Here are some tips for what will be big with kids in the year ahead:
1. Puppies are the new penguins: Move over happy-footed ice cuties, there’s a new dog in town. This year, pups of all sizes, shapes and types are everywhere — on television, at the movies, online, in toy boxes. The Obama girls are getting a dog; your kids will want one, too.
2. Baby foods show up in all kinds of grown-up flavors: Break out the good bib! Baby meals go upscale — check out, for instance, Gerber’s vegetable risotto with cheese or Plum Organics black bean tomato ragout. What’s next? Gourmet baby dinner parties?
3. Classic children’s books morph into books: Harry Potter was a box-office wizard; now Hollywood’s after the next kid-lit hit. “Inkheart,” “Coraline,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” will grace the big screen.
4. Making music is the new family pastime: Thanks to the success of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero video games, companies are putting out products that let families jam together — on screen and off.
5. “The Electric Company” is hot: A revamped version of the beloved ’70s kid show lights up the tube in January. Same high energy, same mission: to convince kids that reading is fun. What’s new? It’s now online for a multiplatform extravaganza. Check it out at www.pbskidsgo.org/electriccompany
6. Kids power up electronic toys: No batteries required; The eco trend shows up on toy shelves with a variety of cars, trucks, animals and more that work off your kid’s natural energy. Crank ’em up and watch ’em go — complete with bells whistles, lights and siren sounds. Two companies to check out: Sprig Toys and See Toys.
7. Kiddie fashion rocks the ’80s: From sneakers to coats, expect to see a lot of eighties-inspired bright color, neon, and metallics popping into your kids’ wardrobes. Plus, flashbacks from your own youth in graphics like cassettes and Rollerblades.
8. Baby names are inspirational: Choice names will reflect qualities that money can’t buy. For girls, think Honor, Grace, and Serenity; for boys, Justice will be hot.
9. Zen arrives at preschool: Stress has trickled down to the little ones. Three-year olds are doing yoga, learning to breathe deeply when they feel anxious, and scaling back from activity overload.