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Top toy trends of 2014
There were hundreds of toys unveiled at The Toy Industry Association's (TIA) 2014 International Toy Fair at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan this week. Many products, games, electronics and other playthings are already creating a buzz.
"Whether kids are building with classic blocks, designing their own dolls, playing in virtual worlds or 'mashing up' play patterns, toymakers are giving them more freedom to do whatever they want," Adrienne Appel, TIA trend expert, said in a news release.
From supersized and classic toys to custom-built creations, here are the top six toy trends of 2014.
Going big: "Large-sized toys are becoming increasingly common in just about every category, from plush and play sets to RCs and building toys," Appel said. As a counter-balance to the micro-sized trend seen in years past, these toys engage kids in imaginative role-play activities and make impressive gifts for special occasions.
Remote-controlled gear: There's an influx of innovative remote-controlled vehicles for various ages and at varying price points. Kids can choose from helicopter RCs and vehicles that launch projectiles to animal-themed and licensed RCs based on popular entertainment properties.
STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) educational toys, games and crafts are making their way into the toy aisles. "Toymakers are increasingly incorporating storytelling and other artistic components into science, engineering and building toys to get more kids on board with STEAM," according to TIA trend experts.
Zombies, monsters and more: Thanks to the popularity of zombie-themed movies, TV shows such as "The Walking Dead" and video games, these ghoulish action figures and dolls are on the rise. "These toys not only have the ability to transport children to mysterious worlds -- they also teach them that it's OK to be different and stand out from the crowd."
Classic toys: Think a rerelease and refresh of retro toys that today's parents and grandparents fondly remember. This includes low-tech, back-to-basics toys, old-school family games and more.
Custom built: Toy experts believe in addition to building and construction toys, this trend extends across several toy categories -- from arts and crafts to action figures and fashion dolls -- encouraging kids to use their imaginations to personalize and create playthings.