The newly named Play Awards have a full collection of exciting finalists! | Source: ASTRA

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is a trade organization with membership across the toy industry, from retailers to sales representatives. The organization connects members, hosts conferences, and holds the newly rebranded ASTRA Play Awards.

The ASTRA Play Awards are here with finalists at the ready. A committee met just last month to review the nominated products and has now selected a series of finalists outlined below. ASTRA retail members are invited to vote for their chosen products and winners will be announced officially at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. The yearly event will take place this June 11-14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Active Play

  • Mystery Key Treasure Chest by Goliath
  • Bubble Blitz by Odyssey Marketing LLC
  • Cobra Strike by Starlux Games
  • Ghosts in the Graveyard REDUX by Starlux Games
  • Trampoline Pong by Thin Air Brands
  • Bubble Blade by US Toy

Arts & Crafts

  • Inspirational Nature Plant Press by DJECO
  • My Painting Pad, Jungle by Floss & Rock
  • Air Dry Clay Set by Kid Made Modern
  • Dippin’ Designs Enchanted Egg Wraps by Little Kids Inc.
  • Magic Friends Hidden Colors Magic Paint Sheets by OOLY


  • Spill Again by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Puffaboo Elephant by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Baby RC Airplane by IPLAY ILEARN INC
  • Dino Garage by JURATOYS US
  • Ride-OnDino Portosaurus by JURATOYS US
  • Peggy Gears by Quercetti


  • Logic! CASE Starter Puzzle Set by HABA
  • Genius Gems by MUKIKIM
  • Free Fall by Ravensburger/ThinkFun
  • Safari Park Jr. by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.
  • Tower Stacks by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.


  • Zip Linx Triple Tower Blast by Blip Toys
  • Scorpio Grip x Sting by C-bionic
  • Dino World XL by Magna-Tiles
  • Mini Waffle City – Café by Marioinex
  • Gravity Blocks by Popular Playthings
  • Knight Bus by UGears


  • Mini Greenhouse Set by Dantoy/BuzzyKids
  • Outdoor Kitchen by Hape
  • Cheese and Charcuterie Board by PlanToys
  • PlayBio Kubo Shape Sorter by Quercetti
  • Jumbo Recycling Truck by Viking Toys LLC


  • 100 Pics, Countries by Asmodee
  • Wooden Stacking Blocks by Bimi Boo Kids
  • Writing Lab Montessori by Headu
  • Amelia Earhart interactive plush doll by Little Rebels

Family Games

  • Beat The 8 Ball by Blue Orange Games
  • Tetris by Buffalo Games/Gamewright
  • Sleeping Queens 2 – The Rescue by Gamewright
  • Shout it Out! By MUKIKIM
  • Flashback: Zombie Kidz by Scorpion Masque
  • High Score by Thames & Kosmos

Games for Tweens+

  • Herd Mentality by Gamewright/Big Potato
  • Fire Tower by Goliath
  • Reign of Dragoness by Grandpa Beck’s Games
  • Ole Guacamole by Scorpion Masque
  • Zero to 100 by Scorpion Masque


  • Weighted Giving Bear by DEMDACO
  • Vinnie Banana Slug Macaroon by Douglas Co.
  • Phoenix Wristlet Puppet by Folkmanis, Inc.
  • Bumpas, Oz by License 2 Play
  • Style 4 Ever Airbrush Plush Dino by License 2 Play/Canal Toys
  • Snuggle Puppy Hero by Snuggle Puppy

Preschool Games

  • Sliding Toucan by Blue Orange Games
  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt by eeBoo
  • Silly Science Fine Motor Sorting Set by Learning Resources
  • Jump Jump Joey! By MW Wholesale

Pretend Play

  • Tree House Play World by Bababoo and friends
  • Green Planet Explorers Panda’s Bamboo House by Hape
  • Holiday Camper Van by Le Toy Van
  • Shadow Theater by Papaton LLC
  • My First Pirates by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.

Role Play

  • Green Dragon Set by Creative Education of Canada
  • Super Bricolo by DJECO
  • Pretendables Lemonade by Fat Brain Toy Co
  • Little Chef Cooking and Steam Playset by Hape
  • My First Baking Oven by Hape


  • Glow-in-the-Dark Rainbow Volcano Lava Lab by Learning Advantage
  • Dig It Up! Bubbling Ice Age Discovery by MW Wholesale
  • Hydraulic Boxing Bots by Thames & Kosmos
  • Trainbots: 2-in-1 STEAM Maker Kit by Thames & Kosmos
  • 2 in 1 Microscope Habitat by Thin Air Brands

Related: ASTRA’s Insights: Trends, Challenges, and the Future of Specialty Retail

Criteria for the toys selected included elements such as toy newness, uniqueness, availability, and significance. The ASTRA Play Awards website states that awarded products should be “meaningful within the industry, whether it is thought-provoking or groundbreaking.” Previously, the awards were known as the Best Toys for Kids Awards, but ASTRA has changed the name to encompass more categories of product. As its website stated, “defining what exactly a toy is and is not proved challenging.”

Voting is available to retail members now here, with more information about the contest overall available on the official ASTRA Play Awards page. ASTRA has also asked that everyone keep their eyes open for any potential 2024 Play Awards nominations.

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.