Can you believe bubbles made Toy Hall of Fame? (ThinkStock)
Can you believe bubbles made Toy Hall of Fame?
Lexile

It's mission accomplished for little green army men.

The molded plastic pretend soldiers have been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame along with the 1980s stumper Rubik's Cube, and soap bubbles.

The trio of toys takes its place alongside other classics including Barbie, G.I. Joe, Scrabble and the hula hoop. They beat out nine other finalists including Fisher-Price Little People, American Girl dolls and My Little Pony.

The tiny green army pieces have been around since 1938. Their popularity waned during the Vietnam War but they became big-screen stars with the 1995 Pixar movie "Toy Story" and several manufacturers continue to produce millions of them every year.

"Over the years, these toys have remained popular because they are lightweight, simple to transport in buckets or pails, fun to blow up, easy to replace," said curator Patricia Hogan, who noted how some were inevitably melted under a magnifying glass in the sun. "But most of all because they inspire open-ended play."

The army men were finalists two other years before making the cut this time around, offering hope to this year's runners- up. Those include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Slip 'N Slide, the skill game Operation, paper airplanes, pots and pans, and the toy trucks sold annually since 1964 by the Hess gas station chain.

The brain-teasing Rubik's Cube was invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in the 1970s. It became popular in the United States in 1980 after being imported by Ideal Toy Corp. More than 100 million of the six-color cubes were sold between 1980 and 1982, dividing an obsessively twisting populace between those who could solve it and those who could not.

The cubes, with nine colored squares on each side, can be arranged 43 quintillion ways, according to the Toy Hall of Fame. They have inspired organized competitions in more than 50 countries, along with contests to solve it blindfolded, one-handed and under water. Mats Valk of the Netherlands holds the speed record for re-aligning the colors in 5.55 seconds.

Children have played with soap bubbles since at least the 17th century, according to the toy hall, when paintings depicting the play appeared in what is now modern-day Belgium. Now, more than 200 million bottles of bubble liquid are sold annually.

Bubbles got the nod as a toy of the imagination, spokesman Shane Rhinewald said, listing it alongside similar previous inductees including the stick and blanket.

Hogan, who curates the toy hall inside The Strong museum in Rochester, New York, noted the staying power of the decidedly low-tech toys in this year's class. The simpler the toy, the more ways children find to use them.

"The toys that do all the laughing or singing or moving for you don't offer the child as much room to use his imagination," she said.

A national selection committee made up of 24 experts, including toy collectors, designers and psychologists vote the winners in to the hall each year. Anyone can nominate a toy, but to make it through the preliminary selection process and become a finalist a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, foster learning, creativity or discovery and have profoundly changed play or toy design.

"All kinds of stuff gets nominated," curator Nicolas Ricketts said. "People have nominated dirt, sofa cushions. Anything that someone has played with and had a good time with might end up being nominated."

Critical thinking challenge: Critical thinking challenge: If you were to submit a toy to the Toy Hall of Fame what would you choose and why?

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COMMENTS (32)
  • GMauricio-Sti
    11/12/2014 - 02:36 p.m.

    I can tell because when I was a kid I loved to play with bubbles. I don't know why but it is just fun to look at and I have little sisters that play with bubbles and I told them why you play with bubbles they said because its fun. Like their is a lot of other toy out their better then bubbles but the kids love the bubbles more then the other toys. Its just water and other stuff and really clear to see through I don't understand why but when I was a kid I loved it I don't know why.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    11/13/2014 - 10:04 a.m.

    Previously, i was informed of the Toy Hall of Fame thanks to Tween Tribune, and i commented on the article, saying that I would be excited to see what toys would forth as champions of the toybox. Congratulations are due for the winners!

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    11/13/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    I'm actually really happy that bubbles made the toy hall of fame because they are my favorite. You can never go wrong with bubbles because you can never outgrow them. No matter what age, bubbles are fun and honestly, I think they should have been one of the first things to go in the hall of fame.

  • CarterSc-Wil
    11/13/2014 - 03:48 p.m.

    I think that it is really cool that the army men finally made the Toy Hall of Fame. I used to play with them too and I agree they were fun. I also can't believe that it is even possible to solve the Rubik's cube in 5.55 seconds! And bubbles finally made it too, which is cool since they've been around for quite some time and are addicting to blow!

  • CapeleyZ-1
    11/13/2014 - 04:13 p.m.

    The toy hall of fame has picked new winners have been announced. One of the things winning a spot next to barbies and G.I Joe dolls are green army men. This toy has been entered numerous times and has just won because of its simplicity giving kids more room to use their imagination. Another thing winning are Rub ix cubes because of the traditional challenge. One of the things that one that surprised me are also bubbles. The comity making up who decides on who wins are toy collectors, designers, and physiologists. I think that this is very cool.

  • BrigitteA-3
    11/13/2014 - 08:50 p.m.

    Recently, new toys have been added to the Hall of Fame. At the top of the list, bubbles. Bubbles allow kids to their imagination without having to go by a set of rules. They enjoy making them into different shapes, popping them, and watching them pop. Parents love bubbles especially, because of their inexpensive cost. Along with bubbles, little green army men are at the top of their list because of their small size, low cost, and simplicity allowing children to use their imagination. I think that bubbles are fun for all ages, and I still enjoy playing with them too.

  • ws2001wrex
    11/14/2014 - 01:04 p.m.

    I would submit into the hall of fame is a bouncy ball.I say this because, the bouncy ball is everyone favorite toy. You could play kick ball, soccer and catch. Its one of the most variate toy item in the world. So, if I had to chose one it would be the bouncy ball.

  • CharismaM
    11/14/2014 - 01:36 p.m.

    Before i read this article, I never knew there was a Toy Hall of Fame. It's a pretty good idea actually. I would love to see a hall dedicated to toys especially ones that I enjoyed when I was younger. It's about time someone did something like this.

  • ratiaira
    11/14/2014 - 01:40 p.m.

    that's cool because i love bubbles my sisters do to they always make my mom buy them and watch them pop i love bubbles to and I'm a teen

  • AlexisKrise
    11/14/2014 - 01:57 p.m.

    If I were to nominate any types of toys, I would have to go with 'Bratz Dolls'. They have been around for as long as I can remember.

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