If it’s new and amazing and popped up in the last year, we knew about it — and told you! Let’s take a look back at Red Tricycle’s best finds of 2014, from crazy-cool hacks to must-stop travel spots to the most awesome in innovations in toys and gear.

Coolest New Toys
New toys pop up daily and we gave you the scoop on the best. Everybody loves the handy-dandy craft delivery service from Kiwi Crate, and in 2014 the exclusive Kiwi Crate for Target was launched. Also, the Roominate modern dollhouse gave STEM-toy loving kiddos a chance to wire their own dollhouse; and the ultimate in building toys met the digital era when LEGOs went 3D and online with Google Chrome. And don’t forget that PlayTape introduced a way to make designing a city for all those trucks and trains just a little easier.

deluxe-roominate-setPhoto: Roominate

Best Parenting Hacks
Parenting: Sometimes it’s all about survival. That’s why hacks like frozen pacifier pops for new parents, the why-didn’t-I-think-of-that  foam flooring for camping with kids. and the best way to use up those old stockings during the family photo shoot were not only hilarious but indispensable too.

camping-hack-2Photo: A Little Campy

Best Reasons to Upcycle
We all know the value of a cardboard box. From amazing DIY creations like a grocery store stand, to the ultimate baby entertainment (at least for 15 minutes!) by way of a cardboard maze, this year was all about upcycling the most basic of building materials into just about anything.

Grocery Store Stand by ikatbagPhoto: ikatbag

Best Reasons to Travel with Kids
Making a family bucket list in 2014 was easy, especially after we scoured the globe to share the most awesome in family travels. A favorite in coolest hotel rooms for kids was the Pirate Room at LEGOland. And while searching for those kid-friendly spots we found gems like Hawk’s Cay, Florida Keys, where swimming with dolphins is an everyday thing. We also revealed the spectacular play space, Peekadoodle in San Francisco.

Pirate Room at LEGOLAND - Carlsbad, Ca Photo: Ching-Yun L. via yelp

Best Reasons to Get Tech Happy
From hearing the amazing sound of your baby’s heartbeat to a family-friendly new battery bank to awesome tablets for your littles — like the Kindle Fire HD — we shared some of the coolest reasons to get tech happy in 2014.

Kindle Fire HDPhoto: amazon.com

Best Ways to Keep Baby Busy
After a year scouring the best blogs on creative entertainment for busy fingers, we provided you with long lists in hopes of giving you and the little explorer hours of fun. From sensory bags to homemade blackberry playdoh and even a Baby Lite Brite, we were wowed by all the innovative ideas we found.

It's In The BagPhoto: Jen Haas

Best DIY Crafts
Whether it was working with Mother Nature’s materials to make awesome crafts like decorative doodles, attempting some apple bowling art or even making a baby footprint masterpiece when you couldn’t get out of the house for craft time, we showed you how to set up right at home. We even shared the latest in craft kit subscriptions, like the one from Artsy Fartsy, filled with everything you need for a master project.

Decorative DoodlesPhoto: The Artful Parent 

Coolest New Gear 
It rocks to be a kid these days, and after checking out some new gear we’re almost convinced it makes being a parent easier too (we did say “almost,” right?) The new Ergo 360 offered the forward-facing position baby adores combined with the Ergo comfort fit parents love, while the Dozer Rocker presented a new take on naps in car seats and the Weehoo Trailer, with it’s fit-one-fit-all system gave parents a great new reason to hit the road. One splurge-worthy product, the Baby Brezza — baby’s first latte-making machine — really gave our readers a buzz.

baby-brezzaPhoto: Baby Brezza

Best “Frozen” Party
How many “Frozen” parties was your kid invited to in 2014? We’re willing to bet it was more than one. We were blown away by some amazing party plays on the smash hit Disney film, like this one thrown by a Marin Family.

frozen-party-spreadPhoto: Tony Mextaxas

Best Reasons to Play With Food
No doubt about it: Food is more fun when your kids actually eat it. We gave you ideas and seriously tasty recipes so you can get those dinner plates (or any plates, really) cleared. Red Tricycle writer Selena Kohng blew our minds with her incredible food art for kiddos … check out her crafty fox bagel! There were several are-you-kidding-me recipes we shared, especially treats like Cookies N’ Cream popcorn. And the sky was the limit when it comes to incredible edibles, especially Disney-themed cakes like Rapunzel’s Tower

Tangled Cake Photo: OC’s Kitchen

One More Reason to Love Jason Segel
Even if you didn’t need another reason to be a huge fan of celeb Jason Segel, we gave you yet one more. When he chatted up Red Tricycle about his new book trilogy, Nightmares!, we learned cool facts about what makes this modern Muppet master tick.

JasonSegelAuthorPhoto_CreditMichaelMuller_LoResPhoto: Random House Children’s Books

Best Perks of Being Preggo
Nevermind the little person kicking around inside your belly. We had the skinny on some of 2014’s best perks of being preggo. You won’t even miss wine (that much!) when sipping 9 Months Sparkling Beverage. And having a Build-Your-Own-Sprinkle Cupcake Party was one of the coolest party themes we wanted to re-create. As far as new gear went, making your designer bag your go-to diaper bag was one of the most unique things we saw year.

lifeandplayorganizer_bestof2014_national_redtricycle Photo: Life in Play

Coolest New Openings
There are always new and cool kiddie-themed spots opening up, and our resolution in 2014 was to share the very best with you. Whether you drove right over to Diggerland USA in New Jersey for some excavating, got to check out the Discovery Cube in LA for science fun, or checked out the brand-new Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, we gave your our insider tips to making the mostest of your outing.

Photo: Jeff Bogle

What new and cool things did you love in 2014? Share with us in the comments! 

— Gabby Cullen