This year's finalists are: Bubbles, chess, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the scooter and the rubber duck.
The museum announced the 12 finalists Tuesday, two of which will be enshrined alongside Barbie, the hula hoop, Lionel trains and dozens of other famous playthings next month.
A national selection committee will vote on which two will follow last year's winners, dominoes and "Star Wars" action figures, into the 15-year-old hall, located inside The Strong museum in Rochester.
Anyone can nominate a toy for induction. A museum committee of curators, educators and historians chooses the finalists based on a toy's longevity, innovation, and other attributes. Each toy must be widely recognized; foster learning, creativity or discovery through play; and endure in popularity over generations, according to the hall.
This year's nominees trace their origins across centuries, from chess, which evolved in England during the 15th century, to the rubber ducky, which appeared in the 1800s, to Pac-Man and My Little Pony, which appeared in the 1980s.
A Chicago company called Chemtoy sold the first soap bubble solution in the 1940s, though paintings of children playing with bubbles appeared in the country of Flanders in the 17th century, hall officials said.
Some of the nominees have made the finals before, including plastic green Army men, Clue and the Magic 8 Ball. Thousands of suggestions come in every year.
Previous winners range from classics, like Play-Doh and Slinky, to the less obvious, like the stick and cardboard box. This year's winners will be announced at an induction ceremony Nov. 7.
Toy Hall of Fame: www.toyhalloffame.org