Plastics have the power when it comes to winning spots in the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum of Play in 2022.
All three new inductees, named Nov. 10, use plastics: the spinning top, the Masters of the Universe line of toys and the Lite-Brite.
The top, obviously, predates plastics and has been made of wood, metal and other materials — Christopher Bensch, the museum's chief curator, notes it has been around for 5,000 years — but brightly colored plastics have been favored in many designs.
Lite-Brite, created in 1966 and licensed to toymaker Hasbro, uses colored plastic pegs, a light source and a black background to allow kids to create their own take on stained-glass windows.
"Whatever their shape or size, Lite-Brite play sets have encouraged kids to color and draw with light, applying 20th century technology to ancient mosaic techniques," Curator Nicolas Ricketts said in a news release.
The Masters of the Universe franchise covers multiple sides of the "children's play" industry, with cartoons introducing characters that kids could buy as action figures or play sets. Judges for the 2022 nominations noted that the brand's owner, Mattel, has since licensed the figures for everything from toothbrushes to sleeping bags.
"Part of the appeal of Masters of the Universe toys grew out of their being well-suited to the way kids play," Curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer said. "The team at Mattel understood that kids spend lots of time in fantasy play and like the opportunity to project themselves into the role of the hero."