ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — American Girl Dolls and the strategy board game Risk were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday in recognition of their influence on the toy industry. Sand, the toy that the group considered perhaps the most ubiquitous and the oldest in the world was also inducted.

Following a vote by an expert panel, all three received their honors during the ceremony held at the hall. They were chosen from 12 finalists.

Also in the running this year were four other competitive games: Battleship, The Settlers of Catan, Mahjong and billiards, as well as Cabbage Patch Kids, Masters of the Universe, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, the toy fire engine and the piñata.

Anybody can nominate toys, but they have to pass memory and time tests, be able to change play, or the design of toys, and foster learning, creativity, or discovery.

American Girl Dolls, the 1986 creation of educator Pleasant Rowland, were recognized for their exploration of the country’s social and cultural history. Each doll is 18 inches tall and the accompanying book provides insight into a particular era. Molly McIntire, for example, is still waiting on her father’s return from World War II.

Children can choose the doll they like with Truly Me’s contemporary doll collection, which offers a wide range of skin and hair tones.

Rowland, 80, called the American Girl Doll’s inclusion “an incredible honor.”

“I’m so proud of the American Girl family—past and present—who have been faithful stewards of this brand for more than three decades, helping to capture the hearts of an entire generation of girls,” she said in an emailed statement.

“Rowland’s formula for combining doll play with history lessons worked, in her words, like ‘chocolate cake with vitamins,’” curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer said. “In an era when some education experts claimed that school curriculums paid little attention to history, this toy may well have filled a void.”

Risk was based upon the French game Le Conquete du Monde and first appeared in the United States in 1959. Officials at the hall said that the board game continues to be influential on other games. The gameboard is made up of a map with continents and challenges players to manage armies, conquer the globe, and lead them.

“Risk became one of the most popular board games of all time, inspiring a new corps of passionate gamers, and influencing other games which began the wargaming hobby — and by extension the Euro-games like The Settlers of Catan that many enjoy today,” curator Nicolas Ricketts said.

Sand was honored for its “opportunities for tactical, physical, cooperative, creative, and independent free play,” according to the hall of fame, which is housed inside The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

“Children recognize sand as a creative material suitable for pouring, scooping, sieving, raking, and measuring,” it said. “Wet sand is even better, ready for kids to construct, shape, and sculpt.”

“Although some playthings can only be found online or in certain stores, sand has a global reach that most toy manufacturers would envy,” chief curator Chirstopher Bensch said. “It’s been a vehicle for play since prehistory, and anyone who has spent the day at the beach can understand the allure of this toy.”

This class joins the 74 honorees of previous years.

Photo provided by The Strong National Museum of Play. This is the photo of the toys that were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame this year. These are the American Girl Doll (sand), the American Girl Doll (game of Risk) that were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame during an event at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. (Strong National Museum of Play/Victoria Gray via AP).
via Associated Press


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