Hannah K., journalist
The Toy Association, the trade association representing U.S. toy companies, announced the nominations for the 2022 Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards on Nov. 8, with award categories spanning toys, games, and licenses, and voting is open now to choose the winners.
The Toy of the Year awards are held every year by the Toy Association to kick off the New York Toy Fair, a toy industry trade show where tens of thousands of toy industry professionals meet. Toy companies put their new products forward for consideration in the awards, and the finalists are chosen by a group of toy experts, journalists, academics, and retailers. Those in the running this year hope to join the ranks of past winners, including 2021’s TOTY, Star Wars: The Child Animatronic Edition Toy from Hasbro. This year’s TOTY’s will be held on Feb. 18, 2022, the evening before the 120th annual Toy Fair begins and runs from Feb. 19 to 22.
Nominees are filled with excitement to be honored as part of the awards, which have been called the Oscars of the toy business. One of these nominees is Fun In Motion Toys, a company that specializes in fidget toys and other movement-based toys. They are a finalist in the Specialty Toy of the Year category for their Shashibo, a magnetic cube that can be folded into many different shapes. “It feels great being nominated for the third year in a row!” Elizabeth K, a representative from Fun In Motion, said. “I hope it will help more people discover the Shashibo toy, if they don’t know about it yet.”
One notable change to the awards this year is the addition of the Grown-Up Toy of the Year Award which is designed to cater to the growing recognition of adult toy collectors who are contributing to the market by shopping for themselves: a demographic that the Toy Association called “kidults” in their 2021 toy trends briefing.
Mischa Cote, a toy reviewer who unboxes toys with her daughter Marissa on their YouTube channel Iheartreviewingstuff, says nostalgia plays a big role in the current collecting community. “Tiny is definitely a trend this year. …these also give collectors nostalgia and retro vibes. Collectors definitely seem to embrace giving us things from the past but also giving them a refresh[ed] look.”
Toymaker Mattel, known for Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, American Girl, and more, topped the nominations this year with seventeen total honors across several categories, including the new Grown-Up Toy category, where their Hot Wheels R/C 1:10 Tesla Cybertruck received recognition. They were also given nods in categories such as Doll of the Year, Plush Toy of the Year, Action Figure of the Year, License of the Year, Collectible of the Year, and more.
It is not just toy industry professionals who can make their voices heard in these awards. Consumers can also vote by visiting toyawards.org. and voting closes on Jan. 4, 2022.
Photo Credit: The Toy Association