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10 Biggest Toy Trends in 2012

We sifted through thousands of new toys at the New York International Toy Fair, yet there were 10 distinct trends that kept popping up.

Take a look at the 10 new toy trends to look out for in 2012:

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  • 1. iPads/iPhone-required toys 1 of 10
    1. iPads/iPhone-required toys
    This has to be the biggest new trend in the toy industry. Rather than a LIFE spinning board, Monopoly banker, Hot Wheels controller, or Infantino stuffed animal, these classic toys will now require an iPad or iPhone to work. (Note: The Hot Wheels does come with a traditional controller, but it gives us the option.)

    Much of this is because of last year's Nielsen survey that showed the top 3 most-wanted gifts for kids are an iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone. So not only are classic toys now requiring iOS technology, but tons of brand new companies are popping up that are specifically designed around an iPhone, like the new ibuku pets "huggable learning," that works as a charging dock for old iPhones that you might want to hand off to the kids.

    See the most outrageous toys of 2012
  • 2. Apps Galore 2 of 10
    2. Apps Galore
    So many toys are now designing their own complementary apps and/or adding online content — from educational School Zone flash cards to creative Crayola drawing apps (coming in March). JumpSport even created an iBounce Trampoline that comes with a tablet mount and their own apps.

    When it comes to online content, Mattel toys are leading the way with their app racetracks (that work with special hot wheels cars) and a new animated Barbie reality show (yes, really) debuting online soon.
  • 3. Eco-innovation 3 of 10
    3. Eco-innovation
    I know it seems like all of the toy innovation is headed in the tech direction, but there are some incredible strides being taken in the eco-friendly realm — for the environment as well as for our children's safety.

    Plan Toys is introducing "Plan Wood" (a new material made from leftover sawdust and eco-dyes), the new BeginAgain Toys is using a compostable cornstarch bio product called "Green Dot," and MiYim is introducing "MySpud" biodegradable plastic made from reclaimed potato starch.

    Read more about the eco-innovation and see more new eco-friendly toys
  • 4. Glow-in-the-Dark 4 of 10
    4. Glow-in-the-Dark
  • 5. Bi-lingual Toys 5 of 10
    5. Bi-lingual Toys
    Bi-lingual toys are everywhere this year — from Melissa & Doug puzzles to Chicco play electronics (all out later this year). Most bilingual toys can be switched from English to Spanish, but the new Playskool Learn ‘N Pop Lion (out in Fall 2012) teaches kids English, Spanish, French and Mandarin.
  • 6. Olympics 6 of 10
    6. Olympics
    The upcoming Olympics are inspiring a slew of sports-related toys, like Fantastic Gymnastics Dora ($49.99, out in August 2012) and the Playmobil Olympics Set (out in May 2012) featuring all of the summer sports — from volleyball to gymnastics to swimming.

    See the groundbreaking doll coming out this Spring.
  • 7. “Cool” Music 7 of 10
    7. "Cool" Music
    Rather than play classic "Wheels On The Bus" tunes, a lot of the new infant activity toys from Mattel and Hasbro play modern music like Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and The Beatles.

    See the annoying toys your kids will be begging for this year
  • 8. Fashion Clothes Designing 8 of 10
    8. Fashion Clothes Designing
    This isn't exactly a new trend, but it seemed to be more prevalent this year — from Barbie, Melissa & Doug, Crayola and Monster High. Expect these fashion-creating toys to start hitting shelves in the next few months.
  • 9. Retro Remakes 9 of 10
    9. Retro Remakes
    We found a lot of retro toys remade for 2012 — like the new plastic Tinker Toys, a more electronic Battleship, and a modern brain-twisting version of the Rubik's Cube.

    See all of the retro toy revivals for 2012
  • 10 Comic Book Superheroes 10 of 10
    10 Comic Book Superheroes
    Comic book superheroes are making a huge comeback in 2012 — like LEGO play sets, a ton of Hasbro Marvel toys, and Mattel's new Batman line (out this Spring). This is the year of the superhero. Get ready.

See all of these toys in our Toy Fair coverage:

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Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.

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