Courtesy of Museum of Play

Both food-related play things are among 2017's finalists for America's most influential and innovative toys.

Abbey White
September 14, 2017

It looks like someone forgot to tell The National Toy Hall of Fame that you shouldn't play with your food.

The American museum focused on recognizing popular and influential toys and games announced this year's 12 nominees, and pretend "play food," as well as the collectible candy holder Pez, booth made the cut.

The two iconic toys are currently up for induction along with other cultural classics Clue, My Little Pony, the Magic 8 Ball, Uno, Matchbox cars, the Wiffle ball, Risk, sand, Transformers, and the paper airplane.

Courtesy of Museum of Play

Pez, which first hit the toy scene in 1927 as a breath mint, developed into the small, mechanical candy-dispensing device—capable of supplying Pez bricks—in 1948. The collectibles are known for featuring famous characters within pop-culture, including Warner Bros. cartoon characters, DC Comics heroes, and Pokémon. According to the hall of fame, the company sells 3 billion candies a year, with around 60 to 70 different dispensers always in production.

Meanwhile, the museum's announcement reads "For more than 70 years, play food has fed into children's imaginative activities, filling the plates at pretend tea parties, providing fodder for social interaction, and acting as supplies for make-believe shopping centers." Further, play food's ability to evolve when it comes to toy material, design and particularly realism, make it a symbol of longevity and innovation.

Courtesy of Museum of Play

Those are two of the criteria, along with icon status and discovery, involved in selecting both finalists and ultimately each year's two to three inductees. To make it to the finalist round, a toy's impact is expertly examined. How widely recognized, respected, and remembered it is, whether it's more than just a fad, if it cultivates learning or creativity, and its ability to influence toy design are all taken into consideration.

Anyone can nominate toys, but the Rochester, New York-based museum turns to the likes of historians and educators for making the ultimate decision on which will join the ranks of America's most esteemed play things.

The 2017 honorees will be announced during a special ceremony on November 9, and if selected, Pez and play food will join the 62 other toys—including the Slinky, Easy Bake Oven, Rubik's Cube, Dungeons and Dragons, Barbie, and Nintendo Game Boy—that have already been inducted into the museum since it began the honor back in 1998.