Harley Hay

HAY’S DAZE: The 2022 toy hall of fame

So I had a serious earworm the other day, and now, with no apology, I’m going to send it to you. All together now, sing: “It’s Slinky, it’s Slinky, for fun it’s a wonderful toy! It’s Slinky, it’s Slinky, everyone knows it’s Slinky!” There, now you can carry that around in your head for a week or so. I know I am. (You’re welcome.)

But the reason I was assaulted by that ditty was because I was thinking about Slinky and the game Mousetrap and Etch-A-Sketch and the reason I was thinking about those “ancient” toys was because I read that the voting for this year’s Toy Hall of Fame just closed. I’m sorry to say we all missed the deadline to vote, but I think you might find the list of 2022 finalists quite interesting. I know I did.

By the way, the Toy Hall of Fame has been hosted by the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York since 1998, and in those 24 years 77 toys have been inducted. And I’ll bet quite a few your favorites are listed there. I know mine are.

Some examples of the past most popular honorees are: the paper airplane, bubbles and sidewalk chalk. Last year the game Risk, the doll called “American Girl Dolls” and, weirdly, sand were all inducted. I really never thought of sand as a Hall of Fame toy, but, hey, it was voted in and I guess we’ve all played with sand in our playful past. I know I have.

So the criteria for being nominated states that the toy must have “achieved icon status, be popular for a long time, and foster learning or discovery”. You know, like the Pet Rock or the Hula Hoop, both of which taught us many things, none of which I can recall at the moment.

So by now I’ll bet you’re itching to know what the nominees are this year. I know I…never mind. Starting with the ones I would personally vote for on account of they’re the ones I’ve actually played with (recently), they include: Bingo, Lite-Brite, and the Spirograph.

Our family has had a rousing game of Bingo (complete with awesomely useless prizes) every single Christmas since Rudolph was a fawn. And that illuminated board for making pictures with plastic pegs, and the drawing device that makes fascinating geometric designs have appeared in most people’s houses since the 60s. In fact I believe the Better Half is keeping those in the basement pile of Rotten Kids’ Toys for if and when we ever have Rotten Grandkids.

The popular family board game Catan and the card game called Phase 10, which I’ve never actually bumped into, are on the list, as are the Masters of the Universe action figures, which are sort of like GI Joes only more monster-y. Pound Puppies, those 1980s “hugable” stuffie sort-of sad dogs that you can “adopt” are next, followed by the Pinata which is not so much a toy but more of a psychological anger and aggression venting device.

And finally there are two toys I must admit flew right over my head, recognition-wise. So of course I had to look them up. Turns out “Breyer Horses” are 12 inch individually designed, equestrianly accurate plastic horses, and Rack-O is a card game using little trays to “rack” your hand. And it just celebrated its 50th anniversary!

So, I can hear Breyer and Rack-O aficionados groaning at me and my ignorance right now, and wondering what kind of cave I grew up in that I missed out on many productive hours playing with plastic horses and cards in racks.

Sorry, I was too busy playing with my Slinky.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer Author and Filmmaker. You can email him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.

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