In a delightful turn of events for toy enthusiasts, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper has finally made its way into the prestigious National Toy Hall of Fame for 2023. This recognition comes after years of being a perpetual finalist, marking a significant milestone for the beloved children’s toy. The Corn Popper, known for its role in encouraging infants to walk, was selected through fan votes as part of the Hall of Fame’s 25th-anniversary celebrations. Fans were invited to choose from five toys that had repeatedly reached the finals but never won, leading to the Corn Popper’s triumphant induction.
Joining the Corn Popper in this year’s induction are baseball cards, Cabbage Patch Kids, and NERF foam toys, all chosen through the traditional selection process involving a panel of experts. These toys, alongside the Corn Popper, represent a diverse range of play experiences catering to various age groups.
However, it wasn’t all celebration in the toy world. Ken, the iconic companion to Barbie, was notably absent from this year’s inductees. Despite gaining significant attention and a surge in popularity due to Ryan Gosling’s portrayal in the “Barbie” movie, Ken remained on the sidelines. This exclusion highlights the competitive and unpredictable nature of the toy industry’s most coveted recognition.
The National Toy Hall of Fame, housed within The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, has been honoring iconic toys since 1998. Its collection ranges from the humble cardboard box to ancient games like chess, and cultural phenomena like the Barbie doll. Last year’s inductees included the spinning top, Masters of the Universe action figures, and the Lite-Brite.
To be considered for the Hall of Fame, toys must inspire creative play and enjoy sustained popularity. This year’s winners exemplify these criteria. Baseball cards have fostered lifelong hobbies, Cabbage Patch Kids have sparked imagination and storytelling, and NERF toys have encouraged active play across generations. The Fisher-Price Corn Popper, once a forgotten finalist, now stands as a testament to engaging and developmental play for toddlers.
Other finalists for this year included a diverse array of toys such as Battleship, bingo, Bop It, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each finalist, including Ken, represents a unique aspect of play and cultural impact, demonstrating the vast and varied world of toys and their influence on generations of children and adults alike.