The Zoo Factory

Stuffable Animals

  • Big Brands Still Use Old-Fashioned Teddy Bears

    In an age where remarkable digital toys and daring technologies surprise and delight kids of all ages, you may stop and wonder if good, old-fashioned toys still make an impact on children. The short answer is yes.

     Classic toys like the loveable teddy bear are still around and make popular choices for holiday gifts.

    The proof is found in the marketing tactics of well-known brands this holiday season. An established retail chain took advertising with a teddy bear to the next level with their Canadian ad featuring a teddy bear that comes to life when the store closes.

    The ad opens with the bear sitting on a shelf next to a wide variety of other, modern toys. Shoppers choose toys to place into their cart, but everyone seems to be avoiding the teddy bear. When the store closes and the lights turn out, the teddy bear magically springs to life, climbing down from the shelf to explore. We see the bear dress up in a rainbow wig and read a book, ride a fire truck, use a tablet, and eat about an abundance of ice cream.

    When the store reopens, the teddy bear hops back onto his shelf to endure another day of shopping in the hopes of getting picked among the other toys. Luckily, on this day, a customer picks the bear off the shelf, and in the next scene we see a little girl unwrap the bear on Christmas morning. As she hugs the bear, her joy radiates from the screen and the words, “holiday magic starts with believing” appear.

    By bringing a teddy bear to life, stores help recreate the appeal and warmth of teddy bears, making them inviting to children who already consider their stuffed animals as “alive.” The holidays are a time of magic and wonder, and using the classic teddy bear as an advertising tactic is a great way to show how old-fashioned toys still have their place in today’s digital world.

    To gift your own teddy bear magic this season, shop at The Zoo Factory. Let your children make their own stuffed animal with our stuffable animal kits. Each child will experience an instant connection with their new stuffed friend with a birth certificate, unstuffed animal, wishing star and stuffing instructions so they can bring their pal to life.

  • Unique Take on Stuffed Animals Coming to Life

    Between their huge imaginations and their charming ability to turn everything into a game, children love the idea of their stuffed animals coming to life. Classic kid’s movies and cartoons present tales of animated toys, talking teddy bears, and children that can communicate with their toys.

    Children see stuffed animals as their first and most loyal friends, and the ability to witness “life” in these treasured toys keeps children’s creativity alive. Pretending they can talk back allows children to play with their stuffed animals in the most inventive ways.

    In today’s technological age, science found a way to bring stuffed animals to life through motion.

    By using soft robotics, researchers at Yale University developed robotic skins that animate inanimate objects. Made with elastic sheets and full of sensors and actuators, the robotic skins can animate objects and make them perform different tasks. The skins help objects walk, move, or grasp and move another object.

    The leader of the research and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio and her team developed the skins to use as soft robots with large implications. The idea is that researchers can use the robotic skins to wrap around deformable materials to create improvised robots for situations where they might prove helpful. For example, astronauts could use the skins in space to attach to objects and deploy for exploration.

    Dubbed OmniSkin, the researchers wrapped the robotic skin around a stuffed horse’s legs to make it walk across a table, animating the stuffed animal in a new and exciting way.

    These researchers, just like our children, are inventing unique ways to bring stuffed animals to life. Find your children a new stuffed friend from The Zoo Factory, your source for buildable, stuffable animals and dolls.

  • How to Use Stuffed Animals in the Classroom

    Stuffed animals can work wonders in a classroom full of young children, and we love the idea of incorporating them into an educational setting.

    Here are a few of The Zoo Factory’s favorite ways that stuffed animals can be used in a classroom setting.

    Consider a Class mascot

    A cuddly and unique stuffed animal can make the perfect class mascot. Mascots create a sense of belonging, uniting everyone in the class and representing diverse classrooms as a solidified unit. Class mascots make kids excited to go to school every day, giving them something fun to look forward to. These special class heroes can increase classroom morale with minimal effort.

    Create a Reading or Writing Partner

    Stuffed animals serve as the perfect audience for reading and writing practice. Letting students read books out loud to stuffed animals allows them to practice reading comprehension and fluency while minimizing nerves. For editing help, have students write a few thoughts down and let them read these thoughts out loud to a stuffed animal to listen for writing mistakes. Reading with a non-judgmental stuffed animal causes an increase in confidence (and fun!) for young students.

    Offer Recognition and Reward

    Kids love positive recognition and rewards for appropriate behaviors and actions. Use stuffed animals in the classroom as a tool for rewarding students for following your classroom rules. For example, let a student that demonstrates good manners sit with a stuffed animal on their desk during class. If a student does a particularly good job with reading something out loud or mastering other course content, let them pick out a stuffed animal to carry around for the day.

    There is no shortage of fun ways to use stuffed animals in the classroom! Find teddy bears, unicorns, sea creatures, farm animals, and more at The Zoo Factory.

  • Surgeon Operates on Brave Teddy Bear

    Even young children can encounter life challenges, facing ups and downs as they go. From small disappointments to large growing pains, children too face many battles. However, going through difficult times feels easier when you have someone to go through it with.

    For many children, a favorite stuffed animal can help them get through tough situations, giving them confidence and bravery.

    For 8-year-old Jackson McKie that stuffed animal is “Little Baby,” a stuffed teddy bear bringing Jackson comfort in his battle with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus has resulted in a build-up of fluid in Jackson’s brain cavities, meaning he needs small tubes or shunts in his brain to drain the fluid and release pressure.

    As Jackson recently headed into surgery to get one of his shunts repaired, Little Baby was by his side ready to offer comfort after the procedure. However, Jackson noticed a small tear on Little Baby and asked his neurosurgeon, Dr. Daniel McNeely of IWK Health Centre, to fix up the stuffed animal during his own surgery. Dr. McNeely agreed and the little teddy bear was prepped for his operation.

    Little Baby remained brave, and on a small side table, Dr. McNeely, dressed in full scrubs, used leftover stitches to patch up Jackson’s friend. Both Little Baby and Jackson made full recoveries, healing side-by-side.

    Find your child their own brave companion at The Zoo Factory, where they can stuff, dress, and love a new lifelong friend.

  • Teddy Bears Can Help Kids Get Ready for Bed

    While some children embrace nighttime routines and willingly hop into the bath, other kids struggle with the concept and will do anything to postpone shutting their eyes.

     The Zoo Factory has some suggestions on how to get your children ready for bed if they typically struggle, including how to incorporate their teddy bears!

    Set and Stick to a Bedtime Routine

    Children thrive on routines because they set expectations. Create a fun bedtime routine with your child and include some activities that make them excited about bedtime. Start with a bath that includes some entertaining games, directly followed by changing into a set of pajamas of your child’s choosing. Have them pick them out ahead of time so you’re not wasting time looking for the “right pair.”

    Reading one book or listening to one song is another easy thing to incorporate into a routine. Choosing a favorite activity will help children look forward to bedtime.

    Consider Teddy Bear Backup

    Grab your child’s favorite teddy bear and have your child change it into pajamas during your child’s bedtime routine. The Zoo Factory has several different pajamas sets perfect for fuzzy friends.

    While you help your child change into pajamas, they can help their teddy bear do so.  Children tend to imitate, so they might be excited to change into their pajamas if their favorite stuffed animal is as well.

    Create a Game

    Most children love games and making bedtime into a game  can help some children enjoy the experience. Once you have an established routine, add in some activities to make it more fun. Time how long it takes your child to get through their bedtime routine, and on a night that it seems to be dragging, have them try and beat the time. Consider changing into your own pajamas with your child and “race” to see who can change the fastest.

    Don’t be afraid to offer small prizes when bedtime goes as planned such as stickers, a stuffed animal for consistent good behavior, and so forth.

    Find teddy bear outfits for any occasion with The Zoo Factory. We offer pajamas, sports outfits, dance outfits, costumes, vests, sunglasses, and more.

  • Why Pets Loved Stuffed Animals Like We Do

    Growing up, our first best friend was likely our favorite stuffed animal. We all carried around our teddy bears, stuffed dogs, stuffed cats, and more. We all carried our treasured stuffed animals through life to help us tackle tough times and sleep through the night.

    As children, we really love and cherish our stuffed animals and we see similar patterns of behavior when it comes to our pets.

    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 retriever breeds, enjoy carrying around stuffed animals in their mouth because the feeling is familiar.

    Dogs that are passionate about playing fetch or chasing things also enjoy the playful aspect of stuffed animals. Stuffed animals rip apart easily and many dogs enjoy it because it triggers that “hunting” instinct that they can’t help but satisfy.

    Pets Plays Favorites

    Both dogs and cats have “that one toy” that seems to be their favorite, but what makes a certain stuffed animal a “favorite” for your pet? Many different reasons could explain why your pet might like one stuffed toy the most, from the size and smell to the shape and texture.

    Your pet probably also enjoys how that specific toy makes them feel or they might believe they are taking care of the toy like they would care for a puppy or kitten. Pets create attachments to their favorite stuffed animals and associate them with mothering, playfulness, or relaxation.

    Our Pets Love Us

    Pets are intelligent and can make connection between special moments with their favorite toy and happy memories of you. Giving your dog or cat a new toy makes them happy with you, symbolizing a special moment that impacts your pet in a unique way.

    Perhaps because you gave your pet a stuffed animal 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!

    Stuffed animals bring a tremendous amount of joy to us and to our pets, providing everyone with comfort and love.

    Looking for a stuffed animal for a loved one? With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from,  The Zoo Factory likely has your child’s new favorite friend and toy.

  • The Healthy Aspects of Attachments to Stuffed Animals

    As a parent, it can become overwhelming to feel the judgements of other parents.  People will likely lecture you, specifically as your children grow, on what types of items your children should be growing out of.

    The Zoo Factory has highlighted how a child’s attachment to a stuffed animal is not as alarming as many parents believe.

    Children are Less Shy with Attachments to Objects

    When a child has an attachment to an object such as a teddy bear or blanket, they generally feel more brave and comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

    As children develop attachments to comforting objects, they will learn to interact in a comfortable manner. A child doesn’t receive any judgments from a teddy bear which is why children often view them as “friends” and gain a sense of security from them, regardless of their age.

    Increased Empathy in Social Situations

    As children establish bonds with comforting objects such as teddy bears, they learn how to handle transitions along with unfamiliar environments. When a child has the comfort of a stuffed animal, it usually increases their overall empathy and helps them to understand other people’s desire to feel comfort. Children care deeply about their stuffed animals which helps them develop a sense of empathy for people as well.

    As children grow into adolescence and adulthood, they will eventually let go of their beloved friend, but every child has their own schedule.

    Do you recall a stuffed animal or blanket that you were really attached to? You might still even have it somewhere! The Zoo Factory has a variety of stuffed animals that might just be your child’s new best friend for life.

  • Playing Dress-Up Offers Many Developmental Benefits

    Children often learn through play which has a direct effect on their development. The Zoo Factory encourages growth through play and as such, we love to explore it.

    We have highlighted a few ways that children can benefit from dressing up and letting their imagination run wild.

    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.

  • Libraries Use Stuffed Animals to Encourage Young Readers

    At The Zoo Factory, we love to see the different ways parents and children appreciate stuffed animals in their lives. That’s why we were thrilled to read about the Somerville Public Library’s “stuffed animal sleepover” event that took place in late July. It incorporated two of our favorite things: our best fluffy friends, and the joy of reading.

    If you hadn’t yet heard, a library outside of Boston, MA, hosted a “stuffed animal sleepover” bringing books and stuffed animals together.

    What that meant was young readers were invited to drop off their stuffed animal at the library for a sleepover and could pick them up the next day. In the meantime, the librarians spent the evening arranging the stuffed animals in different settings, so it makes it look as if they’re watching a movie or playing toys with each other. The photos were then shown to the stuffed animals’ rightful owners.

    The event was promoted to get children more involved in their local libraries. Time and time again, libraries are shown to be incredible sources of knowledge and fun for children, at virtually no cost to the parents. There, they can explore new worlds through books and literature, understand current affairs by examining the newspapers and magazines that are available, and take part in workshops made available to them.

    This comes at a time when people are debating what libraries mean in 2018—and if the “stuffed animal sleepover” is any indication, the answer is: fun!

    At The Zoo Factory, we are so delighted to see institutions like the local library use stuffed animals in an educative, appealing manner. It’s no surprise that the event drew widespread attention both on and offline. We offer our customers an extensive selection of figures and toys that would be perfect sleepover companions. Contact us today to learn more!

  • These Fictional Bears Warmed Our Hearts and Our Childhoods

    At The Zoo Factory, we like to say that we’re in the business of making memories. Each of us remembers when we were young and had a stuffed animal that was our best friend. That’s what we look to recreate for children, and hope that they, too, will feel as special as we did.

    Many famous fictional bears were a crucial part of our childhood, establishing our love for teddy bears for years to come.

    Winnie the Pooh

    Why do we continue to love Winnie the Pooh so much? Maybe it’s his boyish charm, or his innate ability to love his friends (Christopher Robin, Piglet, even Eeyore) no matter what. Or maybe it’s the chance that he’ll likely fall into a jar of honey at least once while you’re watching. Since he premiered in the 1920s, Winnie the Pooh has captivated young audiences. And for good reason. In fact, a movie titled “Christopher Robin” was just released in theaters highlighting Winne the Pooh and his friends in 2018.

    Paddington Bear

    We recently found out that one day, a man named Michael Bond took shelter from the snow, and laid his eyes on a teddy bear at a store nearby Paddington Station, in London. He purchased the bear for his wife and was then inspired to write his first book featuring the character, Paddington Bear, a duffel-coat-wearing teddy who migrates from Peru to London to start a new life. He also loves marmalade sandwiches. The books written about this beloved bear eventually sold over 30 million copies.

    Yogi

    Ayyyy, Boo-Boo! A Warner Bros. classic, we had to give a mention to Yogi the Bear, who, along with his sidekick Boo-Boo, are on the hunt for picnic baskets, and fun. Yogi first appeared in 1958 on a show titled “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and his success spiraled from there. He was known to be “smarter than the average bear.”

    These are just some of the fictional bears that we’ll remember forever, many of which continue to create new audiences with feature films, cartoons, and books alike.

    At The Zoo Factory, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of make-your-own stuffed animals. With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, your child can pick out his or her new favorite friend and toy.

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