Source: The Toy Association

They’re often considered to be the Oscars of the toy industry, and on Friday, Feb. 12, the next Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards will be distributed virtually during a special online presentation. Usually, the awards are presented during a gala held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City as Toy Fair New York gets underway. With Toy Fair pushed into May due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the toy industry will come together earlier than ever for the virtual 2021 presentation.

After carefully examining 557 nominees submitted by 205 companies, a panel of 18 industry experts determined this year’s 117 finalists across 16 categories. One winner in each category, along with the consumer-chosen People’s Choice Award and the overall Toy of the Year Award, will be presented in February. Now it’s your chance to vote for your favorites.

“Throughout history, the toy community has demonstrated a remarkable ability to inspire generations of play, in both good times and bad. During the pandemic, we have witnessed firsthand just how important toys are in bringing fun, laughter, and learning into the home,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association. “This year’s TOTY finalists, carefully reviewed by a panel of expert judges, truly represent the creative spirit of the North American toy industry and our members, as well as the critical role toys play in bringing joy to kids and adults alike. It is a great honor to unveil the incredible slate of finalists today!”

Here are the finalists for the 2021 TOTY Awards:

Action Figure of the Year

Toys that represent a person or fictional character intended for active, imaginative and narrative-based play.

  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu (Moose Toys)
  • The Original Spawn Action Figure and Comic Remastered (2020) (McFarlane Toys)
  • Treasure X (Moose Toys)
  • Anime Heroes (Bandai America)
  • AlterNation Action Figure Assortment (Panda Mony Toy Brands)
  • Batman 4-inch Action Figures (Spin Master)
  • Fisher-Price #ThankYouHeroes Line (Mattel Inc.)

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.

  • Charaction Cube (Bandai America)
  • LEGO Super Mario Character Packs (The LEGO Group)
  • HEXBUG Junkbots Large Dumpster (HEXBUG)
  • Blume Petal Pets (Skyrocket)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Remix Hair Flip (MGA Entertainment)
  • Space Invaders Micro Player (My Arcade)
  • Hairdorables Hair Art Series (Just Play)

Construction Toy of the Year

Toys that include building as the primary play pattern.

  • BRIO Motor Set (BRIO)
  • LEGO Friends Rescue Mission Boat (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • LEGO Star Wars The Razor Crest (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Snap Ships Sabre XF-23 Interceptor (PlayMonster)
  • Plus-Plus GO! Street Racing Super Set (Plus-Plus)
  • SolarBots: 8-in-1 Solar Robot Kit (Thames & Kosmos)
  • Mega Construx Halo – Pelican Inbound (Mattel Inc.)

Creative Toy of the Year

Toys that allow kids to build and/or make items that are unique to them.

  • Crayola Colors of the World Crayons (Crayola LLC)
  • Swirl & Style Tie Dye Studio Maker (YULU)
  • Chocolate Pen (Skyrocket)
  • Clixo (Toyish Labs)
  • Big Gem Diamond Painting: Magical (Creativity for Kids by Faber-Castell USA)
  • Kinetic Sand Sandwhirlz Set (Spin Master)
  • Face Paintoos Party Pack (PlayMonster)

Doll of the Year

Toys that include baby, toddler, and fashion dolls.

  • Zoe (Healthy Roots Dolls)
  • Barbie Color Reveal (Mattel Inc.)
  • L.O.L Surprise! OMG Remix Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
  • Rainbow High Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
  • FailFix (Moose Toys)
  • Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Wash Your Hands Singing Doll (Just Play)
  • The Fresh Dolls (World of EPI and Kidfinity)
  • Cave Club Fashion Dolls (Mattel Inc.)

Game of the Year

Kids and family games, including board, card, electronic, or other physical game formats and puzzles, exclusive of video or app games.

  • Story Time Chess (Story Time Chess)
  • Drone Home (PlayMonster)
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Co. International)
  • Fish Club (Blue Orange Games)
  • Genius Square (Mukikim LLC)
  • Poetry for Neanderthals (Exploding Kittens)
  • The #UpsideDownChallenge Game (Vango Toys)

Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year

Toys that are developed for kids ages 0-3.

  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel Inc.)
  • Deep Sea Adventure (The Manhattan Toy Co.)
  • Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate Corkscrew Tower (VTech)
  • Crayola Easy-Clean Fingerpaint (Crayola LLC)
  • Helping Heroes Fire Station (VTech)
  • Little Tikes 3-in-1 Sports Zone (Little Tikes/MGA Entertainment)
  • Step2 Ball Buddies Adventure Center (The Step2 Co.)

Innovative Toy of the Year

Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value.

  • KidiZoom Creator Cam (VTech)
  • Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market (KidKraft)
  • Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition (Hasbro)
  • L.O.L. Remix Super Surprise (MGA Entertainment)
  • LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Mario Starter Course (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Squeakee (Moose Toys)
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad with Eye-Soft-Technology (Crayola LLC)
  • Go Go Bird (Zing)

License of the Year

The character or property that has had success spreading its brand through the development and merchandising of products developed from the intellectual property.

  • Marvel (Marvel Entertainment)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment)
  • PAW Patrol: Dino Rescue (Spin Master and Nickelodeon)
  • Blue’s Clues & You! (Nickelodeon)
  • Baby Shark (Pingfong)
  • Ryan’s World (
  • Pokémon (The Pokémon Co. International)
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian (The Walt Disney Co./Lucasfilm)

Outdoor Toy of the Year

Toys that are designed for outdoor play, including ride-ons.

  • Wind Power 4.0 (Thames & Kosmos)
  • Total Z70 Zipline Bundle (Adventure Parks)
  • Birdie Golf (Hog Wild Toys)
  • SpikeBrite (Spikeball Inc.)
  • Ultimate Go-Kart (Radio Flyer)
  • Little Tikes Magic Flower Water Table (Little Tikes/MGA Entertainment)
  • Outdoor Science Lab (SmartLab Toys)
  • PRIMO (Ambosstoys)

Playset of the Year

Toys that are designed to work together to enact some action or event, including characters and role play.

  • LEGO Super Mario Bowser’s Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Blume Rainbow Sparkle Surprise Playset (Skyrocket)
  • HEXBUG Nanotopia (HEXBUG)
  • Railway Bucket-Builder Set (Hape International Inc.)
  • Imaginext Pop-Up Gotham City Playset (Fisher-Price Imaginext Design Team and Design Edge Inc.)
  • Playmobil Scooby-Doo! Mystery Machine (Playmobil)
  • Kindi Kids Kindi Fun Unicorn Ambulance Playset (Moose Toys)

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.

  • Dolce Primo Kangaroo (Magformers)
  • Story Magic Unicorn Dream Dollhouse (Horizon Group USA)
  • Eco Nation (Aurora World Inc.)
  • Shore Buddies (Shore Buddies)
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child 11-inch Plush (Mattel Inc.)
  • Little Rebels Dolls (Little Rebels Inc.)
  • Whatsitsface (Whatsitsface)

Preschool Toy of the Year

Toys that are developed for kids ages 3-5.

  • Dimpl Digits (Fat Brain Toy Co.)
  • BRIO Smart Tech Sound Action Tunnel Travel Set (BRIO)
  • LEGO DUPLO Modular Playhouse (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Super Surround Batcave (Mattel Inc.)
  • Fun Fan Fryer (Hape International Inc.)
  • Real Rigs Recycling Truck (Kid Trax/Pacific Cycle)
  • PAW Patrol Dino Patroller (Spin Master)

Specialty Toy of the Year

Toys that are distributed through independent retailers (i.e., neighborhood toy stores) and not sold at mass brick-and-mortar stores.  Toys that are sold only online do not qualify.

  • American Girl 2020 Girl of the Year Joss’s Ultimate Collection (Mattel Inc.)
  • LEGO Ideas Grand Piano (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Shashibo Artist Series (Fun In Motion Toys)
  • HEXBUG Nano Land (HEXBUG)
  • Monster Math Scale (Hape International Inc.)
  • My First Rush Hour (ThinkFun Inc.)
  • The Amazing Tightrope-Walking Gyrobot (Thames & Kosmos)

STEM/STEAM Toy of the Year

Toys that encourage kids to develop skills (foundational or curricular) in the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or art.

  • Professor Maxwell’s VR Universe (Abacus Brands)
  • Discovery #MINDBLOWN Toy Circuitry Action Experiment Set (Discovery Inc.)
  • Mega Cyborg Hand (Thames & Kosmos)
  • Crayola STEAM Wicking Flower Science Kit (Crayola LLC)
  • Eyeclops Digital Microscope & Camera (Jakks Pacific)
  • Little Learning Hands World Explorers Subscription Box (Little Learning Hands LLC)
  • DIY Rainbow Catcher (Klutz)
  • 3Doodler Start “Learn from Home” Pen Set (3Doodler)

Vehicle of the Year

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

  • Pick Up Pete (Fotorama USA)
  • LEGO Technic Lamborghini Sian (LEGO Systems Inc.)
  • Monster Jam Megalodon Storm RC (Spin Master)
  • Power Treads (WowWee)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G Glamper (MGA Entertainment)
  • Playmobil Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine (Playmobil)
  • PJ Masks Transforming 2 in 1 Mobile HQ  (Just Play)

Vote now for your favorites at

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.