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Big Brands Still Use Old-Fashioned Teddy Bears

Teddy Bear Christmas

In an age where remarkable digital toys and daring technologies surprise and delight kids of all ages, you may stop and wonder if good, old-fashioned toys still make an impact on children. The short answer is yes.

 Classic toys like the loveable teddy bear are still around and make popular choices for holiday gifts.

The proof is found in the marketing tactics of well-known brands this holiday season. An established retail chain took advertising with a teddy bear to the next level with their Canadian ad featuring a teddy bear that comes to life when the store closes.

The ad opens with the bear sitting on a shelf next to a wide variety of other, modern toys. Shoppers choose toys to place into their cart, but everyone seems to be avoiding the teddy bear. When the store closes and the lights turn out, the teddy bear magically springs to life, climbing down from the shelf to explore. We see the bear dress up in a rainbow wig and read a book, ride a fire truck, use a tablet, and eat about an abundance of ice cream.

When the store reopens, the teddy bear hops back onto his shelf to endure another day of shopping in the hopes of getting picked among the other toys. Luckily, on this day, a customer picks the bear off the shelf, and in the next scene we see a little girl unwrap the bear on Christmas morning. As she hugs the bear, her joy radiates from the screen and the words, “holiday magic starts with believing” appear.

By bringing a teddy bear to life, stores help recreate the appeal and warmth of teddy bears, making them inviting to children who already consider their stuffed animals as “alive.” The holidays are a time of magic and wonder, and using the classic teddy bear as an advertising tactic is a great way to show how old-fashioned toys still have their place in today’s digital world.

To gift your own teddy bear magic this season, shop at The Zoo Factory. Let your children make their own stuffed animal with our stuffable animal kits. Each child will experience an instant connection with their new stuffed friend with a birth certificate, unstuffed animal, wishing star and stuffing instructions so they can bring their pal to life.

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Unique Take on Stuffed Animals Coming to Life

Lots of Toys

Between their huge imaginations and their charming ability to turn everything into a game, children love the idea of their stuffed animals coming to life. Classic kid’s movies and cartoons present tales of animated toys, talking teddy bears, and children that can communicate with their toys.

Children see stuffed animals as their first and most loyal friends, and the ability to witness “life” in these treasured toys keeps children’s creativity alive. Pretending they can talk back allows children to play with their stuffed animals in the most inventive ways.

In today’s technological age, science found a way to bring stuffed animals to life through motion.

By using soft robotics, researchers at Yale University developed robotic skins that animate inanimate objects. Made with elastic sheets and full of sensors and actuators, the robotic skins can animate objects and make them perform different tasks. The skins help objects walk, move, or grasp and move another object.

The leader of the research and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio and her team developed the skins to use as soft robots with large implications. The idea is that researchers can use the robotic skins to wrap around deformable materials to create improvised robots for situations where they might prove helpful. For example, astronauts could use the skins in space to attach to objects and deploy for exploration.

Dubbed OmniSkin, the researchers wrapped the robotic skin around a stuffed horse’s legs to make it walk across a table, animating the stuffed animal in a new and exciting way.

These researchers, just like our children, are inventing unique ways to bring stuffed animals to life. Find your children a new stuffed friend from The Zoo Factory, your source for buildable, stuffable animals and dolls.

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How to Use Stuffed Animals in the Classroom

Small Child with Stuffed Bear

Stuffed animals can work wonders in a classroom full of young children, and we love the idea of incorporating them into an educational setting.

Here are a few of The Zoo Factory’s favorite ways that stuffed animals can be used in a classroom setting.

Consider a Class mascot

A cuddly and unique stuffed animal can make the perfect class mascot. Mascots create a sense of belonging, uniting everyone in the class and representing diverse classrooms as a solidified unit. Class mascots make kids excited to go to school every day, giving them something fun to look forward to. These special class heroes can increase classroom morale with minimal effort.

Create a Reading or Writing Partner

Stuffed animals serve as the perfect audience for reading and writing practice. Letting students read books out loud to stuffed animals allows them to practice reading comprehension and fluency while minimizing nerves. For editing help, have students write a few thoughts down and let them read these thoughts out loud to a stuffed animal to listen for writing mistakes. Reading with a non-judgmental stuffed animal causes an increase in confidence (and fun!) for young students.

Offer Recognition and Reward

Kids love positive recognition and rewards for appropriate behaviors and actions. Use stuffed animals in the classroom as a tool for rewarding students for following your classroom rules. For example, let a student that demonstrates good manners sit with a stuffed animal on their desk during class. If a student does a particularly good job with reading something out loud or mastering other course content, let them pick out a stuffed animal to carry around for the day.

There is no shortage of fun ways to use stuffed animals in the classroom! Find teddy bears, unicorns, sea creatures, farm animals, and more at The Zoo Factory.

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Surgeon Operates on Brave Teddy Bear

Even young children can encounter life challenges, facing ups and downs as they go. From small disappointments to large growing pains, children too face many battles. However, going through difficult times feels easier when you have someone to go through it with.

For many children, a favorite stuffed animal can help them get through tough situations, giving them confidence and bravery.

For 8-year-old Jackson McKie that stuffed animal is “Little Baby,” a stuffed teddy bear bringing Jackson comfort in his battle with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus has resulted in a build-up of fluid in Jackson’s brain cavities, meaning he needs small tubes or shunts in his brain to drain the fluid and release pressure.

As Jackson recently headed into surgery to get one of his shunts repaired, Little Baby was by his side ready to offer comfort after the procedure. However, Jackson noticed a small tear on Little Baby and asked his neurosurgeon, Dr. Daniel McNeely of IWK Health Centre, to fix up the stuffed animal during his own surgery. Dr. McNeely agreed and the little teddy bear was prepped for his operation.

Little Baby remained brave, and on a small side table, Dr. McNeely, dressed in full scrubs, used leftover stitches to patch up Jackson’s friend. Both Little Baby and Jackson made full recoveries, healing side-by-side.

Find your child their own brave companion at The Zoo Factory, where they can stuff, dress, and love a new lifelong friend.

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The Healthy Aspects of Attachments to Stuffed Animals

girl reading book teddy bear

As a parent, it can become overwhelming to feel the judgements of other parents.  People will likely lecture you, specifically as your children grow, on what types of items your children should be growing out of.

The Zoo Factory has highlighted how a child’s attachment to a stuffed animal is not as alarming as many parents believe.

Children are Less Shy with Attachments to Objects

When a child has an attachment to an object such as a teddy bear or blanket, they generally feel more brave and comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

As children develop attachments to comforting objects, they will learn to interact in a comfortable manner. A child doesn’t receive any judgments from a teddy bear which is why children often view them as “friends” and gain a sense of security from them, regardless of their age.

Increased Empathy in Social Situations

As children establish bonds with comforting objects such as teddy bears, they learn how to handle transitions along with unfamiliar environments. When a child has the comfort of a stuffed animal, it usually increases their overall empathy and helps them to understand other people’s desire to feel comfort. Children care deeply about their stuffed animals which helps them develop a sense of empathy for people as well.

As children grow into adolescence and adulthood, they will eventually let go of their beloved friend, but every child has their own schedule.

Do you recall a stuffed animal or blanket that you were really attached to? You might still even have it somewhere! The Zoo Factory has a variety of stuffed animals that might just be your child’s new best friend for life.

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Libraries Use Stuffed Animals to Encourage Young Readers

Teddy Bear Reading

At The Zoo Factory, we love to see the different ways parents and children appreciate stuffed animals in their lives. That’s why we were thrilled to read about the Somerville Public Library’s “stuffed animal sleepover” event that took place in late July. It incorporated two of our favorite things: our best fluffy friends, and the joy of reading.

If you hadn’t yet heard, a library outside of Boston, MA, hosted a “stuffed animal sleepover” bringing books and stuffed animals together.

What that meant was young readers were invited to drop off their stuffed animal at the library for a sleepover and could pick them up the next day. In the meantime, the librarians spent the evening arranging the stuffed animals in different settings, so it makes it look as if they’re watching a movie or playing toys with each other. The photos were then shown to the stuffed animals’ rightful owners.

The event was promoted to get children more involved in their local libraries. Time and time again, libraries are shown to be incredible sources of knowledge and fun for children, at virtually no cost to the parents. There, they can explore new worlds through books and literature, understand current affairs by examining the newspapers and magazines that are available, and take part in workshops made available to them.

This comes at a time when people are debating what libraries mean in 2018—and if the “stuffed animal sleepover” is any indication, the answer is: fun!

At The Zoo Factory, we are so delighted to see institutions like the local library use stuffed animals in an educative, appealing manner. It’s no surprise that the event drew widespread attention both on and offline. We offer our customers an extensive selection of figures and toys that would be perfect sleepover companions. Contact us today to learn more!

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These Fictional Bears Warmed Our Hearts and Our Childhoods

3 Children Reading

At The Zoo Factory, we like to say that we’re in the business of making memories. Each of us remembers when we were young and had a stuffed animal that was our best friend. That’s what we look to recreate for children, and hope that they, too, will feel as special as we did.

Many famous fictional bears were a crucial part of our childhood, establishing our love for teddy bears for years to come.

Winnie the Pooh

Why do we continue to love Winnie the Pooh so much? Maybe it’s his boyish charm, or his innate ability to love his friends (Christopher Robin, Piglet, even Eeyore) no matter what. Or maybe it’s the chance that he’ll likely fall into a jar of honey at least once while you’re watching. Since he premiered in the 1920s, Winnie the Pooh has captivated young audiences. And for good reason. In fact, a movie titled “Christopher Robin” was just released in theaters highlighting Winne the Pooh and his friends in 2018.

Paddington Bear

We recently found out that one day, a man named Michael Bond took shelter from the snow, and laid his eyes on a teddy bear at a store nearby Paddington Station, in London. He purchased the bear for his wife and was then inspired to write his first book featuring the character, Paddington Bear, a duffel-coat-wearing teddy who migrates from Peru to London to start a new life. He also loves marmalade sandwiches. The books written about this beloved bear eventually sold over 30 million copies.

Yogi

Ayyyy, Boo-Boo! A Warner Bros. classic, we had to give a mention to Yogi the Bear, who, along with his sidekick Boo-Boo, are on the hunt for picnic baskets, and fun. Yogi first appeared in 1958 on a show titled “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and his success spiraled from there. He was known to be “smarter than the average bear.”

These are just some of the fictional bears that we’ll remember forever, many of which continue to create new audiences with feature films, cartoons, and books alike.

At The Zoo Factory, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of make-your-own stuffed animals. With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, your child can pick out his or her new favorite friend and toy.

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Hospice Inspires Patients with Teddy Bears

girl hands holding a teddy bear

When a doctor diagnoses someone you love with a terminal illness, the next step is to find a facility that exists to serve his or her medical, physical, and social needs. Beyond this, those that need end-of-life care – as well as the supportive network of family members and friends they leave behind – also require emotional support to move through each tough, scary experience.

Hope is one of the best feelings a patient can focus on, as hope inspires people to believe they might get better. During times of restlessness, anxiety, depression, or sadness, hope is the shining light that people cling to for guidance. As the desire for a certain thing to happen, hope is a feeling of expectation that breeds optimism and positivity.

Notorious for bringing comfort and joy to people for over a century, teddy bears are a friendly symbol of hope and love to children and adults alike.

With their soft, soothing fur and welcoming, constant smiles, teddy bears generate feelings of contentment. Hugging a teddy bear brings instant feelings of warmth and gladness, taking away fear and pushing away negative emotions.

Capitalizing on these feelings of hope, Serenity Hospice in Peachtree City is using a teddy bear named Hope, created by public relations and marketing coordinator Erica Graham, to give patients a little joy in spite of their illnesses. By providing patients with the small, stuffed Hope bear when they arrive at the facility, Graham bestows a simple reminder upon each patient that they can find hope everywhere.

To demonstrate hope, Graham carries her own Hope bear on different journeys to show that you can truly find hope in any stage of life. By taking the bear on adventures, Graham uses a combination of humor and messaging to help patients get through difficult times.

Teddy bears do wonders for those needing a little optimism and hope. Give your own gift of hope to someone who could use some cheering up by sending him or her a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory, where you can stuff, dress, and love a new friend.

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Tips on Donating Stuffed Animals

Donation box with Stuffed Animal

Stuffed animals provide love, hope, and joy to children of all ages; however, many children only receive stuffed animals and other toys through donations.

Donating stuffed animals is a great way to provide hope to a child in a tough situation and The Zoo Factory has some tips on how to make a successful donation.

Help Your Child Understand

While you might have the best intentions, your child might not understand why you are giving away their stuffed animals to a stranger. Although decluttering your home sounds inviting, your child might need some time to understand why it is important to donate.

Have a conversation with your child about the concept of charity. Explain how their older stuffed animals will help make another child happy and how important that is. Help your child be involved in the process of donating and let them help you pick the best place to send their stuffed animals.

How to Find Teddy’s New Home

Selecting where to donate stuffed animals will depend on where you live. However, many towns have similar locations for donating stuffed animals, just do some research to find the best place in your area.

Look into what local thrift stores allow stuffed animal donations. Many foster care agencies also appreciate more toys for their children. Depending on where you live, you can also consider donating to children’s hospitals, women’s homeless shelters, and school counselors. You might even consider doing to animal shelters for old, worn out stuffed animals.

Hashing out Policies and Logistics

When looking for the best location to donate your stuffed animals to, don’t be afraid to ask some questions about donation policies. Too often well-intentioned donations end up in the trash due to unfollowed policies.

For example, if a place typically serves infants, you’ll need to consider age-appropriate safety in terms of pieces that come off your stuffed toys.

You should also consider the logistics of your donation such as the best times to donate. Will your location accept one stuffed animal, or do you need to donate in groups? Should you drop off the items in bags or boxes? These questions will help you know the best way to make your donation count.

The Zoo Factory offers stuffable animals perfect for helping your child bring their next best friend to life. Purchase several stuffed animals with The Zoo Factory and have your child create several stuffed animals to donate as well.

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How the Internet Helped Reunite Little Girl with Beloved Stuffed Animal

Children take their stuffed animals friends everywhere, and if for some reason they accidentally leave that friend behind or lose them, it is often devastating.

Stuffed animals quickly become the best friends of our children, who pick their favorite cuddly toy and view it as a treasured companion.

Recently we learned about a little girl named Pheobe Simpson, who lost her favorite stuffed lion named Roar on a train during a surprise trip to London, according to an article in the Independent. A woman named Lauren Bishop Vranch discovered the stuffed toy on the train and posted a picture on Twitter to try to find the lion’s owner via her followers.

According to The Meta Picture, Lauren first tried to give Roar to the employees at the train station, but found out he would end up pretty far from where he was lost if they kept him. So, she opted to take Roar with her, updating her Twitter account with pictures and status updates while using #lostbear in the hopes of finding the owner. While Lauren had Roar, she took him on some exciting adventures documented via her Twitter account, including to a hotel, to a cozy pub, and even to Northern Stage Newcastle to see a show.

A Facebook group called Spotted: On the Train picked up the photo and posted a status about helping to reunite Roar with his owner. The photo featured a picture of Roar with a note explaining how he was lost and where Lauren found him.

Over time, Pheobe’s father Ben saw the photo. Lauren was able to mail Roar the lion, which she originally thought was a teddy bear, back to Ben to reunite him with Pheobe, who was overjoyed at having her best friend home.

Dozens of soft, fun animals await your children at The Zoo Factory, offering stuffable animals perfect for helping your child bring their next best friend to life. Let your children build their favorite toy and capture a unique memory with this all-inclusive gift!