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The Benefits of Dress-Up Play

Two sweet little preschool children, boys, playing superhero in the park, summertime

Did you know that playing dress-up can actually be extremely beneficial to your children? It does! Dress-up is more than a fun game to play with your kids. It can also teach your kids to respect others, build their vocabulary, and more. Read on to learn more.

See the world through other viewpoints

When children play dress-up, they learn valuable ways in which others contribute to our lives. Perhaps a child is playing the role of a mother and has a crying baby to nurture, or maybe they’re pretending to be a policeman and stopping “the bad guys.” This sense of imagination allows children to learn empathy through having to see alternative viewpoints and respond to them accordingly.

Building blocks for a diverse vocabulary

When children play through dress-up, they begin to explore terms, phrases and words that are often inclusive to the role they are playing. These strengths can develop through hearing certain words in books and transferring them into the role they’re playing where children will eventually use them in daily conversations.

Confidence building

For children, dressing up and having theatrical elements to their play can greatly impact their overall confidence. Self-expression is incredibly helpful when building self-confidence, and this is just another way we can allow children to develop that skill. What child doesn’t feel on top of the world while dressed up as their favorite super hero?

If your child loves playing dress up, consider purchasing some outfits for one of their Zoo Factory stuffed animals so that the two can play dress up together! Visit our website for a wide selection of outfits.

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How to Encourage Mental Resiliency in Your Kids

family holding hands in front of sunset

As parents and caregivers, we know at some point, our children will have to deal with adversity. One way to do that is to encourage mental resiliency in our kids. But how do you go about doing that? Here are some tips to help:

Role model

Children model their behavior after us. If we show mental resiliency in the face of our own difficulties, our children will start to mimic that behavior. Additionally, talk with your children about your personal goals and challenges, and how you’ve overcome challenges in the past.

Help then control their emotions

Resilient people often have good control over their emotions. This does not mean that they do not feel their emotions, but rather they don’t let their emotions overwhelm them. Mindfulness is a great technique to help your children control their emotions. Mindfulness practices teach you how to be aware of your emotions, but not let them overcome you.

Build up their self-confidence

Children who are more confident in themselves can be more resilient. They’ll know that a few setbacks do not reflect their overall ability. Work with your kids to build up their self-esteem, independence, and self-confidence. A big part of this is encouraging healthy self-talk. Help your kids reframe their negative thoughts into more realistic ones so that they are not bombarding themselves with put-downs or catastrophic thinking.

For more tips on how to care for your kids, read through our blog posts today!

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How Stuffed Animals Help Kids with Autism

young girl sitting on bed with stuffed animals

If you have a child with autism, then you know how difficult some days can be. Naturally, you want to find ways to make things easier on your child. As it turns out, stuffed animals can be one of these ways. While a stuffed animal is never a replacement for therapy or other doctor-prescribed treatments, they can help alleviate the typical symptoms associated with autism. Here’s how:

Stuffed animals are great comfort objects

Whether they’re four years old or forty, many people with autism are easily overwhelmed by the noise and chaos of everyday life. That’s why they often turn to comfort objects that can provide security and some sensory regulation. Stuffed animals can fulfill this role particularly well as they can be held, cuddled, and even weighted to provide children with a sense of calm.

They can teach play skills

Studies have shown that autistic children play differently than non-autistic children. They often lack specific play skills such as imitation skills or symbolic play (or pretend play) skills. Instead, they’ll engage in more solitary, repetitive play. Stuffed animals can be useful tools when teaching these valuable play skills through various therapeutic approaches.

They can help children practice social skills

Children with autism often struggle with social and communication skills. While they have the desire to interact with others, they usually don’t know how or get overwhelmed when they’re around new people. A stuffed animal, however, can help your child practice those much-needed social skills so that they’re more confident when dealing with other children.

A stuffed animal may not be the silver bullet, but it can certainly help your child get through each day a little easier. Here at The Zoo Factory we have plenty of stuffable animals that will be perfect for your child. Look through our inventory or contact us today.

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Parenting Tips for Helping Your Child Through Their Preteen Years

preteen girl holding school books

Parenting is difficult no matter what age your child is. However, the preteen years pose unique challenges. During these years, children enter puberty and start to experience the emotional and physical changes associated with it.

To help, we’ve gathered some helpful parenting tips to guide your child through their preteen years.

Educate your kids about puberty

Puberty can seem scary to children, but it doesn’t have to be. The more your children learn about puberty, the better able they will be to handle what’s coming. Chances are they will learn some things in their Health class at school, but it’s always good to talk with your child yourself to see if they have any other questions.

Allow your child some independence

Their preteen years is often when kids start looking to be more independent. While this can be hard for parents, it’s best to allow your children extra independence as they get older. This may also include letting your child explore new interests and hobbies. Be supportive and try not to control what hobbies they participate in.

Help your preteen learn new skills

As your children gain more independence, they should also gain more responsibilities. Your preteens should start helping out around the house, and to do this, they’ll need to learn new skills such as doing laundry, cleaning, and more.

While your child will certainly change as they go through their preteen years, some things will stay the same. That includes the love they have for stuffed animals. To find the perfect stuffed animal for your preteen, look through our website today!