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Toy of the Year
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Toys

Toy of the Year

The UK Toy of the Year awards began in 1965 and are presented annually in January, at a dinner held by the Toy Retailers Association (previously known as the British Association of Toy Retailers) during the British International Toy Fair at Olympia in London.

Some Toys of the Year are more memorable than others; taken as a whole, they give an interesting overview of which toys have grabbed the attention of Brtish children over the years – often (particularly in more recent years) inspired by the year's most popular children's film or television series. The following table lists the majority of them, omitting some of the less memorable ones.

For more details on the Toys of the Year, please refer to the Toy Retailers Association website. For years before 2010, go to The Toy Vault.

1965 Click to show or hide the answer
1966 Click to show or hide the answer
1967 Click to show or hide the answer
1968 and 1970 Click to show or hide the answer
1969 Click to show or hide the answer
1973 Click to show or hide the answer
1974 and 1975 Click to show or hide the answer
1976 Click to show or hide the answer
1980 and 1981 Click to show or hide the answer
1982 and 1983 Click to show or hide the answer
1984 Click to show or hide the answer
1985 and 1986 Click to show or hide the answer
1987, 1988 and 1989 Click to show or hide the answer
1990 Click to show or hide the answer
1992 Click to show or hide the answer
1993 Click to show or hide the answer
1994 Click to show or hide the answer
1996 Click to show or hide the answer
1997 Click to show or hide the answer
1998 Click to show or hide the answer
1999 Click to show or hide the answer
2001 Click to show or hide the answer
2005 Click to show or hide the answer
2006 Click to show or hide the answer
2007 Click to show or hide the answer
2008 Click to show or hide the answer
2010 Click to show or hide the answer
2012 Click to show or hide the answer
2014 Click to show or hide the answer

Other

Launched in Britain in 1966 by Palitoy, as a licensed copy of Hasbro's American GI Joe Click to show or hide the answer
Created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, and named after her daughter; inspired by a German equivalent called Bild Lilli; full name Barbara Millicent Roberts; boyfriend Ken (Carson); acquired a belly button in 2000 Click to show or hide the answer
Bakelite–based construction toy – invented in 1933 by Charles Plimpton, bought by Meccano in 1960 Click to show or hide the answer
Toy animals stuffed with plastic pellets rather than conventional PVC stuffing (Legs the Frog, Squealer the Pig, Spot the Dog, Flash the Dolphin, Splash the Whale, Chocolate the Moose, Patti the Platypus, Brownie the Bear (later renamed Cubbie), Pinchers the Lobster: introduced in 1993, a major fad in the late 1990s Click to show or hide the answer
Game of customisable spinning tops, based on a traditional Japanese toy; introduced in 2000, marketed internationally by Hasbro from 2002 – becoming its second biggest revenue earner, after Transformers Click to show or hide the answer
Controversial (skinny, provocatively dressed, produced in exploitative conditions in China) but hugely popular dolls, launched in 2001 by MGA Entertainment of Los Angeles; sold 125 million worldwide by 2006. Spin–offs include Bratz Boys, Bratz Babyz Click to show or hide the answer
Subject of a dispute between Xavier Roberts (who made a fortune out of them) and Martha Nelson Thomas (who didn't), over who originally created them; caused riots in US stores at Christmas 1983, as demand far outstripped supply Click to show or hide the answer
Range of die–cast metal vehicles, introduced in 1956 by Mettoy Ltd. as competition to Meccano's Dinky Toys, and made in Fforestfach, Swansea; sold to Mattel in 1989, and Hornby in 2008; most famous product is James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 – the UK's first Toy of the Year (1965), and the best–selling toy car ever Click to show or hide the answer
Traditional toy: a spinning top caught on a string Click to show or hide the answer
Range of die–cast metal vehicles, introduced in 1934 by Meccano Click to show or hide the answer
Invented in the late 1950s by French electrician Andre Cassagren; originally named Telecran Click to show or hide the answer
Reached its peak popularity in May 2017: Catherine Hettinger and Scott McCoskery have both been cited as its inventor (in 1993 and 2014 respectively) Click to show or hide the answer
Named after a pie company that supplied US colleges, whose empty tins could be thrown; Walter F. Morrison (d. 2010 aged 90) designed the Whirlo–Way (1946), marketed the Pipco Flyin–Saucer (1948) and Pluto Platter (1955), and sold the rights in 1956 to Wham–O, who patented the modern "professional" model in 1964 and finally sold the rights to Mattel Click to show or hide the answer
Car racing toy, introduced in 1968 by Mattel Click to show or hide the answer
Used traditionally in many cultures including Hawaii; first manufactured in Australia; a major craze in 1958 Click to show or hide the answer
Involves taking wooden blocks from a tower and replacing them on top without making the tower fall; name comes from Swahili for "to build" Click to show or hide the answer
Played with 54 wooden blocks, 1.5 cm x 2.5 cm x 7.5 cm
Invented by London mapmaker and engraver John Spilsbury, around 1760; involves fitting "nubs" into "voids" to form "locks" Click to show or hide the answer
Game first marketed in 1967, in which you remove plastic straws from a plastic tube, trying not to drop marbles Click to show or hide the answer
Known to the ancient Greeks; name comes from the Greek words for "beautiful" (kalos), "shape" (eidos) and "to look at or examine" (scopeo). Patented 1817 by Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster Click to show or hide the answer
Developed in 1972 by Peter Powell (1932–2016); British toy of the year, 1976 Click to show or hide the answer
Developed in 1989 by US engineer Scott Stillinger: made of hundreds of rubber filaments – designed to be soft, not too bouncy, and easy to catch Click to show or hide the answer
First made in 1949, taking the name of the company founded in 1932 by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen to make wooden toys (the name comes from the Danish for "play well" – leg godt) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
First made in 1953 by Lesney, in East London – all approx. 2.5" (6.5 cm) long Click to show or hide the answer
Invented in 1901 by Frank Hornby of Liverpool; described on the box as "engineering for boys" Click to show or hide the answer
Created in the USA in 1949 by George Lerner; sold to Hasbro in 1952 Click to show or hide the answer
Invented in 1974 by a Hungarian architecture professor; named after him in 1980 by a German toy manufacturer; said to be the world’s best ever selling toy Click to show or hide the answer
Developed in 1956 by B. Francis from his clockwork Minimodels – produced at Havant, Hampshire until 1967 Click to show or hide the answer
Classic toy, invented by US naval engineer Richard T. James in 1943 (and named by his wife): a compressed spring whose best trick was to go down stairs Click to show or hide the answer
Geometric drawing toy invented in 1965 by British engineer Denys Fisher Click to show or hide the answer
Construction toy for toddlers, invented by Denys Fisher Click to show or hide the answer
Made by a company founded in 1947 by Robert Pelham in Marlborough, Wilts. Liquidated in 1995, revived in 2008 Click to show or hide the answer
Collectible plastic anthropomorphic animal figurines, originating in Japan: British Toy of the Year 1987, 1988 and 1999; animated television adaptations were made in the USA (1987), UK (1988, narrated by Bernard Cribbins) and Japan (2007). Families include the Wildwoods (rabbits), the Babblebrooks (more rabbits), the Evergreens (bears), the Thistlethorns (mice), the Chestnuts (raccoons), the Slydales (foxes), the Timbertops (more bears), the Waters (beavers), the Treefellows (owls), the McBurrows (moles) and the Oakwoods (squirrels) Click to show or hide the answer
Japanese electronic toy, introduced in 1996 and ridiculously popular for several years; you had to care for it as if it were a pet Click to show or hide the answer
Introduced in 1985: a talking bear, whose mouth and eyes moved while it 'read' stories played on a cassette deck built into its back; spawned a TV series first broadcast in 1987 Click to show or hide the answer
Stuffed toy, based on a character from Sesame Street, that laughs when squeezed; introduced in 1996, it caused a shopping frenzy that Christmas Click to show or hide the answer
Started in Japan in 1984, as a range of toys that could be changed from vehicles into robots and vice versa; grew into a global franchise, with comic books, TV series and films; described as "the must–have Christmas toy of 1986" Click to show or hide the answer
Said to be based on a Filipino hunting weapon, and introduced to the USA in 1923 by Filipino hotel worker Pedro Flores Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017