American Girl Dolls and Risk have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame
Victoria Gray/Strong National Museum of Play/AP

American Girl Dolls and Risk have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame

Everyone has a favorite childhood toy. But is yours a hall of famer?

This week, the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted American Girl Dolls, the board game Risk, and even sand.

The honorees were unveiled during a ceremony at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. They were chosen from a field of 12 candidates, beating out other classic toys like Battleship, billiards, and Cabbage Patch Kids, the museum said in a news release.

American Girl Dolls, created in 1986 by educator Pleasant Rowland, were chosen for their unique ability to teach history in a new and exciting way.

“Rowland’s formula for combining doll play with history lessons worked, in her words, like ‘chocolate cake with vitamins,'” said curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer. “In an era when some education experts claimed that school curriculums paid little attention to history, this toy may well have filled a void. It now offers a range of dolls and stories of girls growing up in America and promotes diversity in the world of dolls.”

Risk, on the other hand, used wargaming to teach children and adults all about strategy. It debuted in the United States in 1959 and is based on the French game Le Conquete du Monde.

“Risk became one of the most popular board games of all time, inspiring a new corps of passionate gamers, and influencing other games which began the wargaming hobby—and by extension the Euro-games like The Settlers of Catan that many enjoy today,” said curator Nicolas Ricketts.

Finally, sand is a universal substance children the world over continue to enjoy, whether it’s at the beach or in a sand box. There’s no limit to what children can construct with it.

“Although some playthings can only be found online or in certain stores, sand has a global reach that most toy manufacturers would envy,” said chief curator Christopher Bensch. “It’s been a vehicle for play since prehistory, and anyone who has spent the day at the beach can understand the allure of this toy.”

The Hall of Fame has inducted toys each year since 1988. The museum says toys are chosen “on the advice of historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity, and discovery.”

So if your favorite toy didn’t make the cut this time, there’s always next year.

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