They call it “the Oscars of the toy industry,” and today the finalists have been revealed for the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, presented by The Toy Association. Announced at Play Fair in NYC, the 122 finalists can be voted on by consumers between now and January 5 as their favorite picks in each of the 17 categories will compete for the top slot. As someone who writes about toys regularly both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and at The Toy Insider, I have some pretty strong opinions about these toys… and it’s gonna be a tough race – there’s some fantastic toys going up against each other! Check out all the finalists below, along with my “Rock Father Pick” for select categories, along with some “Rock Father Approved” items that we just like a lot…
ACTION FIGURE OF THE YEAR
Toys that include action figures and their playsets/accessories
- IAmElemental’s Series 2/Wisdom Lunch Box Carrying Case with Complete Set of 7 Action Figures & Accessories (IAmElemental) – Rock Father Approved!
- Imaginext® DC Super Friends™ BatBot Xtreme (Mattel, Inc.) – Rock Father Approved!
- Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Figure (Hasbro, Inc.)
- PJ Masks Duet Figure Packs (Just Play Products) – Rock Father Approved!
- Star Wars Forces of Destiny Adventure Figures (Hasbro, Inc.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Stikbot (ZING)
- WWE® Superstars Action Figures (Mattel, Inc.)
COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that compose a set; can include novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.
- Disney Pixar Cars 3 Diecast Cars (Mattel, Inc.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Fingerlings (WowWee USA, Inc.) – Rock Father Approved!
- Funko’s Mystery Minis (Funko, LLC) – Rock Father Approved!
- Hatchimals Colleggtibles 4 Pack (Spin Master Ltd.) – Rock Father Approved!
- L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment)
- Pikmi Pop! Surprise Pack (Moose Toys)
- The LEGO Batman Movie Minifigures (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
CONSTRUCTION TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that include building and engineering sets
- K’NEX THRILL RIDES: Web Weaver Roller Coaster™ Building Set (K’NEX Brands)
- LEGO® Star Wars BB-8™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
- Magformers Log Cabin 87Pc Set (Magformers)
- Mayka Toy Block Tape (Zuru) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Meccano M.A.X (Spin Master Ltd.)
- Silent Mary (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
- VEX Robotics BattleBots Minotaur (HEXBUG)
CREATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that allow kids to build an/or make items that are unique to them
- 3Doodler Start Powerpuff Yourself Pen Set (3Doodler)
- K’NEX Imagine: Power & Play 50 Model Motorized Building Set (K’NEX Brands)
- LEGO Make Your Own Movie (Klutz)
- Magnaflex (WowWee USA, Inc.)
- Nickelodeon Slime Deluxe Slimy Creations (Cra-Z-Art)
- Oonies Starter Pack (Moose Toys)
- Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit (LittleBits)
DOLL OF THE YEAR
Toys that include plush, baby, toddler, and fashion dolls, and their play sets/accessories
- BABY ALIVE SWEET TEARS BABY Doll (Hasbro, Inc.)
- Barbie® Fashionista™ Ken Dolls (Mattel, Inc.)
- Disney Princess Dance Code Belle (Hasbro, Inc.)
- DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free Spirit & Lucky Deluxe Feeding Set (Just Play Products) – Rock Father Approved!
- JoJo Siwa Singing Doll (Just Play Products)
- Luvabella (Spin Master Ltd.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Wonder Crew Superhero Will (PlayMonster) – Rock Father Approved!
GAME OF THE YEAR
Children’s board, card, electronic, or other physical game formats or puzzles (does not include video games or apps)
- Beasts of Balance (Sensible Object)
- Boom Blast Stix (Moose Toys)
- Happy Salmon (North Star Games LLC)
- HEARING THINGS (Hasbro, Inc.)
- Roller Coaster Challenge (ThinkFun Inc.)
- Soggy Doggy (Spin Master Ltd.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Ultra Dash (PlayMonster)
INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 0-3
- GearZooz™ Roll & Roar Animal Train™ (VTech)
- Little Tikes Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone (MGA Entertainment)
- Magformers My First Pastel 30Pc Set (Magformers)
- Mega Bloks Elephant Parade (Mattel, Inc.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Mirari Shellby (PlayMonster)
- Pop-a-Balls™ Push & Pop Bulldozer™ (VTech)
- Strolly Bike (Yvolution)
- Teddy Ruxpin (Wicked Cool Toys)
INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value
- DROPMIX Music Gaming System (Hasbro, Inc.)
- HEXBUG BattleBots Arena (HEXBUG)
- Hot Wheels MindRacers (Osmo) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Klask (Buffalo Games Inc.)
- Lightseekers Starter Pack (TOMY International)
- Rubie’s Jurassic World T-Rex Inflatable Costume (Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc.)
- Think & Learn Teach ‘n Tag Movi™ (Mattel, Inc.)
LICENSE OF THE YEAR*
Character or property that has had success spreading its brand throughout the industry
- Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 (Disney Consumer Products & Interactive Media)
- Hatchimals™ (Spin Master Ltd.)
- Nickelodeon Slime (Nickelodeon Consumer Products)
- PAW Patrol (Spin Master Ltd.)
- Peppa Pig (Entertainment One)
- PJ Masks (Entertainment One)
- Star Wars (Disney Consumer Products & Interactive Media)
*It’s a good thing it’s not up to me, because all seven of these licenses are on fire and we love them.
OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed for outdoor play, including ride-ons
- Bunch O Balloons Filler Soaker (Zuru) – Rock Father Approved!
- Disc Jock-e (Tucker Toys)
- Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder (Radio Flyer) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- NERF N-STRIKE ELITE ACCUSTRIKE ALPHAHAWK Blaster (Hasbro, Inc.)
- RECOIL (Skyrocket)
- Sky Viper V2450 GPS Streaming Video Drone (Skyrocket)
- Watermelon Ball (PlaSmart Inc.)
PLAYSET TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are designed to work together to enact some action or event
- Ben 10 Rustbucket Transforming Alien Playset (Playmates Toys) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Fisher-Price® Shimmer and Shine™ Magical Light-up Genie Palace (Mattel, Inc.)
- Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Race & Play Adventure Park™ (VTech)
- HEXBUG nano Space Cosmic Command (HEXBUG)
- Hot Wheels® Super Ultimate Garage (Mattel, Inc.) – Rock Father Approved!
- My Fairy Garden Magical Cottage (PlayMonster) – Rock Father Approved!
- PLAYMOBIL Pharaoh’s Pyramid (Playmobil U.S.A. Inc.) – Rock Father Approved!
- Shopkins Shopville Super Mall (Moose Toys)
PLUSH OF THE YEAR
Toys that are made of fabric and stuffed with cotton or similar filling
- Disney Junior Minnie’s Walk and Play Puppy (Just Play Products)
- Dolce Activity Zebra (Magformers)
- Funko’s SuperCute Plushies (Funko, LLC)
- Peppy Pets (Commonwealth Toy & Novelty Co., Inc.)
- Pikmi Pops Surprise! Mega Pop (Moose Toys)
- Storytime Rhymes Sheep™ (VTech)
- Surprizamals (Beverly Hills Teddybear)
PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that are developed for ages 3-5
- Beat Bugs™ Musical Submarine (Blip Toys LLC) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick! (tie)
- Disney Junior Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery (Just Play Products) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick! (tie)
- PAW Patrol My Size Lookout Tower (Spin Master Ltd.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick! (tie)
- PLAY-DOH MAGIC OVEN Set (Hasbro, Inc.)
- Racing Adventures Mickey (Just Play Products) – Rock Father Approved!
- Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart™ (LeapFrog)
- Thomas & Friends™ Super Station™ (Mattel, Inc.) – Rock Father Approved!
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
A new company (created within the last 2 years) that has brought to market an outstanding toy
- Beach House Group (Antsy Pants™ Build & Play™ Kits) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Pai Technology Inc. (Circuit Conductor)
- Move2play (Fuzzy Flyers)
- Bevy & Dave (History Makers Puzzle Block Set)
- YULU Toys (Operation: Escape)
- FlyCatcher Inc. (smART sketcher)
- WeCool (WeCool)
SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers
- American Girl® Logan™ Doll (Mattel, Inc.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
- Creative Cosmetics Lab (Thames & Kosmos)
- Fidget Spinner (TopTrenz)
- HEXBUG CuddleBots (HEXBUG)
- LEGO® Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
- Mirari Juballees (PlayMonster)
- SmartMax My First Animal Train (Smart Toys and Games, Inc.)
- Zipes™ Speed Pipes (Neat-Oh! International, LLC)
TECH TOY OF THE YEAR
Physical toys that are electronic or interact with a smart-phone, tablet or gaming device
- Circuit Cubes (Circuit Cubes)
- Cue (Wonder Workshop)
- LEGO® BOOST Creative Toolbox (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
- Piper Computer Kit (Piper)
- Robotics Workshop (Thames & Kosmos)
- SoundMoovz (Cra-Z-Art)
- VRSE (Skyrocket)
VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Toys that are powered or non-powered vehicles, and their playsets/accessories
- Air Hogs Hyper Drift Drone (Spin Master Ltd.)
- Anki OVERDRIVE: Fast & Furious Edition (Anki) – Rock Father Approved!
- Automoblox SC1 Chaos and HR5 Scorch 2-Pack (PlayMonster) – Rock Father Approved!
- Drone Force Angler Attack (Alpha Group, US LLC)
- NERF NITRO MOTOFURY RAPID RALLY Set (Hasbro, Inc.)
- PAW Patrol Sea Patroller (Spin Master Ltd.) – Rock Father Approved!
- PLAYMOBIL Ghostbusters™ Ecto-1 (Playmobil U.S.A. Inc.) – THE ROCK FATHER Pick!
THE ROCK FATHER at The Toy Association HQ – July 2017
This year’s finalists were selected from over 600 nominees submitted by more than 150 companies of all sizes. Twenty judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, 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.
One winner in each category, as well as the coveted “Toy of the Year” award winner and the “People’s Choice” winner (based solely on consumer votes), will be announced at a dazzling TOTY Awards gala to be held on Friday, February 16, 2018 at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. The celebration will help kick-off the 115th North American International Toy Fair, and will include the induction of toy industry trailblazers into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
All proceeds from the event – including Tribute Book sales, ticket sales, and sponsorships – will contribute much-needed dollars to the Toy Industry Foundation, which partners with generous toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.
The TOTY Awards gala is open to industry stakeholders only. Tickets for the event will be available for purchase on December 5.