Nomination and Selection Process


The nomination period will close promptly at 5:00 pm (Pacific) on Friday, October 9th.

Submissions Portal

NEW FOR 2015! TOTY nominations will be submitted online. You will need to login to the TIA website, or create a TIA account.

>>> TOTY 2016 - Nomination Portal <<<

NOTE: There is no limit to the number of products or properties a nominator may submit for a single category; however, no more than two products from one company will be named as finalists in any single award category. No single product is allowed to be a finalist in multiple TOTY award categories. If chosen as a finalist in more than one (1) category, the responsible company will be asked to select which category finalist nomination it wishes to accept. For the category in which the nomination was declined, the next highest-ranking finalist will be selected so that each category ballot has seven finalists.

Property of the Year

Property or brand that is having the greatest licensing impact on the toy industry.

Toy of the Year

  • Activity: Arts and crafts, construction and other indoor toys that inspire creative play through various forms of activity.

  • Boy: Toys developed for boys of any age.

  • e-Connected: A physical toy or game that is app-enabled or otherwise interacts with a Smartphone, tablet or gaming device.

  • Educational: Toys that help children to develop special skills and knowledge through play.

  • Game: Children’s board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles (does not include video games or apps).

  • Girl: Toys developed for girls of any age.

  • Infant/Toddler: Toys developed for infant children and toddlers (up to 36 months old).

  • Innovative: Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value.

  • Outdoor: Toys designed for outdoor play.

  • Preschool: Toys developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5).

  • Specialty: Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers.

>>> TOTY 2016 - Nomination Portal <<<


  • No product samples are required with the nomination.
  • Please complete the entire form, as each submission is provided to members of the category nomination committee for review and consideration in the selection of TOTY finalists.
  • Each product category or property entry is considered a separate nomination and requires the appropriate fee.
  • The “Toy of the Year” winner is selected from among the products appearing on the TOTY ballot.  There is no separate nomination form for consideration as a Toy of the Year candidate.
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Nomination Fee Summary

  • $75 per product nomination (TIA Members)
  • $125 per product nomination (TIA Non-members)

>>> TOTY 2016 - Nomination Portal <<<

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  • Nominators
    Products or properties may be nominated by any individual authorized to submit the nomination on behalf of the product manufacturer, importer or licensor. Membership in TIA is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination.

  • Market Availability
    All TOTY 2016 nominated products must:
    • be available at retail in the United States on or before November 17, 2015;
    • have been introduced to the marketplace within the last two years.
      (NOTE: This can include a new version of an older product line, as long as the “new” product or reiteration has been introduced within the last two years.)
  • Intellectual Property Rights
    The product manufacturer, private labeler, importer or licensor of every product submitted for consideration in the TOTY awards must own or have been granted permission to use all intellectual property rights. Additionally, the submitted product must not infringe upon any other party and/or another party’s intellectual property rights.

  • Safety Reports
    If a product herein is selected for the TOTY Awards ballot, the manufacturer, private labeler, or importer of record must agree to provide copies of all relevant safety test reports to TIA for reference should any safety issues be called into question by regulatory or consumer groups during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season or beyond.
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Award Criteria

Each product nomination must include a brief (50 word) product description AND a statement (up to 300 words) explaining to the nomination committee why the product is deserving of recognition on the TOTY Awards ballot. Consideration will be given to:

  • Creativity, Originality and Innovation
    Application of design, technology, manufacturing processes, etc.

  • Design and Promotion
    Outstanding, unusual and creative execution of artwork, product/package design, promotional strategy and execution, etc.

  • Excellence of Product
    Description of play value and how play value has been evaluated.

  • Marketplace Acceptance (OPTIONAL)
    Units produced, sell-through expectations, etc.
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Selection of Finalists

Finalists will be selected by nomination committees comprised of ten (10) to fifteen (15) experts knowledgeable of the category. Each category will have its own nomination committee. Qualified individuals may be invited to sit on more than one committee. Members will represent a cross-section of:

  • Retail Buyers
    • Mass (not included for “Specialty” category)
    • Specialty (only for “Educational”, “Game”, “Innovative” and “Specialty” categories)
  • Journalists / Bloggers
    • National consumer magazine toy editors
    • Trade magazine editors
    • Mommy bloggers
  • Toy Specialists
    • Academia, graduate (e.g., FIT, OTIS, etc.)
    • Academia, practical application (e.g., preschool teacher, etc.)
    • Inventor (requires signed statement affirming no conflict or special interest in category)
  • Professionals (e.g. developmental psychologists, play therapists, etc.)

Committee members will receive all of the nominations submitted for a category; the selection of finalists will be based on both the data and personal statements provided in the nomination materials.

No single product is allowed to be a finalist in multiple TOTY award categories.  If chosen as a finalist in more than one category, the responsible company will be asked to select which category finalist nomination it wishes to accept.  For the category in which the nomination was declined, the next highest-ranking finalist will be selected so that each category ballot has seven finalists.

Each product selected as a finalist will be featured on, a website designed specifically to highlight the TOTY candidates.

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In conjunction with the TOTY press event, voting for TOTY 2016 winners will commence on Monday, November 17, 2015 and close on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 11:59 pm (Eastern).

All category ballots will be weighted as follows:

  • Consumers 20%
  • Journalists and bloggers 20%
  • Retailers (mass + specialty*) 30%
  • Members of the Toy Industry Association 30%

*Specialty retailers vote in the following four categories: educational, game, innovative and specialty.

The People’s Choice Award will be selected solely be consumer votes received via the website.

The overall Toy of the Year award will be selected based upon the following weighted voting formula:

  • Journalists and bloggers 20%
  • Retailers (mass + specialty) 40%
  • Members of the Toy Industry Association 40%

All results will be confidential until they are announced at the awards ceremony.

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Product Samples

  • No product samples are required with the submittal form.
  • If a product is selected as a TOTY finalist, TIA requires three product samples for use as follows:
    • the November 24th press event and other fourth quarter media opportunities;
    • the February 13th awards ceremony; and
    • consumer prize packages.
  • A fourth sample will be requested for inclusion in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Play.
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Representation at TOTY Awards Ceremony

Every product or property selected as a TOTY finalist must be represented by either the nominator or his/her designee during the awards presentation ceremony on February 12, 2016, in New York City. Tickets are $375 per person; no complimentary tickets are provided to finalists.

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Questions / More Information

General Questions:

TIA Staff Contact:

Jackie Retzer; 646.454.5587