received on this website.


The overall Toy of the Year will be chosen by a panel of industry representatives who, using their professional expertise, will consider multiple factors in making their decision, including Toy of the Year votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social).

Product Samples

No product samples are required with the submission form. If a product is selected as a TOTY finalist, The Toy Association will contact the nominator/company contact for product samples.