All Toys Don’t Plug in or Wind Up…..

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Every year in the late summer, the National Toy Hall of Fame issues its’ list of “toys” up for consideration tor induction into the Rochester, New York museum.

The actual facility was given by Margaret Woodbury Strong following her death in 1969.

One of the largest history museums, the “Toy” hall now covers 285,000 square feet.

The finalists this year include:

American Girl Dolls


Chutes and Ladders

Fisher-Price Corn Popper

Magic 8 Ball

Masters of the Universe Toys




Tickle Me Elmo

Tudor Electric Football


There’s a public vote combined with a selection process by a special group and later this fall, we’ll have some new “toys” inducted.

Some thoughts about this year’s group of nominees.

“Chalk” is a great pick.

Driveways that I have known in my life have always been scribbled on since the 50’s at least.

We drew railroad crossings and stop signs and had turn arrows that we would follow while on our trikes and bikes (A 2000 Hall-of-Famer) plus the Radio Flyer Wagon (Class of 1999).

The “Fisher-Price Corn Popper” always reminds me of my late brother-in-law Gary.

We always threatened to buy one for the others’ kids to raise the noise level.

“Tic-Tac-Toe” is another brilliant choice because while you can’t wind it or plug it in, it occupied us as young ones for years.

I still play it with grandkids today.

“Tudor Electric Football” brings back memories of that annoying “buzz/hum” and all the football players congregated in the end zone, while one or two “mavericks” vibrated wildly all over the metal field.

They were never the ones with the felt “football”.

The classic board game “Chutes and Ladder” ought to join “Checkers” (Class of 2003) and “Jacks” (Class of 2000).

The “Magic 8 Ball” lines up nicely with the “Rubik’s Cube (Class of 2014) but you’ll have to “Ask Me Later”.

“Tic-Tac-Toe” is a great nominee as well because I still play that with our grandkids today but the “Sled” might be hindered by geographic issues.\

I doubt anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line has ever sat on one.

Furthermore, I fear the “Pinball” might be held back by the “hoods in leather jackets” image from the 50’s and 60’s at the area pizza  parlors.

The rest of the 2018 nominees just need more time to ripen.

In my opinion.

It looks like 1998 was the first year toy were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

What a class!

The “Erector Set”, “LEGO”, “Teddy Bear”, “Crayola Crayons” (Burnt Sienna was my favorite color!), “Tinkertoys”, “Erector Set”, “Marbles”, “Etch-a-Sketch” (Did you open yours up like I did? What a mess!), “Play-Doh”, “Barbie” (My sisters always wound up with headless Barbies) and “Frisbee” which also served as bases when we played “Wiffle Ball” (Class of 2017).

“Toy” is typically an object for a child to play with.

That’s what makes some of the previous Hall of Fame choices so clever and insightful.

In 2011, the “Blanket” made the Hall and all I could think of was all the tents we made on the clothesline in the summer or strung between chairs indoors in the winter.

The “Paper Airplane” (Class  of 2017) was a brilliant choice.

It makes me wonder why the balsa wood airplane hasn’t been nominated yet.

I loved the rubber band propelled models with the plastic and wire landing gear.

We’d mark off landing strips on the driveway and have them taxi into a western breeze and get some pretty good airtime.

“Dominoes” (Class of 2012″) were always present in the Foster house but we never played the actual game.

We built houses with them or would try to line them up and get them to fall in some sort of design.

“Alphabet Blocks” (Class of 2003) helped me hone my spelling skills and we did some “construction” with them.

I still have a desk name plate I made with my daughters blocks years ago.

One of my favorite “toys”, inducted in 2005, was the “Cardboard Box”.

The delivery of a refrigerator or an oven was cause for sheer fantasy  at the Foster house.

We couldn’t wait to grab the scissors and cut some windows and doors in our new “house”.

When the “Ball” was nominated in 2009, I wondered why it took so long.

Same for “Bubbles” in 2014.

Neav recently found a very sentimental toy while cleaning out her folks home following their passing.

A piece of wood with a notch on either end served as the first “Swing” (Class of 2016) her Dad made for her when she was a little one.

Add a piece of rope and loop it over a tree limb and little Neav was airborne.

In 2014, the National Toy Hall of Fame welcomed “Little Green Army Men” and it provoked great childhood memories for me.

“Tonka Trucks” (Class of 2001) took me back to one of my early Christmases when I got a set of those orange trucks with real rubber tires and even construction barricades and a road grader that I could rotate the blade with the steering wheel in the cab.

The 2008 entry, the “Stick”, made me think of my grandson Keaton who used to have a huge flower pot on the front porch, full of sticks, all with a distinct purpose and function.

It was also good to see the “Atari 2600 Game System” getting the nod in 2007.

Space Invaders anyone?

I have a few of my own “Toy” nominees.

Remember “Spoolies” the gals once used to curl hair?

They could be space capsules or even rubber champagne  glasses.

“Old Ballpoint Pens” could be taken apart and the “clicker part” used to have three segements that resembled a two-stage rocket and space capsule.

I launched lots of astronauts into orbit with my pens.

Our girls used to spend hours in the fall playing in the leaves.

Not just jumping into piles of them but raking them into neat lines and shapes, making “pretend houses” with “rooms” that they would play house in.

Lots of “Toy” memories.

I think me and the Missus need to make a road trip to Rochester, NY one of these days!


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