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Sand and Piñatas among the latest Toy Hall of Fame inductees

ROCHESTER, NY (AP) – Cabbage Patch Kids, the rosy-cheeked dolls who left store shelves cleaned up during the first big holiday toy craze, are vying for a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame, which makes part of a group of finalists announced on Wednesday that also includes garden sand and the toy fire truck.

Finalists considered for an induction in November also include five competitive games: Battleship, Risk, The Settlers of Catan, Mahjong and Billiards, as well as the Piñata, American Girl Dolls, Masters of the Universe and Fisher-Price Corn Popper.

The 2021 finalists were selected from the thousands of nominations the National Toy Hall of Fame receives each year. Anyone can nominate a toy and an expert panel, with input from the public, votes in the three to be inducted. The previous 74 winners have run the gamut from the simplest cardboard box and stick to the revolutionary Atari 2600 gaming system and universally known checkers, Crayola pencils and marbles.

To be inducted, toys must have withstood the tests of time and memory, have altered play or toy design, and fostered learning, creativity or discovery.

All of the 2021 finalists have “greatly influenced the gaming world,” said Christopher Bensch, vice president of collections for the room, located inside the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

“These 12 toys represent the wide range of toys, from one of the world’s most universal toys like sand to a game-changing board game like Risk to the popular pool game for adults,” Bensch said.

Fans are invited to vote for their favorites in a “Player’s Choice” ballot that ends on September 22.

The three toys that receive the most votes from the public will be submitted as a single ballot to be counted along with the other 22 ballots submitted by the National Selection Advisory Committee, making the public a member of the committee.

The winners will be inducted on November 4.

About this year’s nominees:

– American Girl Dolls: Created in 1986 by educator and presenter Pleasant Rowland, each doll comes with a story that reflects an era in American history.

– Battleship: originally played with paper and pencil, Milton Bradley’s plastic adaptation in 1967 popularized the two-player strategy game. It was among the first board games to be computerized in 1979.

– Billiards: Commonly known as billiards in the United States, the game evolved from the first European outdoor games and became popular in the 1800s.

– Cabbage Patch Kids: The dolls, each unique, were released in 1979. Complete with adoption papers, they were the go-to holiday toy of 1983, paving the way for Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies and Furby who followed .

– Fisher-Price Corn Popper: Introduced in 1957, the push toy allowed toddlers to walk, mesmerized by the shiny flying balls and popping sound.

– Mahjong: The playing card game that originated in China became popular in the United States in the 1920s.

– Masters of the Universe: He-Man, She-Ra and the other figures in the line have become popular through Mattel’s use of comics and television, including the He-Man cartoon series and the masters of the universe, from 1983 to 1985.

– Piñata: The papier-mâché object filled with sweets is generally associated with Mexican culture, but can date back to the early 13th century in China.

– Risk: The board strategy game first released in the US in 1959 challenges players to control armies and take over the world.

– Sand: The substance is perhaps the most universal and oldest toy in the world, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.

– The Settlers of Catan: The cooperative board game now called “Catan” was first released in Germany. Players representing settlers establish a colony on an island by spending resources, which are earned through trade and dice rolls.

– Toy Fire Truck: Materials, design and technology have evolved but the appeal has remained.

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