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The Strong National Museum of Play has announced this year’s inductees for its Toy Hall of Fame.

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The inductees for 2021 include American Girl dolls, the board game Risk and sand, not fancy kinetic sand, but regular sandbox sand.

2021 inductees

American Girls dolls, Risk and sand are the 2021 inductees for the National Toy Hall of Fame.

American Girl dolls

The idea for the dolls came to teacher and newscaster Pleasant Rowland after she took a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, the Toy Hall of Fame said.

She came up with the line of 18-inch dolls, each with a historic story and reproductions of period-accurate clothing and accessories.

The first three, Samantha, Kristen and Molly, were sold by direct mail. They were so popular that in only a few months in 1986, $1.7 million worth of the dolls were sold.

The line of three original doll has expanded with dozens of new skin tones, face molds, eye colors, hair styles, hair textures and stories, according to the Toy Hall of Fame.


A game based on world domination, Risk was created in 1957 under the name “La Conquête du Monde” (The Conquest of the World) by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse. It was purchased and renamed Risk and published with a few changes in 1959. It is now sold by Hasbro.

According to the Toy Hall of Fame, it is the “first popular game involving strategy, diplomacy, conflict and conquest.”

During gameplay, opponents try to move their armies on a world map to capture territories. The winner is declared when one person occupies all 42 areas.

Risk has inspired games such as Axis and Allies and The Settlers of Catan. There are variations to the original game that are based on historical time periods, science fiction and fantasy. There are also electronic versions for video game consoles, the museum said.


As Genie said in “Aladdin and the King of Thieves,” “Sand, it’s everywhere” and while Anakin told Padmé about his dislike of sand, in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” kids love to play with sand.

The toy museum said it “may be the most universal toy in the world.”

Kids can pour, scoop, measure and shake it. Add some water, and they have a medium to shape and carve.

Sand’s also been around a long time as something people play with. In the 1800s there are reports of people building sand castles.

In 1885 a group in Boston dumped sand in a chapel yard and gave children small shovels to play and dig with, the museum said.

A child psychiatrist and pediatrician used sand play in the early 20th century as therapy for nonverbal communicators.

Visit the National Toy Hall of Fame for a look at all of the past inductees.