“These 12 toys represent the wide scope of playthings—from one of the most universal playthings in the world like sand to a game-changing board game like Risk to the popular adult game of billiards,” Bensch said.
Fans are invited to vote for their favorites as part of a "Player's Choice" ballot that closes Sept. 22.
The three toys that receive the most public votes will be submitted as one ballot to be counted with the 22 other top-three ballots submitted by the National Selection Advisory Committee, effectively making the public one member of the committee.
The winners will be inducted Nov. 4.
About this year's nominees:
- American Girl Dolls: Created in 1986 by educator and newscaster Pleasant Rowland, each doll comes with a narrative that reflects an era of American history.
- Battleship: Originally played with paper and pencil, Milton Bradley’s 1967 plastic adaptation popularized the two-person strategy game. It was among the first board games to be computerized in 1979.
- Billiards: Commonly known as pool in the United States, the game evolved from earlier European outdoor games and became popular in the 1800s.
- Cabbage Patch Kids: The dolls, each unique, were launched in 1979. Complete with adoption papers, they were the must-have holiday toy of 1983, paving the way for Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, and Furby that followed.
- Fisher-Price Corn Popper: Introduced in 1957, the push-toy got toddlers walking, mesmerized by bright flying balls and the popping sound.
- Mahjong: The gambling card game originated in China became popular in the United States in the 1920s.
- Masters of the Universe: He-Man, She-Ra and the line's other action figures became popular through Mattel’s use of comic books and television, including the cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, from 1983 to 1985.
- Piñata: The treat-filled paper mache object is commonly associated with Mexican culture but may date back to early 13th-century China.
- Risk: The strategy board game first published in the United States in 1959 challenges players to control armies and conquer the world.
- Sand: The substance is perhaps the most universal and oldest toy in the world, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
- The Settlers of Catan: The cooperative board game now called “Catan" was first published in Germany. Players representing settlers establish a settlement on an island by spending resources, which are earned through trade and rolls of the dice.
- Toy fire engine: Materials, design and technology have evolved but the appeal has remained.