The following 12 toys are finalists for 2018 induction into The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame. Only two or three will take their honored places in the hall this year when they are announced at a ceremony at The Strong on Thursday, November 8, at 10:30 a.m.
American Girl Dolls
Created in 1986 by educator and newscaster Pleasant Rowland, the 18-inch American Girl dolls (and their accompanying books) explore America’s social and cultural history. Each doll comes with a unique narrative that fits her era, such as Molly McIntire, who is waiting for her father to return home from World War II. The Pleasant Company released the My American Girl line of dolls in 1995 (originally under the name American Girl Dolls of Today) and designed them to look like their owners.
Historians believe that the earliest people played and created with chalk. Paleolithic art executed in chalk has been found in the French Pyrenees, Spain, Italy, and Russia, among other places. Europeans first used chalk for street art in the 16th century, paving the way for the popularity of sidewalk chalk. Great masterpieces, clever doodles, educational lessons, and games such as tic-tac-toe and hopscotch, have all been brought to life with a simple stick of chalk.
Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders is based on an ancient Indian game called snakes and ladders. Snakes and ladders came to England in 1892, and it taught players moral lessons as they progressed to the finish, aided by virtues (ladders) and hindered by vices (snakes). Milton Bradley introduced the game—minus many of the moral lessons—to American audiences in 1943 under the more approachable name Chutes and Ladders.
Fisher-Price Corn Popper
Fisher-Price introduced the Corn Popper in 1957, calling it an amusement device for young children. Parents quickly discovered that by pushing the device, children could strengthen gross motor skills. The bright, flying balls and popping sound helped to stimulate the senses, promoting curiosity and discovery.
Magic 8 Ball
Introduced in 1946, the Magic 8 Ball allows users to flirt harmlessly with fortune-telling. Users pose questions, shake the cue ball, and then read one of 20 answers that float to the surface at the bottom of the ball—ranging from “ask again later” and “signs point to yes,” to simply, “no.” Millions of Magic 8 Balls have been sold since its introduction more than 70 years ago.