At a glance
The following toys are in the National Hall of Fame Toy: Alphabet Blocks; Atari 2600 Game System; baby doll; Barbie; bicycle; bubbles; Big Wheel; blanket; Candy Land; cardboard box; checkers; chess; Crayola Crayons; dollhouse; dominoes; Duncan Yo-Yo; Easy-Bake Oven; Erector Set; Etch A Sketch; Frisbee; G.I. Joe; the game of Life; Hot Wheels; Hula Hoop; jack-in-the-box; jacks; jigsaw puzzle; jump rope; kite; Legos; Lincoln Logs; Lionel Trains; little green army men; marbles; Monopoly; Mr. Potato Head; Nintendo Game Boy; Play-Doh; playing cards; puppet; Radio Flyer Wagon; Raggedy Ann and Andy; rocking horse; roller skates; rubber duck; Rubik’s Cube; Scrabble; Silly Putty; skateboard; Slinky; Star Wars Action Figures; stick; Super Soaker; teddy bear; Tinker Toys; Tonka trucks; Twister; and View-Master.
In honor of so many parents and grandparents who have been buying toys recently, and in honor of little ones who are about to have sugar plums dancing in their heads, I want to talk about the National Toy Hall of Fame.
I didn’t even know this existed, but a visit to the place has been added to my bucket list.
A woman named Margaret Woodbury Strong was a wealthy toy collector who founded the Strong National Museum of Fascination in 1968. Though she died the following year, she bequeathed her estate to help fund the museum.
Thirteen years later, the museum opened on 135 acres in Rochester, N.Y. In 2002, the museum acquired the National Toy Hall of Fame from A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village in Salem, Ore.
The museum continued to grow over the years. After a big expansion between 2004 and ’06, it became one of our country’s largest history museums.
The Toy Hall of Fame highlights toys that make kids want to play creatively, as well as those that have managed to sustain their popularity.
This far, 59 toys have been inducted into the hall. In 2015, the three toys chosen among 500 nominations were the puppet, Twister and the Super Soaker (an amazing water gun).
I loved reading the list and thinking about how almost all of the toys impacted my childhood and those of my kids.
While there is not space here for me to expound on all of these toys, a few must be mentioned. I loved my baby dolls and Barbie dolls. I played house with the baby dolls and more “big girl” play with Barbie dolls.
In past columns, I have mentioned my Barbie dolls were always married (or dating) G.I. Joes, since my three older brothers made fun of the Ken doll.
I loved board games. When I was quite young, Candy Land and checkers were the ones I played. Years later, the game of Life, Monopoly and Scrabble were favorites.
We played all of these games with our four children, and still play Scrabble or Chess occasionally.
As a little girl, I baked endless cakes in my Easy-Bake Oven, and spent hours arranging and rearranging my doll house.
I did love Play-Doh, although back in the day, we only had the cans of play-doh and not all of the clever molds and devices.
Of course, one could argue that we had to use our own creativity to mold things, instead of relying on the toy company to tell us what to make.
I am pretty sure I played with Legos more when our own boys were young than when I was a little girl. I loved building things right along with our oldest and marveled at his “engineer” abilities.
What a major accomplishment it is that the baby never ate one of those pieces and I never seriously wounded a foot when I stepped on one.
Two of my favorites on the list are a stick and a cardboard box.
As a child, how much fun we had using sticks for all sorts of things. A stick could be a gun (gasp), a sword, something to swat a stick horse with when he wasn’t going fast enough, something used to build a dam in the creek, and many more things.
A cardboard box, depending on its size, was a real find. The best was when someone got a new washer or dryer and it came in a box. That box became a house, a fort, or a spy headquarters.
When the box became “broken,” it made an excellent tube for rolling down a hill.
Some may question why “blanket” made the list, but that is only because they may not have had a favorite one. I slept with mine from the time I can remember until the time it was too embarrassing to take on sleepovers with my friends. It was in shreds from being loved so much.
My girls had similar relationships with their favorite blankets, and our boys loved their teddy bears.
I’ve included the complete list here for readers to ponder, and perhaps use as a last-minute list for Santa.
I hope everyone has a blessed and wonderful Christmas.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.