The Toy Foundation Reveals 2023 Toy of the Year Awards Finalists

Voting is now open; category winners will be announced Sept. 29.

License Global

August 22, 2023

9 Min Read
Toy of the Year Awards 2023, The Toy Foundation
Toy of the Year Awards 2023The Toy Foundation

The Toy Foundation (TTF) has announced the finalists for the 2023 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, the top 122 toys, games and properties across 17 product categories advancing the world of play.

Consumers can visit to see the complete list of product category finalists and vote for their favorites to help determine the category winners through Sept. 8.

An independent panel of play experts, journalists, academics, retailers and other toy experts selected the product finalists after narrowing down the pool from the hundreds of nominations submitted by top companies of all sizes. The category winners, determined by votes from consumers, Toy Association members, retailers and media, will be announced at the TOTY Awards on Sept. 29 in New York City.

The Toy of the Year and People’s Choice winners will be announced on Nov. 20, in time to create peak holiday shopping buzz. Voting for the People’s Choice Award, uniquely decided by online consumer votes, will remain open through Nov. 10. A panel of expert judges will determine the Toy of the Year.

New for the TOTY Awards, the achievements of industry trailblazers and outstanding initiatives will be celebrated across four people-focused and two campaign-focused categories. Twenty-seven professionals are recognized as finalists for uniquely advancing the toy industry across sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; packaging design and PR/marketing. Toy Association member votes will determine the people-focused category winners. An independent panel of marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, assembled in partnership with Advertising Week, have evaluated the campaign-focused nominations and will determine the winners.

“This year’s TOTY Awards finalists are an unmatched lineup of toys, games and professionals that represent the best of the best in the toy industry,” says Pamela Mastrota, executive director, The Toy Foundation. “We look forward to celebrating all of the finalists at the industry’s biggest night of the year, plus advance the industry’s collective philanthropy for the benefit of children in need.”

2023 Toy of the Year Award Finalists

Product Category Finalists:

Action Figure of the Year

Toys that represent a person or fictional character intended for active, imaginative and narrative-based play.

• Gunslinger Spawn with Horse by McFarlane Toys

• Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Deep Goo Sea Triple Goo King Hydra by Moose Toys

• “Jurassic Park” Real FX Baby T-Rex by Wow! Stuff

• “Jurassic World: Dominion” Roar Strikers by Mattel

• Pokemon Train & Play Deluxe Pikachu by Jazwares

• “Star Wars”: Chatter Back Chopper Animatronic by Hasbro

• “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” by Playmates Toys

Collectible of the Year

Toys that compose a set and can be collected in multiples, including novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.

• Bitzee by Spin Master

• Furby Interactive by Hasbro

• LEGO Minifigures Disney 100 by LEGO Systems

• Monster High Skullector Line by Mattel

• My Arcade Micro Player Pro by My Arcade

• Shashibo Grateful Dead Series by Fun In Motion Toys

• Squishmallows Pokemon Collection by Jazwares

Construction Toy of the Year

Toys that include building as the primary play pattern.

• Create A Castle BuildMaster Indoor Activity Starter Kit by Create A Castle

• Hot Wheels Smash n Crash Bone Shaker Crush Course by Mattel

• LEGO Disney “Up” House by LEGO Systems

• LEGO Friends Heartlake International School by LEGO Systems

• MEGA Forest Pokemon Center by Mattel

• National Geographic Epic Forts by Blue Marble

• STEM Explorers Bridge Builders by Learning Resources

Creative Toy of the Year

Toys that allow kids to build or make items that are unique to them.

• American Girl Create Your Own by Mattel

• Beast Lab by Moose Toys

• Cool Maker PopStyle Bracelet Maker by Spin Master

• Creative-Tonies by Tonies USA

• Mars Rovers Clixo Pack by Toyish Labs

• National Geographic Hobby Pottery Wheel by Blue Marble

• Skillmatics Foil Fun by Skillmatics

• Tasty Labs: Wizard Potion Science Kit by Thames & Kosmos

Doll Of the Year

Toys that include baby, toddler and fashion dolls.

• Barbie The Movie Dolls by Mattel

• CreativeSoul Dolls by Disney Consumer Products

• Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Doll by Mattel

• Latinistas Fashion Dolls by Purpose Toys

• Magic Mixies Pixlings by Moose Toys

• The Fresh Beats Collection by World of EPI

• Under the Sea Exploring Ariel Doll by JAKKS Pacific

Game of the Year

Games for families and children (ages 0-14), including board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles. Exclusive of video or app games.

• 5 Second Rule Relay by PlayMonster

• Beat the 8 Ball by Blue Orange Games

• Disney Animated Game by Funko Games

• Game Night in a Can by Goliath Games

• KidKraft Beat Board by KidKraft

• Magic 8 Ball Magical Encounters Board Game by Mattel

• Search Party: Chaos at The Park by Relatable (formerly What Do You Meme?)

• Shashibo Battle Shapes by Fun In Motion Toys

Grown-Up Toy of the Year

Toys and games developed primarily for grown-ups/kidults, including party games, board games, collectibles, arts and crafts and more. These toys are often fueled by fandoms, social media and adult humor and are not “adult toys” nor sexual in nature.

• Chicken vs. Hotdog by Big Potato Games

• Dumb Ways to Die Card Game by Spin Master

• Flyer Folding Cargo eBike by Radio Flyer

• Kanoodle Pyramid by Educational Insights

• LEGO Art Hokusai: The Great Wave by LEGO Systems

• LEGO “The Lord of the Rings:” Rivendell by LEGO Systems

• The Riddler Puzzle Box by Edward Nygma – Detective Mode by McFarlane Toys

Infant/Toddler Toy of The Year

Toys developed for ages 0-3. (Infant is defined as 0-18 months. Toddler is defined as 18 months-3 years)

• Crawligator by Kiddy Crawler

• Deluxe Push & Play Cube Walker by Radio Flyer

• Laugh & Learn Mix & Learn DJ Table by Mattel

• LEGO DUPLO 3 in 1 Tree House by LEGO Systems

• Let the Beet Drop DJ Set by Skip Hop

• Miniland Sensorial Reef by Miniland

• Pop It & Learn by Buffalo Games

• Sleepy Friends: Sleepy Sheep Night Light Tonie by Tonies USA

License of the Year

Character or property that has had success spreading its brand through the development and merchandising of products developed from the intellectual property.

• Barbie Franchise by Mattel

• “Bluey” by BBC Studios

• Disney 100 by The Walt Disney Company

• Magic: The Gathering “The Lord of The Rings:” Tales of Middle-earth by Hasbro

• Spider-Man by The Walt Disney Company

• Squishmallows by Jazwares

• “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” by Paramount Consumer Products

Outdoor Toy of the Year

Toys designed for outdoor play, excluding ride-ons.

• Bunch O Balloons Tropical Party Self-Sealing Water Balloons by ZURU

• Cosmic Kick the Can by Starlux Games

• Faction Skyfire Tactical Target Drone by Skyrocket

• Monopoly SPLASH by WowWee

• National Geographic Volcano Bean Bag Toss by Blue Marble

• Sky Viper Vector Performance Stunt Jet by Skyrocket

• Step2 Space Capsule Swing by The Step2 Company

Playset of the Year

Toys designed to work together to enact some action or event, including characters and role play.

• Deluxe Grill & Pizza Oven Play Set by Melissa & Doug

• Green Planet Explorers: Pandas’ Bamboo House by Hape

• KidKraft Ultimate Helicopter by KidKraft

• Little Tikes Adventure Rocket by MGA Entertainment

• PAW Patrol Mighty Aircraft Carrier HQ by Spin Master

• PLAYMOBIL My Figures: Pirates’ Island by PLAYMOBIL

• Scribble Scrubbie Glow Lagoon Playset by Crayola

Plush Toy of the Year

Toys made of fabric and stuffed with cotton or a similar filling, including toys with interactive or electronic features.

• 16” Squishmallows by Jazwares

• Build-A-Bear Plush Axolotl by Build-A-Bear Workshop

• Cookeez Makery by Moose Toys

• Fluffie Stuffiez Plush by MGA Entertainment

• GUND Recycled Plush by Spin Master

• Slumberkins How to Bee Helpful Set by Slumberkins

• tonies x Steiff Jimmy Bear by Tonies USA

Preschool Toy of the Year

Toys developed for ages 3-5.

• Color Wonder Fingerpaint Activity Book by Crayola

• Hurry Up Chicken Butt by Exploding Kittens

• LEGO Disney Celebration Train by LEGO Systems

• MAGNA-TILES Downhill Duo 40-Piece Set by MAGNA-TILES

• Reel Big Catch Game by Educational Insights

• SmartGames Safari Park Jr. by Smart Toys and Games

• TinkerTar by Buffalo Games

Ride-On Toy of the Year

Toys designed to be ridden outdoors, such as motorized vehicles, bicycles, scooters, wagons, etc.

• Crazy Cart Shuffle by Razor USA

• Droyd Romper by Droyd

• Extreme Drift Go-Kart by Radio Flyer

• Ground Force Elite by Razor USA

• Highwaykick 1 by Scoot & Ride

• Little Tikes Street Burner by MGA Entertainment

• YBIKE Leap by National Sporting Goods

Specialty Toy of the Year

Toys from manufacturers that primarily do business through independent retailers (neighborhood toy stores, museum shops, vacation destinations and similar venues) or in limited quantities online.

• Anywhere Sports - Trampoline Pong by Thin Air Brands

• Deep Ocean Creatures Clixo Pack by Toyish Labs

• KAI: The Artificial Intelligence Robot by Thames & Kosmos

• Plus-Plus Puzzle by Number Map by Plus-Plus

• Razor Deck by Storyastic

• Shashibo Jumbie Artist Series by Fun In Motion Toys

• Stapelstein by Stapelstein

STEAM Toy of the Year

Toys that encourage kids to develop, strengthen and integrate skills across science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).

• Air Toobz by Fat Brain Toy Co.

• Cranium Big Brain: Detective Game by Funko Games

• DK Virtual Reality Dinosaurs! by Abacus Brands

• LEGO Technic NASA Mars Rover Perseverance by LEGO Systems

• Little Tikes Big Adventures Metal Detector Mining Truck by MGA Entertainment

• Magic Adventures Telescope by LeapFrog

• National Geographic Mega Science Advent Calendar by Blue Marble

Vehicle of the Year

Toy cars, trucks, trains and other vehicles in all scales, including R/C vehicles.

• Bubble Blitz by Odyssey Toys

• Hot Wheels Ultimate T-Rex Transporter by Mattel

• Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Train by Disney Consumer Products

• Monster Jam Mystery Mudders by Spin Master

• RC Akula (Avatar: The Way of Water) by McFarlane Toys

• “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” Pizza Fire Van by Playmates Toys

• TrainBots: 2-in-1 STEAM Maker Kit by Thames & Kosmos

People-Focused Category Finalists:

Champion Of Diversity & Inclusion

Recognizes an individual who has shown a strong commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable industry by promoting and celebrating diversity.

• Brent Bell, art director, Moose Toys

• Dr. Zabina Bhasin, founder, chief executive officer, In Kidz

• Esra Cafer, senior vice president, global brand marketing, Hasbro

• Kim Culmone, senior vice president, head, design, Mattel

• Karen Kelly, manager, executive communications & DEI, community engagement, Crayola

• Vanessa Raponi, P.Eng, PMP manager, manufacturing engineering product, Spin Master

• Genna Rosenberg, changemaker, chief executive officer, GennComm

• Dr. Lisa Williams, founder, chief executive officer, World of EPI

• DeeDee Wright-Ward, chief executive officer, Purpose Toys

Champion of Sustainability

Recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions or acted as a change catalyst to develop purposeful, environmentally friendly and mission-driven programs that lead the way in creating a better future for the toy industry.

• Peter Handstein, chief executive officer, Hape International

• Jason Kroskrity, director, sustainable development, chemistry, materials, Mattel

• Robert Pasin, chief wagon officer, Radio Flyer

• G.B. Pillai, founder, Wild Republic

Packaging Designer of the Year

Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional creativity in designing toy packaging, including originality, innovation and iconic value.

• Ingrid Chow, art director, Abacus Brands

• Tim Conlin, logo and packaging re-design initiative, Elenco Electronics

• Shane Hartley, creative director, global games and Disney Lorcana, Ravensburger

• Suzanna Lakatos, director, packaging Design, Mattel

• David Pearce, principal graphic designer, packaging and branding, boys brands, Moose Toys

PR/Marketer of the Year

Recognizes an individual who has achieved outstanding and proven results in promoting toys to consumers.

• Caleigh Anthony, director, global communications, Spin Master

• Jessica Kalichman, director, marketing, WowWee

• Lisa Krueger, senior communications director, Ravensburger North America

• Sarah Madey, director, marketing and franchise, Hasbro Gaming, Hasbro

• Lisa McKnight, executive vice president, chief brand officer, Mattel

• Erika Merklinger, public relations and communications manager, Crayola

• Dana Moncrief, senior director, public relations, Moose Toys

• Lisa Orman, president, KidStuff Public Relations

• Lee Parkhurst, senior marketing manager, Educational Insights

About the Author(s)

License Global

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