Will a plastics-related toy make it into the National Toy Hall of Fame this year?
Signs point to yes.
The 12 finalists named for the annual event at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y., include PEZ candy dispensers, the Wiffle Ball, My Little Pony, play food and, as you probably guessed from the second sentence, the Magic 8 Ball. A standard ball, as opposed to Magic 8 or Wiffle, has been in the Toy Hall of Fame since 2009.
Also representing plastics this year, the board game Risk, with its plastic pieces, and Transformers. Another finalist, sand (yes, like beach sand) is represented in the museum's news releases with a plastic bucket and shovel, so in a way plastics is part of more than half of the finalists.
Rounding out the finalists for this year: paper airplane, Matchbox cars, the board game Clue and the card game Uno.
While some of the objects have been around since, essentially the beginning of the world — like sand — most of the finalists date to the childhoods of the Baby Boomers. The Wiffle Ball came about in the 1950s, the Magic 8 Ball as we know it in 1950 and Pez dispensers came to the market shortly after World War II.
Only about three of the finalists will make it into the Hall of Fame alongside icons such as Lego, Barbie dolls, Big Wheel and Rubik's Cube. (Plastics have obviously been key to a lot of iconic toys.) The winners will be announced Nov. 9.
The Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that have "engaged and delighted multiple generations" and inductees must show that it is more than a passing fad (back of the line, fidget spinners), has an element of "discovery" by promising learning or creativity through play and has "profoundly changed play or toy design."
The Hall of Fame takes thousands of nominations each year, and a national selection advisory committee narrows those down to the finalists.