Toy of the Year Awards Criteria

In my article, Hot Toys vs. The TOTY Nominees, I commented that I found the criteria for the TOTY Awards to be vague. I have since been contacted by The Toy Association and informed that I had been looking in the wrong place. The criteria can be found both at the Toy of the Year website and at

Here are the criteria:

A nomination judging committee comprised of 19 play experts, representing academics, trade and consumer magazine journalists, retailers in both mass and specialty, and other toy experts thoroughly review the products to determine the official TOTY 2021 finalists. (Please note: No toy member companies are represented on the TOTY Judging panel.)

The judges rank the nominated products on a scale of 1-5 on the following criteria:

• Creativity and Originality
• Design and Quality
• Play Value
• Marketing and Promotion

With 5 as the high score, each product has a possible 20 points to achieve.

After two weeks, the judges review window is closed. We then review all the reports to identify the Top 7 in each category and follow up with a live Judges meeting to go through each and every category’s list to confirm the finalists. Additionally, we consider scoring ties within categories which sometimes pushes the Top 7 to a Top 8 in order to be fair to the tie scores. This year we have 5 categories that have a Top 8 pushing the total number of 2021 TOTY Finalists to 117.

Voting for the TOTY Winners opened on October 29 at and runs through January 5. Voting weights are pre-determined for Retailers (40%) , Media (30%), Consumers (15%) and Members (15%). An internal un-biased audit will be performed once voting closes to determine the validity of all the votes. Additionally, sales data is provided by NPD.

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