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How to Choose a Toddler Bed

toddler sleeping in bed with stuffed animal

If your child is finally outgrowing their crib, then it’s time to start looking at toddler beds. However, the transition from a crib to a toddler bed is not always easy. Children may be reluctant, or they may not like their new bed. But by narrowing down your choices and choosing the right toddle bed for your child, you can make the transition easier. Here’s how to get started:

Safety Features

When it comes to our kids, safety is always at the top of our minds. A toddler bed should keep your child safe and sound as they sleep. As such, any toddler bed you choose should have guardrails that resemble a crib, rather than solid plane guardrails. This will prevent pillows and bedding from getting trapped. Additionally, a toddler bed should sit low to the ground to allow easy exit and entry. Some toddler beds, known as Montessori-style beds, have the mattress at floor level to make it as easy as possible for your child.


To better help your child transition from a crib to a toddler bed, it’s best to get a bed that most closely resembles a crib. This means getting the right guardrails (see above) and keeping the general look and feel similar to the crib your child has been using. However, if your child gets excited about a different style of bed, then don’t be afraid to try something new.

Making the transition

Some toddlers have a hard time transitioning from a crib to a big-kid bed. After all, their crib gives them a sense of security. Having the new bed appear and feel similar to your child’s old crib as we mentioned above can help. You can also give your child the extra comfort that a security blanket or stuffed animal can provide. Finally, be sure to keep your child’s bedtime consistent so it’s easier for them to fall and stay asleep.

The comfort of a stuffed animal can help your child sleep better even after they’re used to their new big-kid bed. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable animals that your child will love. Look through our website today to get started!

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Why You Should Gift Stuffed Animals to Babies and Toddlers

toddler sitting with stuffed animals

As infants, we almost immediately form bonds with our parents and family members. However, as we explore the world, we also start to form bonds with other people and other things. Our stuffed animals, for instance, can become life-long companions and sources of comfort.  The bonds we form with our stuffed animals is why they are some of the greatest gifts we can give to newborn babies or toddlers. However, that isn’t the only reason you should gift your newborn baby with their own stuffed animal. Read on to learn more:

Why should you get your baby a stuffed animal?

When you gift an infant a stuffed animal, you may not know it, but you are teaching them about the world. Stuffed animals can be used to classify different animals, such as reptiles and aquatic creatures. Not only do these toys introduce your baby or toddler to the animal kingdom, but they can also help them process and understand human emotion and sensory details such as texture and color.

What to look for in your baby’s first stuffed animal

When choosing your baby’s first stuffed animal, you will want to keep a few things in mind. Try to avoid animals with long fur or removable parts, as babies can easily choke on these. Also. if the act of gifting a stuffed animal is sentimental to you, you may want to opt for a stuffed animal that your toddler can hold onto once they are of preschool age. At this age, your child is beginning to develop more of an active imagination, and will most likely want to interact with their stuffed animal more, even simulating real-life scenarios and mimicking emotions.

At the Zoo Factory, we encourage everyone to get a lovable stuffed animal of their own, whether you’re 3, 15, or 67! We’re never too young or too old to connect with our inner child. Look through our online inventory today to get started.

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How to Donate Old Baby Items

stuffed animal sitting next to donation box

The holidays are the season of giving. That doesn’t just mean giving gifts to our loved ones; it also means giving back to the community. One way we can give back is to donate old baby items we are no longer using. As parents, we understand how expensive raising children can be. So, donating your old baby items can seriously help some families that have fallen on hard times.

Here we explain how, where, and what old baby items you can donate this holiday season.

What to donate

Before you start throwing everything you have into the donation bin, stop for a moment to see what you’re actually donating. First off, there are some items you may want to keep for sentimental reasons or if you’re planning on having another child down the road. Secondly, there are some items that donation places will not accept. Used bottles, expired car seats (yes, car seats have an expiration date!), or used crib mattresses are a few items that should not be donated.

Below are items that you can donate to your local charity:

  • Baby clothes
  • New diapers and/or wipes
  • Car seats that are not expired
  • Cribs that are safety compliant
  • Unused baby food or formula
  • High chairs
  • Bouncy seats
  • Walkers
  • Baby toys

Where to donate

Now that you have set aside some items to donate, it’s time to pack them up. But where exactly can you take them? Here are a few ideas:

  • Thrift Stores: Community non-profits such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take your old baby items and sell them at a deeply discounted price.
  • Baby Banks: These are non-profit organizations that are basically just like food banks except for baby items.
  • Religious Centers: Many religious organizations, no matter their affiliation, will take old items and donate them to people in need.
  • Social Media: Many parenting groups on social media will help spread the word on organizations or individuals in need of baby items.

Here at The Zoo Factory, we hope all kids and families have a happy holiday season. For more child caring tips, read through our blog today!

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How to Buy the Perfect Gift for Your Niece or Nephew

adult handing christmas present to young girl

Buying a gift for your niece or nephew can be challenging. Kids are not afraid to tell you when they don’t like something, and as soon as they rip open your gift, their face will let you know right away whether you hit the mark or not.

Here are a few ways to ensure you nail that present and leave your tiny relatives grinning from ear to ear.

Pay Attention to Their Interests

When you spend time with your niece or nephew, what are they talking to you about? What show do they keep quoting or what superhero is on their T-shirt? To guarantee a perfect gift, you need to know their interests. Many people blindly roam the toy aisle and have no idea what character or sport their niece or nephew likes. Keeping a mental note of what they are currently obsessed with will save you a good amount of time on your hunt for the best gift.

Get Interactive Gifts

Instead of getting your niece or nephew a toy car or something they will play with once and forget about, get them a gift they must put together and interact with. Kids appreciate the toys that they helped bring to life and create. Gifting your niece or nephew their favorite stuffed animal that they get to help build is a great way to guarantee a genuine love and appreciation for your gift.

Take Them Somewhere

Make their present an adventure. Kids love going places, especially with their favorite aunt or uncle. For their gift, explain that you are taking them to their favorite place. It could be the zoo or aquarium or maybe even a toy store. You can make a whole day out of it and let them pick out their gift. Kids know what they want. If you surprise them with a trip to a toy store, they will pick out exactly what they desire, and both parties leave happy.

When buying a present for your niece or nephew, you need to put thought into it. You can’t just buy a generic child’s toy and expect to get a standing ovation. The best way to nail the gift is to make it something you can do together, whether that’s giving life to a stuffed teddy bear or taking them to their favorite place. If all else fails, asking them what they want will guarantee an informative answer.