Do you have a bucket list? Are visiting any museums on the list? There’s one on my list. If you know me, that might not surprise you. Can you predict which one?

I dream of going to The Strong – the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Among other things, they are home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.

This year, Twister was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Do you have memories of playing Twister? I sure do. It was a staple of family parties with my brother and cousins. I know we played it at some birthday parties. I remember taking it on vacation because we could set up the plastic mat on the lake’s beach or the shade under the trees. Our grandparents enjoyed watching us play.

The inventors were going to call it Pretzel until they determined the name was taken. If you’ve played the game, you can see why they thought Pretzel would be a good name.

The game was invented in 1966 and the Milton Bradley Company produced it. But, they found out that Sears Roebuck refused to carry the game in its catalog. Without that support, they believed the game would fail so they canceled their manufacturing plan.

Guess why Sears Roebuck refused to carry the game. They determined it was racy!

So, why was it manufactured if the plan was to cancel it? Before making the decision to not produce the game, a publicity firm sent the game to the Johnny Carson Show. Before representatives of that company could send word to not use the game in a show, Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played Twister. Can imagine the looks from the two of them? Their comments? Everyone’s laughter? I also imagine Sears Roebuck felt justified after watching them play. Racy! Milton Bradley reconsidered production immediately and Twister sold more than three million games in 1967.

Do you have one buried where you keep your games? Get it out and play. Or, buy one as you shop for toys this season. It’s still being sold and it’s still fun.

If you don’t want to play Twister, that’s fine. Play something. Laugh together. You’ll get to know each other even better. After fun, relaxing times, children may open up and share what they haven’t felt able to talk about.

You might also enjoy checking out the list of toys in the National Hall of Fame with your children. The information they include is interesting. For example, I was surprised to find out why Twister was invented.

I think the criteria for selection are excellent. Do you and your children agree? For instance, how much fun you have when playing with the toy is not on the list. Would your children add it? How would they measure it?

Talk about the choices. What toys in the Hall of Fame have they never heard of? What’s there that surprises them? What isn’t there that they think should be? They can nominate toys on the website.

Play together! Research together!