The Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards are back for an unprecedented second round this year as the U.S. toy industry resets its timeline looking ahead into 2023. This week, The Toy Foundation pulled back the curtain on the 122 finalists that are vying for a coveted TOTY Award across 17 categories. Category winners will be revealed on Sept. 20 at The Toy Association’s 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market at the Dallas Market Center while the overall Toy of the Year and People’s Choice Awards will be presented in November.

As usual, the nominations have prompted a flurry of chatter as executives, designers, and other team members from a variety of toy and game companies are reacting to the highly competitive field that’s filled with some usual suspects, some up-and-comers, and a few surprises. Check out a select assortment of highlights from social media and press releases below — in alphabetical order — and be sure to check out our special TOTY issue of the Toy Book right here.


On Bluey being nominated for License of the Year…

“We’re delighted that Bluey’s been nominated for License of the Year,” says Suzy Raia, senior vice president, consumer products and business development, BBC Studios Americas. “It’s incredibly exciting to see how Bluey is connecting with millions of kids and families around the world. We truly appreciate our phenomenal partners and their ability to fully immerse themselves in the world of Bluey and the importance of encouraging imaginative play. Hooray!”


On securing nominations for Where’s Squeaky as Specialty Toy of the Year and Clydo as Outdoor Toy of the Year…

“I am very excited to share that we have two TOTY finalists,” says Martin Marechal, CEO at Blue Orange Games USA. “Our team continues to innovate and bring winning items to the market and I could not be more proud of everyone at Blue Orange Games.”


On the Super Cityscape Transport Bucket Set being nominated for Specialty Toy of the Year…

“The Super Cityscape Transport Bucket Set is such a fantastic toy and I am very proud to be part of such an awesome team,” says Freddie Jordan, senior marketing manager, Hape Holding AG. “Congrats to all involved for making this happen!”


On securing two nominations, including the Wooden Grocery Cart for Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year and the Wooden Cafe Barista Coffee Shop for Playset of the Year…

“Many thanks to The Toy Association and so proud to partner with The Toy Foundation’s 2022 TOTY Awards,” says David Henderson, chief commercial officer at Melissa & Doug. “We have tons of new and classic toys which deliver years of open-ended and imaginative play — all screen-free! Cast your vote and take a look at so many great toys from many more worldwide leaders in the toy industry.


On securing five nominations, including FOAMO Foam Machine by Little Tikes for Outdoor Toy of the Year; L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. House of Surprises for Playset of the Year; Little Tikes Learn & Play Look & Learn Window for Preschool Toy of the Year; and the Little Tikes Ice Cream Cozy Truck and Viro Rides Café Racer for Ride-On Toy of the Year.

“I am so proud of Team MGA, Team Little Tikes, and Team L.O.L. Surprise! for the five finalists we secured for the TOTY Awards this year,” says Isaac Larian, founder and CEO, MGA Entertainment. “The multiple nominations for Little Tikes speaks to the impact the brand had this year and will serve as a great foundation as the brand continues to break into new innovative spaces in the coming months.”

Related: The Toy Book Celebrates the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards!


On securing five nominations, including Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball for Creative Toy of the Year; Magic Mixies Magic Mixlings for Collectible of the Year; Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Goo Shifters for Action Figure of the Year; Dance & Play Bluey and Little Live Pets Mama Surprise for Plush Toy of the Year…

“This has been a magical year for Moose Toys with back-to-back nominations for Creative Toy of the Year and our Magic Mixies brand. Early industry buzz around Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball with a spellcasting wand and fortune-telling Mixie, has been phenomenal,” says Moose Toys Co-owner Paul Solomon. “Another nomination for this two-year-old brand is Magic Mixies Magic Mixlings, confirming both consumer enthusiasm for Magic Mixies and Moose Toys’ leadership position in collectibles. These continued nominations are a testament to the Moose team’s creativity and innovation, as well as their dedication to delivering the Moose WOW year after year.”


On securing a nomination for its Rainbow Loom Loomi-Pals Mega Combo pack for Creative Toy of the Year…

“I’m so excited that we made it back to the TOTYs as a finalist again, after eight long years of trying,” says Rainbow Loom Creator Choon Ng. “Thanks to our customers for your continued support and thanks to the Rainbow Loom Team!”


On securing five nominations, including VTech’s Level Up Gaming Chair and LeapFrog’s 100 Things That Go book for Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year; VTech DJ Beat Boxer and LeapFrog My Pal Scout Smarty Paws for Plush Toy of the Year; and LeapFrog’s Clean Sweep Learning Caddy for Preschool Toy of the Year…

“It is always an honor to be nominated as Toy of the Year, and we are delighted that five of our toys are finalists this year,” says Andy Keimach, president, VTech Electronics North America. “These nominations are a testament to our dedication to continually create toys that both parents and children love.”


On its Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue being nominated for Action Figure of the Year…

“To be a finalist in one of the most hotly contested categories at the TOTY Awards is kudos to those teams,” says WOW! Stuff’s Head of Licensing Kenny McAndrew. “The TOTY Awards are the highest honor in the global toy industry. The Action Figure category is the one everyone wants to win and now that they take place ahead of the holiday season, any winner can utilize the prestige and authority of the TOTY Awards to say ‘don’t take our word that this is a truly special toy, see what our industry says.’”

TOTY Award voting is open through Sept. 2, 2022. Cast your vote today and stay tuned for the winners this fall!

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.