Squishmallows Takes Home Coveted “Toy of the Year” & “People’s Choice” Awards; Top Toys Announced in 16 Categories of Play. Toy history was made on Friday, February 18th when The Toy Foundation unveiled the winners for the prestigious 22nd annual Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) during a virtual event attended by play professionals and toy fans from around the world.
In keeping with tradition, the awards ceremony included the induction of four industry trailblazers into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, as well as a spotlight on The Toy Foundation’s charitable initiatives. One hundred percent of the award program’s proceeds support the work of The Toy Foundation, which funds children’s hospitals in disadvantaged communities, provides grant relief to non-profits assisting families impacted by COVID-19, and supports vital diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the toy industry.
During the TOTY ceremony, Squishmallows from Jazwares took home the coveted “Toy of the Year” award, as well as the “People’s Choice” award and “Plush Toy of the Year.” Dubbed the “softest, cutest, cuddliest plush around,” the Squishmallows brand has proven its popularity among kids, adult collectors, and anyone looking for a hug.
TOTY awards were handed out in 16 categories and given to the following:
|Action Figure of the Year||Masters of the Universe: Masterverse (Mattel)|
|Collectible of the Year||LEGO Minifigures MARVEL Studios (The LEGO Group)|
|Construction Toy of the Year||LEGO Marvel Spider-Man Daily Bugle (The LEGO Group)|
|Creative Toy of the Year||Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron (Moose Toys)|
|Doll of the Year||Ada Twist, Scientist Lab Doll (Just Play)|
|Game of the Year||A Game of Cat and Mouth (Exploding Kittens)|
|Grown-Up Toy of the Year||LEGO Botanical Collection Flower Bouquet (The LEGO Group)|
|Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year||Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot (Mattel)|
|License of the Year||Pokémon (The Pokémon Company International)|
|Outdoor Toy of the Year||ZURU Crazy Bunch O Balloons (ZURU)|
|Playset of the Year||LEGO Star Wars Boba Fett’s Starship (The LEGO Group)|
|Plush Toy of the Year||Squishmallows (Jazwares)|
|Preschool Toy of the Year||LEGO Disney Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Tiana’s Storybook Adventures (The LEGO Group)|
|Specialty Toy of the Year||LEGO Everyone is Awesome (The LEGO Group)|
|STEAM Toy of the Year||LEGO CREATOR 3-in-1 Ferris Wheel (The LEGO Group)|
|Vehicle of the Year||PLAYMOBIL Volkswagen T1 Camping Bus (PLAYMOBIL)|
“We are thrilled to unveil this year’s much-anticipated TOTY winners, all of which are outstanding examples of the toy community’s talent in designing innovative, magical, and creative playthings for kids and adults alike,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We congratulate Squishmallows, each of the category winners, and all the nominees for their wonderful achievements and thank the industry for coming together in support of The Toy Foundation and its critical work of bringing toys, play, and healing to millions of children in need.”
During the event, four toy industry visionaries were officially inducted into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame – the late Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy; the late Lucille King, founder of the Playskool Institute; Jim Pressman, president of Pressman Toy Corporation; and Bob Wann (retired) of PlayMonster. Read more about the Hall of Fame inductees here.
More than 600 TOTY Award nominees poured in late last summer. Of those, 114 finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges. Category winners were then determined based on votes from toy retailers (mass and specialty), media, Toy Association members, and consumers. The “Toy of the Year” winner was determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social). The “People’s Choice” award winners were uniquely selected by online consumer votes. All results were audited for accuracy, including the judging and voting process, and The NPD Group validated marketplace acceptance. Descriptions of all TOTY finalists can be found at ToyAwards.org.