A plain ol’ stick was entered into the National Toy Hall of Fame yesterday. It joins the kite, Mr. Potato Head, Crayola crayons, the Atari 2600, LEGO, and several dozen other toy greats. Also added this year are the baby doll and the skateboard.

From the Associated Press:
Curators said the stick was a special addition in the spirit of a 2005 inductee, the cardboard box. They praised its all-purpose, no-cost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child’s creativity.

“It’s very open-ended, all-natural, the perfect price — there aren’t any rules or instructions for its use,” said Christopher Bensch, the museum’s curator of collections. “It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight’s sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band. … No snowman is complete without a couple of stick arms, and every campfire needs a stick for toasting marshmallows.

“This toy is so fantastic that it’s not just for humans anymore. You can find otters, chimps and dogs — especially dogs — playing with it.”

The National Toy Hall of Fame is an American hall of fame that recognizes the contributions of toys and games that have sustained their popularity for many years. Criteria for induction include: icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); longevity (more than a passing fad); discovery (fosters learning, creativity, or discovery); and innovation (profoundly changed play or toy design).

Established in 1998, the National Toy Hall of Fame was originally housed at A. C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village in Salem, Oregon, United States, but was moved to the Strong National Museum of Play) in Rochester, New York, in 2002 after it outgrew its original home.