Big Wheel & Game Boy Finally Get Their Overdue Place In The Toy Hall of Fame

original-gameboyCongratulations to the Game Boy (introduced in 1989 by Nintendo), the Big Wheel (introduced by Marx Toys back in 1969) and the timeless, age-old, Ball, which were all inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in upstate New York and now join the 41 previously enshrined toys.

With all the buzz about the newly added toys to the National Toy Hall of Fame in original-big-wheelRochester, New York announced yesterday, November 5, 2009, I thought it might be of interest to many of you around the country to check out some of the many wonderful toy museums closer to where you live, so you can revisit with your kids or grandkids, some of the toys you grew up with. Below you will find a list of several of them with links provided (where possible) to their websites.

* Check out my previous post about the National Toy Hall of Fame at this LINK


Additional related posts to visit on this site:


Famous Toys Enshrined at the National Toy Hall of Fame

National-Toy-HOFThe National Toy Hall of Fame, now in its 11th year, is an American hall of fame that recognizes the contributions of toys and games that have sustained their popularity for many years. They have pretty much endeared themselves in the hearts and minds of American children everywhere over generations and have enshrined their place in American pop culture status forever.

The National Toy Hall of Fame® at Strong National Museum of Play® recognizes toys that have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create, and discover through play.

Criteria for induction includes:

  • Icon-status – The toy is widely recognized, respected and remembered.
  • LongevityThe toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations.
  • Discovery – The toy fosters learning, creativity or discovery through play.
  • Innovation – The toy profoundly changed play or toy design.

Established in 1998, the National Toy Hall of Fame was originally housed at AC Gilbert’s Discovery Village in Salem, Oregon but was moved in 2002 to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, after it outgrew its original home.

Strong National Museum of Play® is the nation’s only museum devoted solely to the study of play as it illuminates American popular culture. Known for its family friendly, interactive exhibits and world-renowned collections (including the world’s largest collection of toys, games, and dolls), the museum is the second largest children’s museum in the nation and the largest year-round family attraction in upstate New York.

For more info on Strong & the National Toy Hall of Fame visit


To date 42 toys have been enshrined in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Below is a year-by-year rundown of the annual inductees.


* Check out my follow-up post to this one about the latest (2009) inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame at the following link:

Big Wheel & Game Boy Finally Get Their Overdue Place In The Toy Hall of Fame


Original inductees (1998-99)

The original inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame were announced in November 1999. Students from nearby Willamette University protested (good-naturedly) when they learned that Mr. Potato Head and Barbie’s friend Ken were not included. The 17 lucky winners were…

  1. Barbie
  2. Crayola Crayon
  3. Erector Set
  4. Etch-A-Sketch
  5. Frisbee
  6. Hula Hooplincoln-log-cabins
  7. Lego
  8. Lincoln Logs
  9. Marbles
  10. Monopoly
  11. Play-Doh
  12. Radio Flyer Wagonradio-flyer-wagon
  13. Roller Skates
  14. Teddy Bear
  15. Tinkertoy
  16. View-Master
  17. Duncan Yo-Yo

Class of 2000

This year’s selections were chosen from a field of 34 nominations by a panel of educators and civic leaders that included Sharon Kitzhaber, wife of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. Nominees rejected for the honor this year included G.I. Joe, Original Nintendo, the soccer ball, Beanie Babies, the baseball glove and the cap gun.mr_potato_head

18. Bicycle

19. Jacks

20. Jump Rope

21. Mr. Potato Headslinky

22. Slinky

Class of 2001

Both children and adults created a list of 82 nominees over the past year. A national panel of distinguished educators and civic leaders choose two toys for induction this year.silly-putty-pkg

23. Silly Putty

24. Tonka Trucks

Class of 2002

There were more than ninety nominees this year.Raggedy-Ann

25. Jigsaw Puzzle

26. Raggedy Ann – Her induction this year came after a full year of campaigning from fans.

Class of 2003alphabet-blocks

27. Alphabet Blocks

28. Checkers

Class of 2004gi_joe_action_marine-2

29. G.I. Joe – The G.I. JOE brand overwhelmed the competition in a Playthings Magazine poll asking which nominated toy most deserved to be honored.

30. Rocking Horse

31. Scrabble

Class of 2005candyland-box

32. Candy Land

33. The Cardboard Box

34. Jack-in-the-Box

Class of 2006

This year’s nominees were: Atari Game System, Big Wheel, Easy-Bake Oven, Lite-Brite, Fisher-Price Little People, Hot Wheels, Lionel Trains, Operation Skill Game, Pez candy dispenser, rubber duck, skateboard, and Twister. Only two of the twelve nominees took their place in the Lionel-Train-boxhall that year.

35. Lionel Trains

36. Easy Bake Oven

Class of 2007

37. Atari 2600atari2600

38. Kite

39. Raggedy Andy

Class of 2008

The following toys were added in 2008:

40. The Stick – Curators praised the stick for its all-purpose, no-cost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child’s creativity.old-skateboard

41. The Baby Doll

42. Skateboard


Class of 2009

Which of America’s favorite toys will take their honored places in the National Toy Hall of Fame® this year?

Can Playing Cards make the cut?

Will Nintendo Game Boy® score big?

Can Sidewalk Chalk scrape by?

The Strong National Museum of Play has announced the twelve final nominees being considered for the 2009 induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame®.

And alphabetically — the nominees are……….

  • The Ball
  • Big Wheel
  • Cabbage Patch Kids®
  • Game of Life®
  • Hot Wheels®
  • Nintendo Game Boy®
  • Paper Airplane
  • Playing Cards
  • Rubik’s Cube®
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Toy Tea Set
  • Transformers®.

Only two of the twelve finalists will make it into the prestigious hall, joining such toy luminaries as Barbie®, Mr. Potato Head®, and the Atari® 2600 Game System.

The National Toy Hall of Fame receives thousands of toy nominations via mail and email annually. The final 2009 toy inductees, to be chosen by a National Selection Committee, will be announced at a press conference on Thursday, November 5, and a major weekend public celebration will follow at Strong National Museum of Play on Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8.

* Check out my follow-up post to this one about the latest (2009) inductees to the National Toy Hall of Fame at the following link:

Big Wheel & Game Boy Finally Get Their Overdue Place In The Toy Hall of Fame


Link to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame:

Link to the National Toy Hall of Fame:

Links to Toy Museums around the United States: