Little People Go Big: The National Toy Hall of Fame Announces its Newest Inductee

Little People Go Big: The National Toy Hall of Fame Announces its Newest Inductee

Unless you have been out of touch for several days—say, locked in an epic game of Dungeons & Dragons—you have probably heard that Little People, the tiny figures that accompany Fisher-Price play sets, played a big role in the induction announcement of The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame on November 10. Little People, along with the game Dungeons & Dragons and the swing, took their place of honor among 59 previously inducted toys.

First introduced in 1959 The Fisher-Price Safety School Bus featured the first removable Little People. This version of the pull toy dates from about 1961. The Strong, Rochester, New York.as the removable passengers in the Safety School Bus pull toy, Little People have helped small children imagine big adventures ever since. Fisher-Price made the first Little People out of wood, but the figures have been molded out of plastic since the 1960s. The shape of Little People has changed over time too. The first figures were mostly cylindrical and grew wider as issues of toy safety arose in the 1980s. Then, when the figures were redesigned in 1997, they appeared with arms and legs and more colorful, three-dimensional faces. Over the years, Little People accompanied play sets that encouraged youngsters to explore the world beyond their homes and to imagine themselves at school or the airport, at the service station or the amusement park, and at the zoo or on the farm. Fisher-Price offered scores of play sets over the years, but children of successive generations remember the Little People in the sets best. The figures often became detached from their miniature buildings and vehicles, but the separation did not lessen the play value. Tucked in a small pocket for safe keeping or secured in a secret hiding place in the playroom, the Little People took on a life and purpose far removed from the make-believe play Fisher-Price initially intended.

The National Toy Hall of Fame Is in Full Swing

The National Toy Hall of Fame Is in Full Swing

On November 10, The Strong announced that the swing had been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, along with Fisher-Price Little People figures and the game Dungeons & Dragons. Though the play figures and the role-playing game surely fit the hall’s criteria for iconic toys, the swing seems so suited to hall of…

Dungeons & Dragons: Innovative Role-playing Game Merits Hall of Fame Induction

Dungeons & Dragons: Innovative Role-playing Game Merits Hall of Fame Induction

In the 1970s, a group of gaming friends added the concept of role-playing to the previously straightforward play of war games. Gamers Gary Gygax and his associate Jeff Perrin published instructions for Chainmail, a medieval war game, in 1971. This game differed from all other published war games by including a fantasy supplement based in…

The History of Play-Doh: Good, Clean Fun!

The History of Play-Doh: Good, Clean Fun!

Chances are if you mention Play-Doh, your listener will know exactly to what you mean. Not only does the name elicit a mental image of the product in a small yellow can with a colorful lid, but it also evokes sensory memories: bold and vibrant colors; soft, pliable textures; an unmistakable aromatic scent; the soft…

A History of Film-to-Game Adaptations: Why I Play, Study, and (Sometimes) Like Bad Games

A History of Film-to-Game Adaptations: Why I Play, Study, and (Sometimes) Like Bad Games

In October 2015, I was awarded a Research Fellowship from The Strong. I had access to the library, the archives, the museum itself, and the seemingly endless rows of shelves full of playthings of the past. Both my 14-year-old self and my current 30-something researcher self were in a happy place. My job is to…

Barbie Hacks and Mods: On Swapping Voices, Removing Makeup, and Fighting Prejudice

Barbie Hacks and Mods: On Swapping Voices, Removing Makeup, and Fighting Prejudice

Barbie has raised eyebrows since her debut at the 1959 Toy Fair. Modeled after the German Bild Lilli novelty doll, Barbie provided girls a playroom outlet for their dreams and aspirations. Inventor Ruth Handler knew that girls wanted to play at more than being a mother to life-sized baby dolls, but Mattel executives were skeptical….

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH … And Why Some People Do, Anyway

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH … And Why Some People Do, Anyway

If you are a human with a job and colleagues, your coworkers probably send you links to various items on the Internet. These may include the occasional funny cat video, but most of the time the content probably has a legitimate connection to your job. In my case, people send me numerous articles about preservation…

“He Shoots! He Scores!”: Hockey Games for the Off-Season

“He Shoots! He Scores!”: Hockey Games for the Off-Season

Being a fan of a professional sports team can be a lot of work. Sure, you can casually flip through the television channels on a Sunday afternoon and watch a few minutes of football, or you can accept some free tickets to a baseball game just to appreciate the sunshine and some stadium hot dogs,…

Playing Pirate

Playing Pirate

It’s 9:43 a.m. on September 19, and you’re eyeing the morning’s deadlines when the usually reserved graphic artist pokes her head into your office and says, “Ye’ll have me that copy before the sun is over the yard-arm, or I’ll have ye walkin’ the plank, ye swab, ye scurvy son of a sea dog.” With…

Playing Catch

Playing Catch

Several years ago, friends came to visit and brought along their Australian shepherd/border collie mix and this black Kong dog toy. (Kong toy? The inventor said the toy looked like “an earplug for King Kong,” and the name stuck.) The herder pursued the toy with agility and persistence. Our Charlie the Dog, a mini-goldendoodle (another…