The Toy Foundation reveals the 2023 Toy of the Year Awards finalists

Published on: 22nd August 2023

An animated game to create movie magic, an activity table to drop musical beats, and an 8-foot inflatable obstacle course to spark endless outdoor fun are among the inventive finalists for the prestigious Toy of the Year Awards.

The Toy Foundation (TTF) has announced the top 122 toys, games, and properties across 17 product categories (listed below) that are advancing the world of play.

Consumers are invited to visit to see the complete list of product category finalists and vote for their favourites to help determine the category winners through from now until 8th September.

The product finalists were selected by an independent panel of play experts, journalists, academics, retailers and other toy experts, who narrowed down the pool from the hundreds of nominations submitted by top companies of all sizes. The category winners, determined by votes from consumers, Toy Association members, retailers, and media, will be announced at the TOTY Awards on 29th September in New York City. As the kickoff to Toy Fair, the TOTY Awards are the biggest night of the year for toys, where the industry gathers to recognise innovation across every category of play. The night is also the ultimate fundraiser to support TTF’s work delivering the extraordinary benefits of play to children in need around the world.

The Toy of the Year and People’s Choice winners will be announced on 20th November, in time to create peak holiday shopping buzz. Voting for the People’s Choice Award, decided by online consumer votes, will remain open until 10th November. The Toy of the Year will be determined by a panel of expert judges.

New for the TOTY Awards, the achievements of industry trailblazers and outstanding initiatives will be celebrated across four people-focused and two campaign-focused categories. 27 professionals have been recognised as finalists for advancing the toy industry across sustainability; diversity, equity, and inclusion; packaging design; and PR/marketing. The people-focused category winners will be determined by Toy Association member votes. An independent panel of marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals, assembled in partnership with Advertising Week, have evaluated the campaign-focused nominations and will determine the winners.

“This year’s TOTY Awards finalists are an unmatched line-up of toys, games, and professionals that represent the best of the best in the toy industry,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “We look forward to celebrating all of the finalists at the industry’s biggest night of the year, plus advance the industry’s collective philanthropy for the benefit of children in need.”

TTF aims to be the uniting force for the collective philanthropy of the toy industry for the benefit of all children in need. In 2022, the industry’s support helped TTF reach more than 925,000 children and all proceeds generated from the TOTY Awards will help TTF impact even more children through the distribution of toys through The Toy Bank, support of play therapy programmes in children’s hospitals, and development of the next generation of diverse talent for the industry.

The 2023 Toy of the Year Award Finalists are as follows:

Action Figure of the Year
  • Gunslinger Spawn with Horse – McFarlane Toys
  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Deep Goo Sea Triple Goo King Hydra – Moose Toys
  • Jurassic Park Real FX Baby T-Rex – Wow! Stuff
  • Jurassic World: Dominion Roar Strikers – Mattel
  • Pokémon Train & Play Deluxe Pikachu – Jazwares
  • Star Wars: Chatter Back Chopper Animatronic Hasbro
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – Playmates Toys
Construction Toy of the Year
  • Create A Castle BuildMaster Indoor Activity Starter Kit – Create A Castle
  • Hot Wheels Smash n Crash Bone Shaker Crush Course – Mattel
  • Lego Disney ‘Up’ House – Lego Systems
  • Lego Friends Heartlake International School – Lego Systems
  • Mega Forest Pokémon Center – Mattel
  • National Geographic Epic Forts – Blue Marble
  • STEM Explorers Bridge Builders – Learning Resources
Doll of the Year
  • Barbie The Movie Dolls – Mattel
  • CreativeSoul Dolls –  Disney Consumer Products
  • Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Doll – Mattel
  • Latinistas Fashion Dolls – Purpose Toys
  • Magic Mixies Pixlings – Moose Toys
  • The Fresh Beats Collection – World of EPI
  • Under the Sea Exploring Ariel Doll – Jakks Pacific
Grown-Up Toy of the Year
  • Chicken vs Hotdog – Big Potato Games
  • Dumb Ways to Die Card Game – Spin Master
  • Flyer Folding Cargo eBike – Radio Flyer
  • Kanoodle Pyramid – Educational Insights
  • Lego Art Hokusai: The Great Wave – Lego Systems
  • Lego The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell – Lego Systems
  • The Riddler Puzzle Box by Edward Nygma – Detective Mode – McFarlane Toys
Licence of the Year
  • Barbie Franchise – Mattel
  • Bluey – BBC Studios
  • Disney 100 – The Walt Disney Company
  • Magic: The Gathering The Lord of The Rings: Tales of Middle-earth – Hasbro
  • Spider-Man – The Walt Disney Company
  • Squishmallows – Jazwares
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – Paramount Consumer Products
Play Set of the Year
  • Deluxe Grill & Pizza Oven Play Set – Melissa & Doug
  • Green Planet Explorers: Pandas’ Bamboo House – Hape
  • KidKraft Ultimate Helicopter – KidKraft
  • Little Tikes Adventure Rocket – MGA Entertainment
  • Paw Patrol Mighty Aircraft Carrier HQ – Spin Master
  • Playmobil My Figures: Pirates’ Island – Playmobil
  • Scribble Scrubbie Glow Lagoon Playset – Crayola
Pre-School Toy of the Year
  • Color Wonder Fingerpaint Activity Book – Crayola
  • Hurry Up Chicken Butt – Exploding Kittens
  • Lego Disney Celebration Train – Lego Systems
  • Magna-Tiles Downhill Duo 40-Piece Set – Magna-Tiles
  • Reel Big Catch Game – Educational Insights
  • SmartGames Safari Park Jr. – Smart Toys and Games
  • TinkerTar – Buffalo Games
Vehicle of the Year
  • Bubble Blitz – Odyssey Toys
  • Hot Wheels Ultimate T-Rex Transporter – Mattel
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Train – Disney Consumer Products
  • Monster Jam Mystery Mudders – Spin Master
  • RC Akula (Avatar: The Way of Water) – McFarlane Toys
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Pizza Fire Van – Playmates Toys
  • TrainBots: 2-in-1 STEAM Maker Kit – Thames & Kosmos
Collectible of the Year
  • Bitzee – Spin Master
  • Furby Interactive – Hasbro
  • Lego Minifigures Disney 100 – Lego Systems
  • Monster High Skullector Line – Mattel
  • My Arcade Micro Player Pro – My Arcade
  • Squishmallows Pokémon Collection – Jazwares
Creative Toy of the Year
  • American Girl Create Your Own – Mattel
  • Beast Lab – Moose Toys
  • Cool Maker PopStyle Bracelet Maker – Spin Master
  • Creative-Tonies – Tonies USA
  • Mars Rovers Clixo Pack – Toyish Labs
  • National Geographic Hobby Pottery Wheel – Blue Marble
  • Skillmatics Foil Fun – Skillmatics
  • Tasty Labs: Wizard Potion Science Kit – Thames & Kosmos
Game of the Year
  • 5 Second Rule Relay – PlayMonster
  • Beat the 8 Ball – Blue Orange Games
  • Disney Animated Game – Funko Games
  • Game Night in a Can – Goliath Games
  • KidKraft Beat Board – KidKraft
  • Magic 8 Ball Magical Encounters Board Game – Mattel
  • Search Party: Chaos at The Park – Relatable (formerly What Do You Meme?)
  • Shashibo Battle Shapes – Fun In Motion Toys
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year
  • Crawligator – Kiddy Crawler
  • Deluxe Push & Play Cube Walker – Radio Flyer
  • Laugh & Learn Mix & Learn DJ Table – Mattel
  • Lego Duplo 3 in 1 Tree House – Lego Systems
  • Let the Beet Drop DJ Set – Skip Hop
  • Miniland Sensorial Reef – Miniland
  • Pop It & Learn – Buffalo Games
  • Sleepy Friends: Sleepy Sheep Night Light Tonie – Tonies USA
Outdoor Toy of the Year
  • Bunch O Balloons Tropical Party Self-Sealing Water Balloons – Zuru
  • Cosmic Kick the Can – Starlux Games
  • Faction Skyfire Tactical Target Drone – Skyrocket
  • Monopoly Splash – WowWee
  • National Geographic Volcano Bean Bag Toss – Blue Marble
  • Sky Viper Vector Performance Stunt Jet – Skyrocket
  • Step2 Space Capsule Swing – The Step2 Company
Plush Toy of the Year
  • 16” Squishmallows – Jazwares
  • Build-A-Bear Plush Axolotl – Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Cookeez Makery – Moose Toys
  • Fluffie Stuffiez Plush – MGA Entertainment
  • Gund Recycled Plush – Spin Master
  • Slumberkins How to Bee Helpful Set – Slumberkins
  • Tonies x Steiff Jimmy Bear – Tonies USA
Ride-On Toy of the Year
  • Crazy Cart Shuffle – Razor USA
  • Droyd Romper – Droyd
  • Extreme Drift Go-Kart – Radio Flyer
  • Ground Force Elite – Razor USA
  • Highwaykick 1 – Scoot & Ride
  • Little Tikes Street Burner – MGA Entertainment
  • YBike Leap – National Sporting Goods
STEAM Toy of the Year
  • Air Toobz – Fat Brain Toys
  • Cranium Big Brain: Detective Game – Funko Games
  • DK Virtual Reality Dinosaurs! – Abacus Brands
  • Lego Technic NASA Mars Rover Perseverance – Lego Systems, Inc.
  • Little Tikes Big Adventures Metal Detector Mining Truck – MGA Entertainment
  • Magic Adventures Telescope – LeapFrog
  • National Geographic Mega Science Advent Calendar – Blue Marble

The People-Focused category finalists are as follows:

Champion of Diversity & Inclusion

Recognises an individual who has shown a strong commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable industry by promoting and celebrating diversity.

  • Brent Bell – Art director at Moose Toys
  • Dr. Zabina Bhasin – founder & CEO at In Kidz
  • Esra Cafer – senior vice president of Global Brand Marketing at Hasbro
  • Kim Culmone- senior vice president & head of Design at Mattel
  • Karen Kelly – manager of Executive Communications & DEI and Community Engagement at Crayola
  • Vanessa Raponi, P.Eng – PMP manager of Manufacturing Engineering Product at Spin Master
  • Genna Rosenberg – changemaker & CEO at GennComm
  • Dr. Lisa Williams – founder & CEO at World of EPI
  • DeeDee Wright-Ward – CEO at Purpose Toys
Champion of Sustainability

Recognises an individual who has made outstanding contributions or acted as a change catalyst to develop purposeful, environmentally friendly, and mission-driven programs that lead the way in creating a better future for the toy industry.

  • Peter Handstein – CEO at Hape International
  • Jason Kroskrity – director of Sustainable Development, Chemistry, & Materials at Mattel
  • Robert Pasin – chief wagon officer at Radio Flyer
  • G.B. Pillai – founder at Wild Republic
Packaging Designer of the Year

Recognises an individual who has demonstrated exceptional creativity in designing packaging for toys, including originality, innovation, and iconic value.

  • Ingrid Chow – art director at Abacus Brands
  • Tim Conlin – Snap Circuits Logo & Packaging Re-Design Initiative at Elenco Electronics LLC
  • Shane Hartley – creative director of Global Games & Disney Lorcana at Ravensburger
  • Suzanna Lakatos – director of Packaging Design at Mattel
  • David Pearce – principal graphic designer of Packaging & Branding, Boys Brands at Moose Toys
PR/Marketer of the Year

Recognises an individual who has achieved outstanding and proven results in promoting toys to consumers.

  • Caleigh Anthony – director of Global Communications at Spin Master
  • Jessica Kalichman – director of Marketing at WowWee
  • Lisa Krueger – senior communications director at Ravensburger North America
  • Sarah Madey – director of Marketing & Franchise, Hasbro Gaming at Hasbro
  • Lisa McKnight – executive vice president & chief brand officer at Mattel
  • Erika Merklinger – PR & Communications manager at Crayola
  • Dana Moncrief – senior director of Public Relations at Moose Toys
  • Lisa Orman – president at KidStuff Public Relations
  • Lee Parkhurst – senior marketing manager at Educational Insights

For more information about the TOTY Awards voting and selection process, visit


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