From pint-sized starts to tween heartthrobs and big-screen vampires, these are the top 12 stories that captured kids' hearts in 2012. -- Compiled by Jennifer Berger and Beth Whitehouse
12. Superheros take center stage
Superhero action figures and other toys based on movie blockbusters such as "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" hit toy shelves this year.
Top toys for boys
Pictured: Batman The Dark Knight Rises U-Command Bat-Pod (Thinkway Toys).
11. Girl Scout badges get a modern makeover
This year marked the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, and the organization revamped and created 136 badges. New badges include Comic Artist, Digital Moviemaker, Geocacher, Eating for Beauty, Netiquette, Website Designer, Good Credit, Car Care and Cookie CEO.
New badges for the modern Girl Scout
Pictured: Junior Girl Scout Brianna Bourne, 9, of East Meadow. (Jan. 11, 2012)
10. Dolls for kids with cancer
Toy companies responded to pleas from parents of kids going through chemotherapy to create dolls that look like them -- for instance, the Bratz and Moxie dolls came out with six bald-but-beautiful dolls in 2012.
Bald dolls for kids with cancer
9. Backing off bullies
Celebrities and athletes such as Ray Rice, NFL running back for the Baltimore Ravens and teen pop star Rebecca Black, raised awareness for National Bullying Prevention Month by designing T-shirts. A slew of anti-bullying books geared to tweens and teens were published including "How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying," written by Scott Starkey, a Hicksville fifth-grade teacher.
Long Island teacher writes bully book
8. Handicap-accessible playground opens
A $1.25 million playground, Let All the Children Play, opened in Eisenhower Park. The two-acre playground has traditional equipment, such as merry-go-rounds and swings, modified to accommodate children with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
Special-needs playground opens on Long Island
Pictured: Danielle Marino, left, and Grace Darcy, in harness swings. (April 23, 2012)
7. Prom proposals get creative
Popping the prom question became as elaborate as some marriage proposals as students across Long Island asked their dates through flash mobs, singing telegrams and by embedding questions into language tests.
Popping the prom question on Long Island
Pictured: Katelyn Postiglione, 16, and Jimmy Ferraiolo, 17, from Huntington High School, are shown near the school. Ferraiolo painted the rock to ask Postiglione to the junior-senior prom. Ferraiolo's father gave his son the idea to paint the rock.
6. Write on!
Lemony Snicket, also known as Daniel Handler, chose the Carle Place Barnes & Noble for the nationwide kickoff of his new series, “All the Wrong Questions,” the first he’s penned since his popular “A Series of Unfortunate Events” came to an end. Jeff Kinney debuted his seventh “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book in 2012, called “The Third Wheel.”
Lemony Snicket comes to Long Island to launch new kids book series
5. Online apps become real-life toys
The biggest toy trend of 2012? Melding of popular online apps such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja with plush, games and other toys. Other examples include: Collectible monster cards that let users tap the iPad to beam them into an online game (Monsterology NUKO), an app that enhances the play of the traditional Life board game by becoming the spinner and showing related videos and a toy car's speed and direction are remote-controlled by an iPad app (Appfinity).
Toy trends of 2012: The year of the app
4. All things Disney
For the first time, the Disney Cruise Line set sail out of Manhattan in the summer of 2012, making stops in Florida and the Caribbean. In December, Walt Disney World celebrated the grand opening of the new Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, the largest expansion in the 41-year history of the theme park.
New Fantasyland officially opens in Orlando
3. One Direction ruled
British boy band One Direction continued to soar in popularity among kids in the United States with their 2012 album “Take Me Home” selling millions of copies and 2013 concert dates selling out up to a year in advance.
Jingle Ball ruled by One Direction, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, fun
Pictured: One Direction performs during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in Olympic Stadium, London. (Aug. 12, 2012)
2. Teen movies, last and first
The last movie in the “Twilight Saga” series, “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” came out in 2012. But never fear, tweens and teens have a new big-screen passion: 2012 also launched the first movie of “The Hunger Games” trilogy.
A parents' guide to "Hunger Games"
"Twilight" moviegoer: Forget the book.
1. The rise of Honey Boo Boo
"Toddlers & Tiaras" television star Alana Thompson got her own spinoff on TLC this year called "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," which follows the antics of her rural Georgia family.
The future looks bright for Honey Boo Boo child