Toy of the Year Awards

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February 18, 2022

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Nominations for the 2021 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards closed on September 4, 2020. A nomination committee comprised of play experts, journalists, academics, retailers, and other toy experts will determine the official TOTY 2021 finalists.

Voting for TOTY 2021 winners will open in the week of October 26, 2020 and close on January 5, 2021 at 11:59 pm (Eastern). Winners will be kept confidential until they are announced at the awards ceremony.

Every product or property selected as a TOTY finalist must be represented by either the nominator or his/her designee during the awards presentation ceremony on February 12, 2021, in New York City.



Products or properties may be nominated by any individual authorized to submit the nomination on behalf of the product manufacturer, importer, or licensor. Toy Association membership is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination. No single product will be allowed to be nominated in more than one category. Duplicate nominations will not be reviewed by judges and will be disqualified. 


Market Availability

All TOTY 2021 nominated products must:

be available at retail in the United States on or before October 26, 2020;

have been introduced to the marketplace within the last two years. (NOTE: This can include a new version of an older product line, if the “new” product or reiteration has been introduced within the last two years.)


Intellectual Property Rights & Originality

The product manufacturer, private labeler, importer or licensor of every product submitted for consideration in the TOTY awards must own or have been granted permission to use all intellectual property rights. The submitted product must not infringe upon any other party and/or another party’s intellectual property rights. Court Orders Involving infringement of intellectual property rights, the originality or lack or originality of a product submission can be grounds to invalidate TOTY consideration. A further qualification of an award can be required verification at any time that the product submission is not in breach of this representation or is not subject to such Order(s).


Safety Reports

If a product is selected for the TOTY Awards ballot, the manufacturer, private labeler, or importer of record must agree to provide copies of all relevant safety test reports to The Toy Association for reference should any safety issues be called into question by regulatory or consumer groups during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season or beyond.


Award Criteria

Each product nomination must include a brief (50 word) product description AND a statement (up to 100 words) explaining to the nomination committee why the product is deserving of recognition on the TOTY Awards ballot. Consideration will be given to:

  • Creativity and Originality
  • Design and Quality
  • Play Value
  • Marketing and Promotion
  • Sales and Marketplace Acceptance

Finalists Selection

Finalists will be selected by a nomination committee comprised of industry experts. Members of the nomination committee represent a cross-section of:

Toy Specialists:

  • Academics
  • Industry professionals


  • National consumer magazine toy editors
  • Trade magazine editors

Retail buyers:

  • Mass
  • Specialty

Committee members will receive all the nominations submitted for review. Each committee member will rank the nominations on a scale of 1-5 on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and Originality
  • Design and Quality
  • Play Value
  • Marketing and Promotion

Following the online evaluation, all committee members will meet for an in-person session to discuss and decide the TOTY finalists for each category. The selection of finalists will be based on both the data and personal statements provided in the nomination materials.

No company will be allowed to have more than 2 products in a single category.

Each product selected as a finalist will be featured on

Toy of the Year Voting

For the individual product and property categories, the ballots are weighted as follows: consumers (15%), retailers (40%), media (30%), and Toy Association members (15%).

The People’s Choice Award winner is determined 100% by the consumer vote. Consumer voting is completed on

The overall Toy of the Year will be chosen by a panel of industry representatives who, using their professional expertise, will consider multiple factors in making their decision, including Toy of the Year votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online and social).

*Any attempt by finalists to manipulate the voting process by offering compensation in exchange for votes will result in disqualification.


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