Child’s play. We use that phrase to describe something simple, so easy that it’s hardly worth a second thought. But play is complex, profound, and one of a child’s most important jobs. Through play, kids learn, develop physically and emotionally, relate to others, and discover the world around them. Our favorite toys remain among our forever friends, our deepest memories, our greatest joys.

FIT’s Toy Design BFA program—the first of its kind in the world—has at its heart a respect for children and for play. That’s why the program has been so successful, producing graduates who shape the industry, working on some of the world’s most iconic toys as well as brand-new ones that will inspire generations to come. Judy Ellis, Toy Design program founder and chairperson, was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2013. “I find inspiration in the growing strength of our alumni community,” she says. “Their mindfulness, values, and sensibility are nurturing creativity and open-ended play, now and tomorrow.”
Meet 25 alumni—one for each year since the program began in 1991—and see their work. Child’s play, indeed.

Check out the interactive 25th Anniversary Toy Design website to see some of the iconic toys and amazing work from alumni.

Featured photo: Judy Ellis, founder and chair of the Toy Design program, depicted as a coloring-book character by Han-Yuan Yu, Illustration MFA ’15, with some of the many toys in her office, all designed by her students.