For the third year in a row, there was no surprise at The Toy Association’s 20th annual Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY).
The Association named the winners for the coveted awards and inducted three industry veterans into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame at its event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City, with proceeds from the awards program and event supporting The Toy Foundation.
The big winners of the night were MGA Entertainment, which won the distinguished Toy of the Year for L.O.L. Surprise! for a third time, and Rainbocorns Ultimate Sequin Surprise Series 2 from ZURU, raking in the most votes for the People’s Choice Award.
Mattel brought home four awards, LEGO won three TOTYs, and MGA Entertainment won two additional categories. In total, awards were handed out in 16 categories:
Action Figure of the Year
Disney Pixar Toy Story Basic Figures (Mattel)
Doll of the Year
L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
Collectible of the Year
L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Series (MGA Entertainment)
Plush Toy of the Year
Pinkfong Baby Shark Song Puppets with Tempo Control (WowWee)
Game of the Year
Pictionary Air (Mattel)
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year
Fisher-Price Linkimals (Mattel)
Playset of the Year
Mars Space Station (Playmobil)
Preschool Toy of the Year
Coding Critters (Learning Resources)
Creative Toy of the Year
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Droid Depot Custom Astromech Units (Disney Parks)
Construction Toy of the Year
LEGO CITY Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control (LEGO Systems)
STEM/STEAM Toy of the Year
LEGO BOOST Star Wars Droid Commander (LEGO Systems)
Outdoor Toy of the Year
Create A Castle (Create A Castle)
Vehicle of the Year
Hot Wheels Mario Kart Die-Cast Vehicle Assortment (Mattel)
License of the Year
Baby Shark (Pinkfong)
Specialty Toy of the Year
LEGO Stranger Things The Upside Down (LEGO Systems)
Innovative Toy of the Year
Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak (Wow! Stuff)
Also during the ceremony, Thomas Chan, founder and CEO of Playmates Toys; Thomas G. Murdough Jr., founder of Little Tikes, Step2, and Simplay3; and the late Harry Kislevitz, founder of Colorforms Corp., were inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. They join a roster of 79 toy industry luminaries, including Walt Disney, Jim Henson, and George Lucas, who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984.
Eighteen judges chose the finalists from more than 600 nominees submitted by over 200 companies of all sizes. The judges included toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists who reviewed and ranked the products in specific categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a live discussion to determine the finalists in each category. They considered each product’s creativity, design, play value, and marketing.
The overall Toy of the Year winners were determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social). The People’s Choice award winner was selected solely by consumer votes cast online.
The TOTY Awards serve as the official kick off to Toy Fair New York. All proceeds from the TOTY program and event contribute to The Toy Foundation, which partners with toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.