The Awards

The Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards is sponsored by the toy industry to recognize the top toys available this holiday season.

Though there are many toy awards programs, these finalists have been nominated from within the industry and are being voted on by toy companies, toy retailers, and consumers (you!). The TOTY Awards are frequently referred to as the “Oscars” of the industry.

On November 17, 2015, the 2016 finalists were unveiled and voting began.

The TOTY 2016 voting process includes input from not only consumers, but also members of the Association, retailers, journalists, bloggers and academics. Voting closed Sunday, January 17, 2016 at which point votes were tallied. The winners were announced during a celebration in New York on February 12th.

TOTY supports the Toy Industry Foundation and helps bring new toys to kids in need.

How does a toy or game get to be a TOTY finalist? See the TOTY 2016 Award Guidelines below to learn more:

Who nominated the toys?

Representatives from any toy-related company are eligible to nominate products and/or properties for the TOTY award categories. 

Submitted nominations contain detailed explanations of the product’s play value, creativity/originality, application of new technology, creative manufacturing processes, commentary on how the product is meeting marketplace expectations, and details of outstanding, unusual and/or creative execution of artwork, product/package design, and promotional strategy.

An unlimited number of products may be submitted per award category, but no more than two products from the same company may appear in an award category on the finalist list.

What criteria must the toys meet?

All 2016 TOTY nominated products must be available at retail in the United States on or before November 17, 2015, and must have been introduced to the marketplace within the last two years. TIA requires verification that all TOTY finalist products have been reviewed by an independent third-party testing lab and comply with strict U.S. toy safety standards.

You can view the complete Rules and Eligibility requirements here.

How did these finalists get chosen?

The toys featured on this site are the 84 finalists that were chosen from more than 640 nominations.  Finalists were selected by the members of 12 Nominations Committees – one for each category – comprised of seven to 18 high-stature experts, including retail buyers, journalists, bloggers, trade media spokespersons, academics, and inventors/designers.

NOTE FOR FAMILIES: It’s very important to pick toys that are age-appropriate for the children who will be playing with them. Several of the TOTY categories have a mix of toys for children of different ages, so please be mindful of the age grade on each product. Visit for more information about selecting age-appropriate toys.

The Announcement

On November 17, 2015, the TOTY nominees were unveiled via a press release and the launch of this website,, where consumers are invited to vote for their favorite toys during the holiday season.

Category Voting

Five weighted ballots – one each for consumers (25%), mass and specialty retailers (40% combined), journalists and bloggers (20%), and members of the Toy Industry Association (15%) – were open from November 17, 2015 through January 17, 2016.  Winners were announced during a formal presentation ceremony on February 12, 2016.

People's Choice Award

The winner in this category was determined exclusively by votes received on the website.

Toy of the Year Award

Input from mass retailers, specialty retailers, media, and TIA members will be weighted and used to determine the overall “Toy of the Year” award.

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