Source: People of Play/The Toy Book

People of Play (POP) is gearing up for fall with the unveiling of the finalists for this year’s Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Awards. The annual event honors innovators, designers, and marketers in the toy and game industry while celebrating the international reach of the POP community, which includes members from more than 150 countries.

The 2021 TAGIE Awards are presented by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products and sponsored by Mattel, Oxford Games, The Michael Kohner Corp., Goliath, Radio Flyer, PlayMonster, Nextoy, and Kite and Rocket.

“We all thought 2020 was going to be the most challenging year. Yet, 2021 is here and we still have hurdles to jump through,” says TAGIE Awards host Karri Bean, senior manager, licensing at Disney Parkes, Experiences, and Products. “The feats pulled off by members of the toy industry constantly amaze us over at People of Play. You all inspire us daily. The TAGIEs are our opportunity to give back and celebrate these accomplishments.”

Two new categories have been added this year: Most Innovative Licensed Product and Game Changers. Check out the full list of categories and finalists below:


  • Rufus Butler Seder, Doo-Bee Toys and Nextoy for Spirograph Animator with PlayMonster
  • Ora & Theo Coster, Theora Concept LTD for Last Lost aka Go POP! and POP It! by FoxMind
  • Peggy Brown Creative for Hideaway Pets with Jay@Play
  • Dr Ben Gray and Ric Scott with Eric Dahan and Andres Alfonso for Artie Max by Educational Insights
  • Radio Flyer Design team for Flyer M880 e-bike by Radio Flyer
  • Hasbro Star Wars team, SPARKLab R&D & Partners at Lucasfilm for Galactic Snackin’ Grogu Animatronic with Hasbro
  • The Rehco Team for the The All-Pro Passer Robotic Quarterback by NSI International
  • Design Teams from Sega Toys and Spin Master for Purse Pets from Spin Master and Sega Toys
  • Fuse for Imaginext™ DC Super Friends Bat-Tech BatBot with Fisher-Price, Pokémon Carry Case Volcano Playset with Jazwares, Deluxe Batman Playset with Spin Master
  • Big Monster Toys for Polly Pocket Flip & Find Compact with Mattel
  • Q&Q Japan and Spin Master’s Design Lead: Kurt Scanlan, PD Lead: Todd Toso, EI Lead: Martin Labrecque, Brand Lead: Paulina Lo, VB Lead: Rachel Mannone, LEMM: Graham Browning for Peek-A-Roo with Spin Master


  • Peggy Brown Creative for KraftHeinz Variety Game Pack with Big G Creative, Cat’s Pajama’s with TCG, Game A Saurus Rex with Goliath, Stack Your Chickens with Mindware
  • Gary Pyper & Toby Kinsey for Giddy Up with John Adams
  • Simon Skelton and Ruth Elliott from Big Ideas and Geoff House from Tricky for Hide ‘N Cheek and Cluckle with Big G Creative
  • Andrew and Jack Lawson for Ka-Blab with Hasbro
  • KidKenn Invention Team for Foosketball with Hasbro
  • JM Duparc and Product Development Team for Escape Room The Game Puzzle Adventures & Escape Your House with Identity Games
  • Ken Gruhl for Bluffaneer with Big G Creative, Twosome with Buffalo Games, 60 Second City with Buffalo Games, Corners Up with Fat Brain Toys, Words Over Easy with Winning Moves Games, Bunch of Butts with Under Where Games
  • Bang Zoom Design Team for Crossed Signals with Mattel
  • Daniel Greiner for echoes: An Audio Mystery Game by Ravensburger
  • Kelly Adams and JP van der Vliet for Gobble Monster, Picky Kitty, Chompin Charlie and Beware of Bear with Goliath Games
  • Juliana Moreno Patel & Ariel Rubin for Escape Room In A Box Series: The Werewolf Experiment & Flashback & Time Drifters – Kira’s Game & Time Drifters – Isabel’s Game with Mattel, Hello Neighbor: The Secret Neighbor Party Game with Arcane, Crimes & Capers: High School Hijinks, Crimes & Capers: Lady Leona’s Last Wishes with Renegade Games


  • Emma Peat for Orbeez Challenge Playset, Go Glam Unique Salon with Spin Master
  • Frederica Scott Vollrath for Slappy Camper by Mindware, The Mermaid’s Jewels by Winning Moves Games, Crystallized by Games by Bicycle
  • Thato and Kioko Mwosa for SAWA Trivia
  • Larissa Louwman for STUFF-A-LOONS by BOTI GLOBAL Ltd
  • Shail Mehta & Gameboard Team for The Last Gameboard
  • Really Fun Partnership for Really?! Think you know me? Guess again! and Triple Tongue Twisters Fun Educational Card Game
  • Inventors Liat Waks, Naama Weiss, Tali Stern, Gilad Podgor, and Far Out Toys marketing team Sarah Baskin, Simon Waldron, Lauren Peterson for Glo-Up Girls
  • Adam Rehberg for Treat Yo Self! with Buffalo Games
  • Chris Castagnetto for Taco Bell Party Pack Card Game with Ravensburger
  • Martin and Alysha Horstman for Pixicade by BitOGenius


  • PlayMonster Marketing Team and ChizComm Beacon Media Agency for Koosh with PlayMonster
  • Jodi McDonald, Talia Carr, Steph Guo for Orbeez by Spin Master
  • 2020 LEGO Disney Girls Team for LEGO Disney Frozen Sets
  • Lisa Orman and KidStuff PR team for Hungry Bins: Learn to Recycle with Adventerra Games
  • Alpesh Patel and Jurassic Teams for Jurassic World Toddler Line with TOMY International
  • VTech, LeapFrog and Coyne PR for VTech and LeapFrog Play Nice on Pinterest
  • Hog Wild Toys and Freeman PR for Handy Grabs by Hog Wild Toys
  • Janis Van Tine for 5 Surprise Mini Brands & Bunch o Balloons from ZURU
  • Disney, Mattel, and NASCAR collaboration for Disney and Pixar Cars NASCAR series with program led by Scott Robertson, Eric Lewis, Cassie Perazzo and Jay Ward
  • Sky Castle Toys and Freeman Public Relations for LetsGlow Studio by Sky Castle Toys


  • Artists Shawn Daley, Hector Amavizca, Joellen Smith, Joe Mead, Gij Arentz, Ethan Yu, Kennedy Garza, The Mico, Dave Melvin, Gilbert Jansen, Josh Culp, Nolan Nasser, Martha Webby with inventor Eric Slauson for MonsDRAWsity with Deep Water Games
  • KID Group and Michael McGinnis for Perplexus Snitch with Spin Master
  • Design Edge for Hip Town with Endless Games; Marvel Avengers Clue Jr and Disney Villains Sorry with Hasbro
  • Andres Alfonso for Mixaroo with Educational Insights
  • Disney’s Brian Godlewski and Terrell Gentry for NASCAR, Disney, and Mattel collaboration for Disney and Pixar Cars NASCAR Series.
  • Jeff Lawber for Marmals
  • Scott Brown for Koala Walla Bing Bang Kaboom Blocks with Roo Games
  • Adam Grason for Summer Camp with Buffalo Games
  • Buffalo Games Design Team for NOIR & Blanc Puzzle Lines
  • Apolline Etienne, Joshua Cappel, Game Trayz with David Diaz for Fossilis by KTBG
  • Alicia Boulos for Ka-Blab with Hasbro


  • Design Edge for Hey Kube with 22nd Solutions
  • Jodi Meusel and Katie LaSeur of The Creative Fold for Partnering with Clients for Success
  • Wai Orr and Longshore Toy & Game Manufacturer Team for Service Clients Big and on way to being Big
  • Gary Ruddell with Total Biz Fulfillment for Excellent Support in Client’s Sales Channels
  • Joe Ferrara with Aries Global Logistics for Supporting Clients Worldwide
  • Grand Prix International (GPI), for their New Informative Newsletter and Service to Customers
  • Bob Witkin with York-Jersey Underwriters for Working to Mitigate Risk with Clients
  • Shari Spiro for Ad Magic – Always Pivoting to Meet Customer’s Needs
  • David Becker, Blue Plate Media Services, for Exceptional Management of Media Investment


  • Linda Kapnick, Ambassador Toys, San Francisco, California
  • Simon Says in Vermont
  • Gordon Lugauer for the Board Game Barrister stores in Wisconsin
  • Ann Kienzle for play toy stores in Chicago
  • David Plenn for The Dinosaur Farm in South Pasadena, California
  • LEGO Brick and Mortar Stores Worldwide
  • Mastermind Toys in Canada
  • Kathy Gray for LARK Toys in Kellogg, Minnesota
  • Learning Express Toys & Gifts Nationwide


  • Kraft Mac & Cheese, Jello, Heinz Ketchup with Big G Creative
  • Steve Rad for Bill Nye’s VR Space Lab with Abacus Brands
  • PlayMonster Design Team for THINGS… Schitt’s Creek Edition with PlayMonster
  • Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP), Will Shortz and Nextoy for a line of games, books, and puzzles with Will Shortz Games
  • TOMY Club Mocchi-Mocchi Marketing Team with Nintendo
  • Pat Marino & Mathew Reuther (The Op) with Disney & Pixar for Quests of Yore: A Role-Playing Adventure Game
  • Exploding Minions by Exploding Kittens
  • PAW Patrol Design Team for Ultimate City Transforming Tower; Marshall’s transforming City Firetruck; Chase’s 2-in-1 City Cruiser; Chase’s Hero Paws Role Play with Spin Master OR Paw Patrol – Paramount/Nickelodeon/Mikros/Cal Brunker/Spin Master Entertainment
  • Hershey Halloween Squishmallow by Jazwares and Hershey’s Kisses Pop! Plush by Funko

YOUNG INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR (under 18 years old)

  • Cybele McKenzie for Candy Collections with Cybele’s Games
  • Jose Rodriguez Jr. for T-Shirts with Fidget Toys with Tasium
  • Tristan Donaldson for Sew Fast with Fat Brain Toys

Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, the TAGIE Awards and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (CHITAG) will be virtual again this year. The TAGIE Awards will take place Nov. 19 and will stream live on the POP website.

Public voting is open now through Oct. 31, 2021.

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.