More than five hundred toy industry executives and guests from around the globe gathered in New York City on February 11 to honor their peers at the 12th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
A Toy Industry Association (TIA)-administered event in support of the Toy Industry Foundation, the gala held in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center kicked off the 109th American International Toy Fair and paid tribute to today’s superstars, tomorrow’s bright up-and-comers, and illustrious toy industry icons.
Interspersed with the presentations of 12 TOTY Awards were two inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Arnie Rubin, Founder and CEO of Funrise Toy, and the late Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder of FAO Schwarz. The new inductees join a distinguished roster of nearly 60 toy industry luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since its establishment in 1985.
Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media, and members of the toy industry. The five ballots were weighted and used to determine the category winners as well as the overall “Toy of the Year” award.
LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. received the coveted “Toy of the Year” title and was also awarded Educational Toy of the Year and Preschool Toy of the Year. The awards program included 77 finalists across the 11 categories.
And the winners are…
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO NINJAGO Fire Temple by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel, Inc.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the Educational Toy of the Year was presented to LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
- Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Angry Birds Knock On Wood Game by Mattel, Inc.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to Fijit Friends Interactive Figures by Mattel / Radica.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to Elefun Busy Ball Popper by Hasbro / Playskool.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to Hot Wheels Wall Tracks by Mattel, Inc.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to Rockboard Scooter – Mini by M.Y. Products LLC.
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5) the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
- Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, Property of the Year was presented to Angry Birds by Rovio Entertainment Ltd/ Striker Entertainment (Licensing Agent).
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to HEXBUG Nano Hive TM Habitat Set by Innovation First Labs, Inc.
Descriptions of each TOTY-nominated toy and links to each manufacturer’s website can be found online at ToyAwards.org. The finalists were selected from nearly 600 products and properties submitted for consideration. Nomination committees comprised of academics, journalists and toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers narrowed the field to the slate of 77 finalists.
Event sponsors for the evening were JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (diamond level), PlaSmart, Inc. and York-Jersey Underwriters (gold level), and Dallas Market Center (silver level).