The Zoo Factory

Stuffable Animals

  • 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!

  • 4 Ways to Store and Display Your Stuffed Animal Collection

    Your stuffed animal collection is something to be proud of, but even we admit that all those stuffed animals can have a downside—namely, they can take up a lot of space. The quickest solution is just to shove them all into a box, but then no one will see them. Instead, try some of these storage tricks to both keep your room clean and display your stuffed animals proudly:

     

    A toy hammock

    A quick and easy way to store your stuffed animals is to set up a hammock in the corner of the room. This will keep the stuffed animals well out of the way, but also within sight. For young children, keep a step stool somewhere close so that they can grab them if the need arises, and if you find one hammock isn’t enough, then set up another in another corner of the room.

    Shelving

    Shelves are great for storing and displaying lots of things, stuffed animals included. You can have one long shelf at the top of your room, or multiple smaller shelves along the wall. Just make sure the shelves are deep enough for your stuffed animals to fit (and stay) up there.

    Baskets

    Big or small, baskets are a neat way (literally) to collect and display all of those stuffed animals. Get some colorful baskets with a design that goes well with the room. Then just put them in the corner on the floor, or on a shelf. Bigger stuffed animals should go towards the bottom of the basket, while smaller ones should go up top.

    A hanging bench

    If you want to get really creative, you can always make your own hanging bench. It’s surprisingly simple to make, only needing wood, hooks, and some rope, and you can customize it all you want. The three-tiered design will give you plenty of space to store all of your stuffed animals.

    With these ideas, you should now be able to show off your stuffed animal collection while also keeping your room nice and clean. And if you’re wanting to grow that stuffed animal collection of yours, then take a look at The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we have all sorts of stuffed animals for you or your child to choose from.

  • How to Clean Your Old Stuffed Animals

    Your old teddy has been with you through thick and thin. New schools, new jobs, new places, you’ve brought that teddy with you everywhere. Maybe you’ve even passed it on to your son or daughter, who has proceeded to take teddy with them on their own adventures. But the years have taken a toll on ol’ teddy, and he just doesn’t look as good as he did all those years ago. If that’s the case, it really is time to give him a good cleaning, not just for your own sake (as stuffed animals can easily become germ magnets) but for his sake too. Here’s how:

    Hand-washing stuffed animals

    You may groan at the idea of hand-washing something, but it really is the safest route for your stuffed animal. Especially if they have glued-on items, delicate clothing, or are a few decades old, you should really be hand-washing them. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

    Step 1: Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and detergent

    Step 2: Wash using a pumping motion

    Step 3: Let it soak for 30-60 minutes depending on its condition

    Step 4: Rinse until free of suds

    Step 5: Squeeze out any water and let it dry on a towel, using a hair dryer to fluff up the fur

    Machine-washing stuffed animals

    If you determine that your stuffed animal can be safely machine-washed, then the process is pretty straight-forward. Just follow these tips to help your stuffed animal come out in one piece:

    • Use the gentlest cycle on your washing machine
    • Use cold water and mild detergent
    • Place it into a mesh bag if possible
    • Let it air-dry on a towel, using a hair dryer to fluff up the fur

    And voila! Your old friend looks just like new.

    But as much as you love your old teddy, you can never have too many stuffed animals. If you feel like your teddy could us a new companion, then stop by The Zoo Factory to see all of the stuffable animals that we offer!

  • How Teddy Bear Clinics Are Changing Doctors’ Appointments

    Many children hate going to the doctors. Adults don’t like it much either, but for children the doctors’ office is filled with a lot unknown, scary things. Unfamiliar faces, strange equipment, and painful shots are just a few of the things they have to deal with at their annual checkup. No wonder, then, that our children often scream and cry throughout their appointment. However, a recent trend is aiming to change that.

    What are teddy bear clinics?

    Across the country, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and children’s programs have started hosting annual “teddy bear clinics”—a place to take your favorite teddy to get their annual check-up, just like you or your child would.  They go through the usual routines, talking with nurses, getting their shots, and checking their heart all with the child standing beside them, even helping. Some clinics even have the children perform the procedures themselves, and once it’s over, the teddy bear gets its diagnosis and heads home with any recommendations on how to improve their health.

    How do they help?

    So what’s the point of these clinics? Part of it is to have fun, another part is about the general health and safety of your child.

    They ease the fear of doctors’ appointments

    Teddy bear clinics offer a chance for children to get familiar with what happens at a doctor’s office.  All of those scary people and shots don’t seem so scary anymore when children see them up close in a friendly environment with their favorite teddy bear at their side.

    They teach healthy habits

    As their teddy gets their check-up, the children will also learn more about exercise, proper nutrition, and other healthy habits that they can practice in their daily lives. The more they learn, the better off they’ll be in terms of their health.

    Here at The Zoo Factory, we care deeply about the health of our children and our teddies. And if your child is looking for a new best friend, then take a look at all of the teddy bears—and other stuffable animals—that we provide. Just be sure they get their annual check-up!

  • Why It’s OK to Have a Stuffed Animal as an Adult

    Stuffed animals are often thought of as children’s toys that you discard once you’re older. When an adult does admit to having one, they’re often shamed for it, but it’s not something to be ashamed of—far from it. As it turns out, stuffed animals can actually help adults live healthier and happier lives.

    Stuffed animals ease anxiety

    Adulthood can be hectic, especially if you’re in your 20's and just getting on your feet. It involves a lot of anxiety as you’re trying out new jobs and new places. Stuffed animals, however, due to our nostalgic and sentimental attachment to them, can bring a sense of security, easing all those pent-up, negative emotions and even helping us behave better.

    They give us company

    I think we can all agree that a stuffed animal is more than just a toy. Just like our pets or friends, we get attached to them, no matter our age. They provide us comfort when we need it most, and friendship when it’s in short supply. In adulthood this can be especially the case, but our old teddy can help with that, giving us company and something to care for.

    Lots of adults still sleep with a stuffed animal

    We pretend like keeping our stuffed animals into adulthood is strange, but it’s actually much more common than we realize. According to a 2017 study, 40% of adults in America still sleep with a stuffed animal at their side every night. So if you’re one of them, then you’re in good company.

    At The Zoo Factory, we believe that you’re never too old for stuffed animals. Take a look at our stuffable animals to bring a new friend into your home today.

  • The Story Behind the Real Winnie the Pooh

    We all grew up on the tales of Christopher Robin and his beloved Winnie the Pooh, but did you know that Winnie the Pooh was based off of a real-life bear? Meet Winnie, the bear cub that joined a Canadian brigade and met Christopher Robin at the London Zoo.

    Winnipeg Bear

    Harry Colebourn was a veterinarian tending horses in the First World War. He was on his way to Quebec to join his fellow soldiers heading overseas when, while waiting for his train, he came across a young bear cub for sale. Buying the cub for a grand total of $20, Colebourn named it “Winnipeg Bear” after the town he grew up in—although most just called the cub “Winnie” for short. Winnie went with Colebourn to Quebec, and later to England where Colebourn was stationed.

    The Brigade’s Mascot

    Upon arrival in England, Winnie soon fell-in with the rest of Colebourn’s troop, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. She became the mascot for the brigade, and soldiers often played with her whenever they had downtime. However, when word came that the brigade was heading to France, Colebourn was ordered not to bring Winnie with them. As such, Colebourn loaned Winnie to the London Zoo.

    Winnie Meets Christopher Robin

    Winnie became a popular animal at the London Zoo. She was so tame that children would ride on her back and feed her sweets. This was where the young Christopher Robin and his father, A. A. Milne, first met Winnie. They soon became frequent visitors, and Robin named his own teddy bear after Winnie, combining it with the name of a friend’s pet swan, Pooh, to come up with the name Winnie the Pooh. Inspired, A. A. Milne would publish Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, basing the character off of his son’s teddy bear.

    Teddy bears, and other stuffed animals, are wonderful sources of inspiration, both for you and your child. Get yours today at The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals for you to choose from!

  • The Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals

    When we travel, it’s a chance to see the world. That’s true for humans, but now, thanks to a Japanese travel company, it’s also true for our stuffed animals.

    How it started

    It all began with a handmade eel named Unagi. It belonged to Sonoe Azuma, eventual founder of Unagi Travel, the Japanese travel agency dedicated to stuffed animals. Azuma had Unagi ever since she was a little girl, and when she got older, she began taking Unagi with her on trips. She took photos and posted them to her blog which “made my friends smile and made me smile,” she said. “I thought it was a fun and creative way to share my daily life.”

    After a while, Azuma’s friends asked if they could bring Unagi with them on trips as well. And, just like Azuma, they took photos of Unagi enjoying the sights, sometimes having it pose beside famous landmarks. The trips made Azuma realize that the idea of sending our beloved stuffed animals on their own vacations could appeal to more people. So, in 2010, she started Unagi Travel.

    How it works

    After placing an order, you simply send your stuffed animal to Unagi Travel and they handle the rest. Once received, your stuffed animal friend will enjoy all the sights and events of Tokyo and Kamakura. They might attend a TED Talk, or maybe they’ll visit Historic Asakusa. Wherever they go, your stuffed animals are sure to have a fun time.

    A trip that’s instaworthy

    You don’t have to worry about being kept out-of-the-loop on your stuffed animal’s vacation. Unagi Travel posts photos of the stuffed animals every day on their social media accounts, showing them at different sites or attending different events, and allowing you to follow along on your stuffed animal’s adventure.

    Unagi Travel is a fun experience both for your stuffable friend, and for you and your child. So once you’ve received your new best friend from The Zoo Factory, why not send them on a trip? It’ll be a vacation of a life-time.

  • How the Teddy Bear Got Its Name

    We all love our favorite teddy bear, but why exactly do we call them ‘teddy bears’? And why did people start making them in the first place? Turns out, it’s all thanks to a certain U.S. President and a hunting trip gone wrong.

    Theodore Roosevelt’s Hunting Trip

    On November 14, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, went on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi. The trip didn’t go well. The group of hunters had spent three days in the wilderness tracking bears, only to come up empty. Finally, on the fourth day, Roosevelt’s hunting guide, Holt Collier, managed to track down an old, tired bear. Tying it to a tree, he went back to the President and encouraged him to shoot it. Finding this very unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused, and went home empty handed.

    A Political Cartoon and a Candy Shop

    News spread about the incident, prompting Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, to draw a cartoon satirizing Roosevelt in the Washington Post. Two candy shop owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, saw the cartoon and had an idea. Rose had been making and selling stuffed toys in their shop for years, but she had never made a stuffed bear. The cartoon inspired her, so Rose made two stuffed bears and put them in the store window. Morris even asked for Roosevelt’s permission to call them “teddy bears,” since the President was often called “Teddy” by friends. Roosevelt loved the idea, as did the public, and they became an instant hit.

    Over a hundred years later, teddy bears have become a staple of American culture, and no child should be without one. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable teddy bears to choose from, so take a look!

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