Posted on 1 Comment

Why Do We Give Teddy Bears as Presents for Valentine’s Day?

teddy bear in gift bag for valentine's day

On Valentine’s Day, we want to show our partners just how much we love them. We plan a romantic dinner, get dressed up, and then pick out the perfect gifts. The standard Valentine’s Day gifts always include flowers, chocolates, and, of course, teddy bears. But why, exactly, do we give our partners teddy bears on Valentine’s Day? Read on to learn more:

They’re cute and cuddly

Ever since their invention in 1902, teddy bears have been beloved by Americans. They’re cute and cuddly and make the perfect gift for those we love. Because of these attributes, they immediately win the hearts of children and adults alike. Everyone smiles when they see a teddy bear, and while they’re often associated with children, their cuteness and cuddliness can easily translate into a romantic gesture for adults.

They’re long-lasting

Flowers last for a few weeks, and chocolate a few hours, but a teddy bear can last a lifetime. Your partner will always be reminded of your love for years to come. Plus, teddy bears can withstand quite a bit. Even if your partner decides to sleep with their new teddy, you can trust that the bear will last a long time.

They provide comfort

Much research has been done on the comforting and calming effects of stuffed animals. Even as adults, we find a sense of comfort from our teddy bears. Add in the fact that you will be giving the teddy bear and your partner will always find comfort and calm from this gift.

If you’re looking for the perfect teddy bear to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day, look no further than The Zoo Factory! Look through our website to get started!

Posted on Leave a comment

Are Tweens Too Old for Stuffed Animals?

Teen girl with teddy bear

Your child’s stuffed animals have been at their side for years. Everywhere they go, their stuffed animals go, too.  Now, suddenly, your child is on the cusp of their teenage years. Those once coveted animals seem like kid-stuff now, but does that mean your tween is too old for stuffed animals? Not necessarily.

Stuffed animals are a source for comfort at any age

No matter what age you are, sometimes you need something to cuddle with after a hard day. A stuffed animal can be a great source of comfort because it never talks back, doesn’t give bad advice, and is always willing to lend an ear.

Adults love stuffed animals too

Stuffed animals seem like kids’ toys, but even adults love them! There are a great number of adults that either sleep with or travel with a stuffed animal. They believe that their stuffed animal provides comfort, or in the case of traveling, reminds them of home and family. It can also be a source of nostalgia for those of us who long for our care-free child days.

A few stuffed animals is okay

Some tweens said it’s okay to be a teenager with a few stuffed animals; that there is something to be said for enjoying the friendship a little longer. But they warn about going overboard. Many believe that a few are okay, but once you reach the latter teenage years it’s time to calm down. They admit that stuffed animals are adorable, trustworthy and special because they are staples from childhood. But once you reach the border of teen and adult, it’s probably time to shelve the stuffed animals, save one or two.

Grow at your own pace

Tweens are encouraging other tweens to grow up at their own pace. Perhaps that’s a good lesson for everyone. Take the time to appreciate the things you have, including your stuffed animals. When you’re young, the world is new and fresh. Enjoying it with a stuffed companion is a great way to explore the world, one moment at a time. Don’t rush through life, even when you become a teenager. There will be time later on to grow up.

If you’re looking for a stuffed animal friend for your tween, The Zoo Factory is a great place to start. Look through our website to find their new best friend today!

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Parents Should Limit Their Screen Time

man staring at cellphone

Here at The Zoo Factory, we’ve talked a lot about how parents should limit their children’s screen time. But what about the time parents spend on their own screens? While children are particularly susceptible to screens, so too are parents. Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean that excessive screen time can’t harm our health or our ability to parent our kids. Here’s why:

You’ll struggle to balance work and family

Technology has blurred the lines between work and home. This is especially true now that many of us are working from home. However, if you’re “on call” for work at all times, you’ll have less time for your kids. At the end of the day, you need to put your phone down, turn your laptop off, and take a break from work for a little while.

You’ll seem disconnected

Children like to feel that you’re paying attention to them. However, if you spend all your time at home staring at your phone or watching TV, they won’t feel like you care about them. In fact, a recent study described how parents who spent more time using technology dealt with more attention-seeking behavior from their children.

Children copy what they see

Chances are that many of the behaviors your parents exhibited in your childhood are behaviors you repeat today. That’s because our parents are our primary role models as children. As a parent yourself, you will notice your own child copying what you do. So, if they see you constantly staring at a screen, they will replicate that behavior in their own life. Meanwhile, a parent who is engaged and spends a reasonable amount of time on their screens will exhibit healthier behavior.

While digital screens can be handy and fun, it’s important to make sure they don’t take over our or our children’s lives. Here at The Zoo Factory, we encourage all parents and kids to put their phones down for a little while and have some one-on-one interactions, preferably with one of our stuffable animals involved! To get started, look through our website today!

Posted on Leave a comment

Can Toddlers Learn from Screens?

toddler lying on floor staring at tablet screen

Many of us have sat our toddlers down in front of a TV or a tablet, hoping they’ll learn something as we go about doing chores and finishing tasks. But is this actually an effective way to teach our kids? A new study from Vanderbilt University suggests not.

About the Study

Researchers at Vanderbilt University conducted a study in October 2021 to determine if toddlers can learn from screens. In order to do so, they had toddlers take frequent selfies with their family and then look through those photos on the parents’ smartphones. They also had the toddlers look through photos that would help them find a hidden toy in the room.

The researchers hoped this would teach the children that digital photos can represent reality. However, the opposite occurred. The toddlers struggled to realize that the digital photos represented a real situation and could help them find the hidden toy.

Simply put, toddlers don’t understand that digital media can represent reality.

So how do toddlers learn?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that screens are useless. Digital games can teach your child skills such as problem-solving, and educate them on certain subjects such as history or math. However, these benefits are most often seen with older children. Toddlers, meanwhile, find more success learning from face-to-face interactions.

Screen-time balance

Should you ban your toddler from ever looking at screens? Absolutely not. Toddlers can still have fun watching videos and playing games. However, if you want to help educate them, then finding a good screen-time balance is key. Make sure your toddler doesn’t spend all day in front of a screen. Instead, spend some one-on-one time with your toddler chatting, playing, reading, and more. Free play is especially beneficial for kids to learn and let off some steam.

Stuffed animals can be a great play companion that can also help you teach your toddler some lessons too! Look through our website here at The Zoo Factory to find the perfect stuffed animal friend for your child.