The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has revealed its Play Awards finalists, chosen from more than 600 products submitted across numerous categories.

ASTRA is a nonprofit organization focused on the specialty toy industry, offering members benefits such as networking, education, discounts, and more. The organization also provides regular information on the industry as a whole, with reports such as the top toy trends indicating what its experts believe will be popular in the future. 

Now, ASTRA’s Certified Play Experts have selected a list of products that will face off in the final selection of 2024’s Play Awards winners. There are 18 total categories.

Each product was evaluated based on the criteria of newness, uniqueness, availability, and significance. Originally known as the Best Toys for Kids awards, the ASTRA Play Awards rebranded to cover play for all ages, rather than focus on defining what is a toy or which products are for kids. 

The ASTRA Play Awards winners will be revealed at this year’s Inaugural Gala in June.

The finalists across each category include: 

Arts & Crafts

  • 3D Tunnel Book Craft Kit – Outer Space from Eye Connect Crafts
  • Spirograph Doodle Pad from PlayMonster
  • Tiny Easel Painter Box from Tiny Easel


  • R/C Baby Plane from iPlay iLearn
  • Fisher Price Shake and Go Bubble Maraca from Little Kids
  • Match & Push Spinning Tops from Melissa & Doug


  • The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures from Chronicle Books
  • Ready to Soar from Penguin Random House
  • Baby’s First Book of 44 Sounds from SmartNoggin Toys


  • By the Book from FoxMind
  • Sudoku 5×5 from Ravensburger
  • IQ Gears from Smart Toys and Games


  • TECTI from Fun In Motion Toys
  • Gravitrax Junior Large Set: Jungle from Ravensburger
  • Gecko Run: Marble Run Starter Set from Thames & Kosmos


  • Blue Marine Toy Boat Sand Set from Buzzy Kids — Dantoy
  • Wave Stacker from PlanToys
  • Curious Kingdom Castle Playset from Playper

Family Games

  • Oh No Volcano from Buffalo Games
  • 800 Pound Gorilla from Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
  • Butts on Things from Gamewright

Family Strategy Games

  • Wandering Towers from Capstone Games
  • Deduckto from Gamewright
  • Alice’s Garden from Goliath Games

Geek Games

  • Turing Machine from Hatchette Boardgames USA
  • Sky Team from Hatchette Boardgames USA
  • Inside Job from Thames & Kosmos


  • Magnetic Masterpieces (12 pieces) from Geomagworld SA
  • LEGO Hogwarts Castle Grounds from LEGO
  • Swing ball Reflex Tennis Pro Trainer by Mookie from NSG

Outdoor Play

  • Outdoor Art Easel from Hape
  • Fisher Price 3-in-1 Portable Sprinkler from Little Kids
  • NASA Collection from Stomp Rocket — D&L Company


  • Baby Cuddle Hug Fox from Douglas
  • Bumpas Oz from Good Soul Brands
  • Living Puppets — Murray 17 from Thin Air Brands

Preschool Games

  • Little Memo from DJECO
  • Rainy Ranch from Ravensburger
  • Story Time Backgammon from Story Time Learning

Pretend Play

  • Pretendables School Set from Fat Brain Toy Co.
  • Jet Pilot Interactive Dashboard from Melissa & Doug
  • Baby Doll Girl with Vitiligo 15-inch from Miniland


  • Wheels & Wonders Puzzle from Hape
  • Life-Size King Penguin 50-Piece Puzzle from Large as Life
  • Mayhem on the Moon 3D Puzzle from Ravensburger


  • Perler Deluxe Box: Squishmallows from Anker Play/Perler
  • Jumpsies from Klutz
  • Playskool Weebles My Smart House from PlayMonster
  • Big Wheel Big Spin from Schylling


  • Air Toobz from Fat Brain Toy Co.
  • LEGO Gravity Drop from Klutz
  • Microscope (with Smartphone Adapter) from Thames & Kosmos


  • Sunny “The Sensory Sea Turtle” from Meavia Toys
  • Calming Cards Yoga, Breathing, & More! from Open the Joy
  • Tangle Furry Fidget Friends from Tangle

About the author

Bug Hartsock

Bug Hartsock

Bug is a News Writer for The Toy Insider, The Pop Insider, and The Toy Book. They are also a Master’s student in biology, currently studying sleep in arthropods. When they aren’t writing or working with small critters, they spend their time reading sci-fi novels, playing tabletop RPGs, or throwing creative projects at the wall. Bug had a mullet once, and is not against having one again. Reach out or find more from them at their website.