The trio was honored at the upstate New York hall on Thursday. The Class of 2017 takes it place alongside more than 60 previous honorees, including the dollhouse, jump rope and Radio Flyer wagon.
The winners are chosen on the advice of historians and educators following a process that begins with nominations from the public.
To make the hall of fame, toys must have inspired creative play across generations.
Why the paper airplane?
While its exact origin is unclear, experts can agree that the principles that make an airplane fly, developed by the Wright Brothers and Leonardo DaVinci before them, are the same that govern paper versions. It’s a wonder, without the price tag.
“Where some toys require financial investment, paper airplanes start with a simple sheet of paper, coupled with creativity and dexterity, to produce a toy with infinite aeronautical possibilities,” says Christopher Bensch, The Strong National Museum of Play’s vice president for collections. “They allow the imagination to takeoff and soar!”
Why the Wiffle Ball?
A retired semi-pro baseball player in 1950s suburban Connecticut noticed that his son and friend could not play a game of baseball in the cramped space of their backyard (especially without breaking windows). That’s when this light, plastic substitute was born.
“The Wiffle Ball changed the outdoor play landscape, taking the basics of backyard baseball and transforming it into something easier for neighborhood kids to negotiate. In the more than 60 years since its introduction, generations of Little League, high school, college, and pro sluggers have begun their baseball careers swinging at a Wiffle Ball,” says Curator Michelle Parnett-Dwyer.
A British couple designed Clue way World War II and based it on the murder-mystery dinner parties popular around that time. As aged as it is, Clue remains one of the top 10 best-selling games of all time.
Says Curator Nicolas Ricketts, “Millions of Clue games are sold each year—including a junior version, as well as travel, advanced, collectors, and themed editions. Clue has also had its own movie, been featured in numerous television and books, and remains an icon of pop culture.”
This year’s other finalists were: the board game Risk, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox cars, My Little Pony, PEZ candy dispenser, play food, sand, Transformers and the card game Uno.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.