The Zoo Factory

Stuffable Animals

  • That Time Luis Tiant Was Traded for 500 Teddy Bears

    In baseball, a player is typically traded for one of two things: another player, or a prospect. It’s not usually teddy bears. Usually. But in 1989, the three-time All-Star pitcher Luis Tiant was traded for a whopping 500 teddy bears (as well as outfielder Ralph Garr). Here’s how the trade went down:

    Luis Tiant and the Senior Professional Baseball Association

    Luis Tiant was a starting pitcher in the MLB for 19 years, pitching primarily for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. During those 19 years, he was a three-time All-Star, a 20-game winner for four seasons, and he ended his MLB career with a 229-172 record. He retired in 1982, and 7 years later he joined the Senior Professional Baseball Association, a short-lived winter league for some of the MLB’s former stars.

    The Trade

    Tiant entered the SFBA as a player for the Winter Haven Super Sox, but just before the season began, he was traded away to the Miami-based Gold Coast Suns for, you guessed it, 500 teddy bears and outfielder Ralph Garr. However, these weren’t just any ordinary teddy bears—they were Ruxpin bears, mechanical teddy bears that 80s kids will likely remember. If you put a cassette tape inside the bear, he would read to you, his eyes moving in a slightly disturbing fashion.

    Why 500 Teddy Bears?

    There were two reasons why a legendary pitcher was traded away for 500 Ruxpin bears. The first reason was because the Gold Coast Suns’ owner, Russell Berrie, was in the novelty-toy business. The second reason, and likely the main reason, was because the Suns wanted to use some of the bears as part of a giveaway to entice fans. However, it wasn’t particularly successful. The game drew fewer than 300 fans.

    But what did Tiant think of the trade?

    “It’s okay. I don’t mind. I just wanted to go closer to Miami.”

    In that, it was 500 teddy bears well-spent.

    We may not be able to offer you 500 teddy bears for your star pitcher, but we at The Zoo Factory have plenty of teddy bears for you to choose from, no baseball players required. Take a look through our inventory to find your new best friend today.

  • 4 Ways to Sleep Better

    You’re lying in your bed, staring at the ceiling. The time is 2am. You’re tired, but no matter what you do, you simply can’t fall asleep. You toss and turn for another few hours, somehow getting a few moments of rest here or there, before your alarm finally tells you it’s time to get up and start the day.

    If this sounds familiar, then you’re certainly not alone. Plenty of Americans struggle with getting a proper night’s sleep, and in most cases, it’s because they’re not practicing the right bedtime techniques. So if you find yourself tossing and turning each night, then read over these tips for getting a better night’s rest.

    Set a sleep schedule and stick to it

    The key to a better night’s sleep is consistency. As much as you may enjoy sleeping in on the weekends, it can ruin your body’s internal clock. So pick a time to go to bed and wake up, and then stick to it each day.

    Give yourself time to wind down

    One of the reasons why you’re not falling asleep is because you’re not giving your body and mind enough time to wind down. You won’t be falling asleep if you’re still stressed about things that happened earlier in the day. Even watching TV or reading on our smartphones can have an adverse effect on our sleep. So shut off the TV, put away your smartphone, and instead curl up with a book roughly an hour before bedtime.

    Use light effectively

    Light impacts our circadian rhythm, so use it to your advantage. Avoid it in the evenings to tell your body it’s time to sleep, while expose yourself to it in the morning as a sign that it’s time to wake up.

    Sleep with a comfort object

    In order to sleep, you need to be relaxed. A good way of doing this is having a comfort object to sleep with. This could be a blanket (weighted ones are especially good for our sleep), a special pillow, or a stuffed animal.  Whatever your comfort object, it can provide a sense of security and ease that will allow you to sleep undisturbed throughout the night.

    At The Zoo Factory, we believe every person could benefit from sleeping with a beloved stuffed animal. Need one for yourself? Then check out all of our cuddly stuffable animals that are sure to help you get a better night’s rest.

  • 5 Ways to Destress During National Wellness Month

    The month of August is considered National Wellness Month, a time for people to focus on self-care and learn new techniques to better manage their stress. In honor of National Wellness Month, then, we’ve put together a quick list of ways you can destress from your hectic lifestyle.

    Exercise

    Countless studies have proven how physical activity can boost your mode and help you unwind. This doesn’t mean you have to go out running if you hate running. Instead, find an activity that you enjoy—like walking or playing soccer—and stick with that.

    Meditate

    Just a few minutes of mindfulness each day can drastically change your mood and stress levels. Plus, meditation can be done anywhere, at practically any time, such as when you’re out for walk, when you’re sitting at your desk, when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, and more.

    Eat Well

    Your diet impacts your mood. As much as we may love our ice cream sundaes, eating them everyday can have a serious impact on our health. However, by eating the right foods and taking in the right nutrients, you’ll have the energy to take on whatever life throws at you, including stress.

    Go on vacation

    Sometimes you need to completely unplug and get away from everything that stresses you out. While a multi-week getaway may not be possible for everyone, even just getting away from the office for a few days will help.

    Cuddle with a pet or stuffed animal

    Both animals and stuffed animals have been proven to help relieve and reduce stress, starting as early as childhood. There’s something about the comfort of cuddling with your pet or stuffed animals that automatically makes us feel calmer. While not everyone can have a pet, everyone can have a stuffed animal. So if you want to destress this month, consider getting a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory!

  • Tips For Throwing A Successful Stuffed Animal Party

    As your little one is approaching their next birthday, you want to start thinking of a theme and a fun activity that everyone will enjoy. A stuffed animal party would be a wonderful option to choose this year. At The Zoo Factory you can throw a party with 8-inch, 16-inch, or themed stuffed animals. As you prepare for your child’s next birthday, we have a few tips for throwing the party of the year!

    Have enough stuffed animals for everyone

    If a child RSVP’s that they cannot come and shows up randomly at your door, you want to make sure that they can be included in the day’s activities. Accidents can always happen, especially with young children around. We recommend having a couple extra animals on hand, just in case there is any sort of mishap!

    Have a variety of stuffed animals to choose from

    When it comes to choosing stuffed animals, having a variety of options on hand is always best! Every child is different, so give them a chance to show off their individuality with plenty of different stuffed animal options to choose from. Remember, all girls don’t like ponies and all boys don’t love frogs. Have some different options for the kids to choose from so no one goes home disappointed.

    Play stuffed animal-inspired games

    Once each child has their own stuffed animal, then it’s time to have some fun. Put together some games for the children to play, such as hide and seek or an animal fashion show. If you’re short of ideas, then check out one of our most recent blog posts about the different kinds of games kids can play with their stuffed animals.

    Have fun!

    There is a lot that goes into planning a great birthday party, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun! This is an exciting and special day for your child, one that will stand out in their memory for years to come. Relax and enjoy yourself and the smiles on all of the kids’ faces as they celebrate your little one’s big day.

    Start planning your stuffed animal party with The Zoo Factory today! View our party packages online and search our site for animals that your kids will love.

     

  • Why It’s OK to Bring Your Stuffed Animal to College

    Leaving home for the first time can be a scary experience. As a result, the first year of college is often one of the toughest there is. So when you’re packing your things for college, consider bringing your stuffed animal along with you. Here’s why:

    They help with homesickness

    Dropped in a new environment far away from the things and people you know, it’s completely normal to feel a little homesick. Bringing along pieces of home, though, can help ease those emotions and make them easier to handle. Stuffed animals are perfect for this, as they’re not only reminders of home, but also of all of the good memories from throughout your life.

    They’re great for emotional support

    The first year of college is tough. You not only have to deal with homesickness and a new environment, but also the everyday stresses that school can bring (exams, drama, etc.). Being able to return to your dorm and hug your teddy after a bad day will help you get through whatever you’re having to deal with.

    They’re cute dorm decoration

    Let’s face it, dorm rooms aren’t exactly the height of luxury. Therefore, filling your dorm with cute objects like stuffed animals will make your dorm feel more comfortable and homier (two things that will also help with homesickness).

    They’re conversation starters

    Cute or unique dorm decoration also make great conversation starters. It’s something that people will naturally gravitate to and ask questions about, so it can help if you’re struggling with making friends.

    So before you head out for college, be sure you bring along a stuffable friend to keep you company. And if you don’t have a stuffed animal on-hand, then be sure to check out the stuffable animals here at The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals for you to choose from that are sure to help you during those first few weeks of college.

  • Stuffable Animals Donated to the Ronald McDonald House

    Stuffable animals mean a lot to kids, especially those in need. That’s why we at The Zoo Factory are so proud that our stuffable animals were used in a recent event and donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Learn more below!

    We Work Well

    We Work Well is a series of events that promote overall health, happiness, and productivity in the modern-day workplace. At their recent event in Pasadena, California, in between yoga sessions and group activities, We Work Well participants made their own Zoo Factory stuffable animals and donated them to the Ronald McDonald House. Not only was this great community service, but it was also a fun and relaxing activity for the attendees of the We Work Well event.

    Ronald McDonald House

    The Ronald McDonald House serves families with sick children, allowing them to stay together and close to the medical care they need. The stuffable animals from the We Work Well event were donated straight to the Ronald McDonald House, and will go to the children and family that could use the comfort of a stuffable friend more than anyone else.

    If you want to learn more about this event, or about how stuffable animals can be a part of your event, check out the video of the We Work Well event below!

  • How Children Benefit from Playing with Teddy Bears

    Whether your child is just learning to walk or is conquering their first year of elementary school, they are sure to have a favorite toy. It may be a doll or an action figure, but more likely than not it’s a stuffed teddy bear.

    Why? It may have to do with the many benefits that a stuffed teddy bear friend can provide. From word recognition to emotional discovery, these benefits begin when your child is a baby and continue on throughout their school years.

    Practice life skills

    Playing with teddy bears and other stuffed animal friends allows our children to practice life skills. They are constantly learning, role playing with their stuffed animals and teaching them how to perform tasks like brushing their teeth and getting dressed for school.

    Socialization

    Teddy bears also provide an early form of socialization. Whether your child is having a tea party with all their favorite stuffed animals or is the teacher in a school filled with fluffy rabbit, dog and teddy bear students, there are endless opportunities to learn good behavior. And if your child is particularly shy, a teddy bear can help them make new friends.

    Teaches them about other animals

    Even as our children get older, introducing them to wild and exotic stuffed animal friends - like crocodiles, hippos and gorillas – is a way to inspire learning. When they have a new and unique animal hanging out with them every day, they are sure to want to learn more about the creatures and its habitats!

    If we’ve convinced you of the real benefits a stuffed teddy can bring to your child, then be sure to check out all of the stuffable teddy bears that we at The Zoo Factory have to offer. If you’re not, convinced, however, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns!

  • Why Dogs Love Stuffed Animals

    There’s nothing cuter than a dog nestling up with their favorite stuffed animal. Many dogs have a great affection for stuffed animals, much like we do, but why is that the case?

    It’s in their genes

    Different dog breeds exhibit different character traits towards stuffed animals based on their ancestors. Dogs traditionally used for hunting and carrying game, such as Labradors or other Retrievers, have a genetic drive or instinct to hunt or prey on smaller animals. In that regard, carrying around a stuffed animal is very similar to carrying around their prey.

    Dogs form attachments to their stuffed animals

    You don’t have to be a human to play games with a stuffed animal. Dogs, too, enjoy playing around with them simply because it’s a fun thing to do. This causes our dogs to form an attachment to their stuffed animal as they would with any of their favorite toys. They may even believe they’re taking care of the toy like they would a puppy.

    A stuffed animal reminds our dogs of us

    Pets are intelligent and can make connections between special moments with their favorite toy and happy memories of you. Giving your dog a new toy makes them happy, symbolizing a special moment that impacts your pet in a unique way, and because they love and respect you, they choose to love and care for the toy as a result. This is likely why our pets attempt to play with us when playing with their toys.

    Looking for a stuffed animal for your dog? With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, The Zoo Factory can help you find the perfect stuffed animal for your dog, or for someone else in your family.

  • Fun Games Kids Can Play with their Stuffed Animals

    A stuffed animal is great for many things—sleeping, traveling, companionship, and, of course, playing. Whether it’s for a party or a typical Sunday afternoon, here are some games your child can play with their beloved stuffed animal:

    Animal Hospital

    Grab a toy doctor kit and let your child try on the stethoscope for a change with a game of animal hospital. Throw in some real-life medical supplies like bandages or band-aids to give it a realistic feel. Or, if you don’t want to waste medical supplies, you can always use toilet paper in lieu of bandages.

    Teddy Bear Picnic

    It doesn’t just have to be teddy bears, of course, but hosting a picnic for your stuffed animals is always tons of fun. Make a day of it by inviting other children and their stuffed animals, and be sure to have plenty of treats to go around. You can also bring books, frisbees, or other activities along, too.

    Animal Fashion Show

    If your child’s stuffed animal has lots of outfits, then encourage them to get on the runway with an animal fashion show. Invite friends so that their stuffed animals can join in and then award prizes for things like cutest, funniest, silliest, etc.

    Hide and seek

    Grab all of your stuffed animals and sit your child down. Tell them to cover their eyes and count to 100 as you hide each stuffed animal somewhere in the house. Then let your child go and find them—and make sure there’s an award at the end of it!

    As fun as all of these games can be, they can’t be done without a trusty stuffed animal sidekick. So if your child is in need of a stuffed animal of their own, then check out The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals to choose from, as well as tons of outfits if you want your stuffed animal to get in on an animal fashion show!

  • How to Pick the Perfect Stuffed Animal for Your Child

    Kids love stuffed animals; it’s why they make the perfect gifts. However, there are a lot of options when it comes to stuffed animals, and as a result, a lot of decisions to make. Choosing the right one can be difficult, so read over some of these tips so that you can get the perfect stuffed animal for your child.

    Consider your child’s age

    Buying a stuffed animal for a baby is different than buying one for a child. If you’re buying for a baby, you need to make sure that the stuffed animal is safe for their age, meaning it should have nothing a baby can chew on or swallow. A stuffed animal for an older child, on the other hand, should be meant for playing, traveling, and sleeping with, so make sure it’s durable.

    Think about your child’s interests

    You want your child to play with the stuffed animal, so getting one that aligns with their interests is usually a good step. Do they love dinosaurs? Then get a stuffed dinosaur. Horses? Get a stuffed horse. If they don’t have a favorite animal, you can always get a stuffed animal with a special outfit. For example, if your child loves Spider-Man, then get a stuffed animal that’s dressed up just like Spidey.

    Make it an experience

    Often times, the experience is what makes something special. Picking out a stuffed animal together will be something your child will remember for the rest of their life, so don’t feel like you need your gift to be a surprise just for it to be special. To add an extra touch, you can buy one that you and your child can make together. The experience of putting together a stuffed animal from one of The Zoo Factory’s stuffable animal kits, for instance, will create a fun and lasting experience that can form an instant connection between your child and their new friend. Look through our inventory to get started!

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