The Zoo Factory

Stuffable Animals

  • All About Stuffed Animal Therapy

    September is National Recovery Month, a time meant to educate Americans on substance use treatment and mental health services. That’s why we at The Zoo Factory wanted to celebrate National Recovery Month by spreading the word about the benefits of stuffed animal therapy to those in need.

    What is stuffed animal therapy?

    With pet therapy, dogs or other animals help people recover from and manage their mental illnesses. Stuffed animal therapy works in similar ways. The comfort brought by a stuffed animal can soothe people after a traumatic event and can provide companionship when they need it most.

    It helps people cope with trauma

    Stuffed animals are often given to young children after a traumatic event like a car crash or surgery. Why? Because cuddling with a stuffed animal can often calm children down. The texture of the stuffed animal is comforting, and just the feeling of having a friend close by will help kids who feel isolated after a traumatic event.

    It provides companionship

    Many mental health issues can stem from a feeling of loneliness. Stuffed animals, however, can be a constant companion to someone in need. Even if you have days where you’re struggling to get out of bed, seeing your stuffed animal beside you may be exactly what you need to step out and get ready or the day.

    You’re given something to care for

    Just as stuffed animals can act as our companions, they’re also something that we can care for day in and day out. By being responsible for something, you’re given a purpose to get up and do your daily routine each day.

    Needless to say, stuffed animals can be a great source of comfort to the people who need it most. So, if you or someone you know is going through some hard times, consider getting them a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory.

  • How to Name Your Stuffed Animals

    When we get a new stuffed animal, we automatically begin to form an attachment. As a result, we often like to give our stuffed animals names in order to feel closer to them. For some, this is easy, but for others it can be an agonizing decision, almost like naming a pet. So, if you or your child is struggling to come up with a name for a new stuffable friend, then read over some of these tips to finding the perfect name:

    Consider your toy’s features

    Take a good look at your stuffed animal. Is it fluffy? Does it have a big head? Is it a teddy bear or a dinosaur? The features of your stuffed animal will help you find some inspiration for finding the right name.

    Keep it simple

    You don’t want a long and complicated name for your stuffed animal—you might find yourself forgetting it—so keep it short and sweet. If you really do want a longer name, then consider using a nickname that you can regularly use.

    Name it after someone or something

    Do you have a person or something you admire? Then feel free to name your stuffed animal after them! It’s a touching tribute, plus it’ll ensure that you always remember the name. You can even shorten the name of someone. For example, if someone you know is named Michael, then name your stuffed animal Mike or Mikey.

    Don’t overthink it

    At the end of the day, it’s best not to overthink the name you give your stuffed animal. While you may want something special and unique, there’s nothing wrong with naming your stuffed animal “Fluffy” if that’s the first thing that pops into your head. Sometimes the names that come naturally are the best ones to use, so feel free to go with your gut when it comes to naming your stuffed animal.

    Looking for a new best friend for yourself or you child? Then take a look at the stuffable animals brought to you by The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we’re sure you’ll find the right friend—and the right name—for you.

  • The Best Stuffed Toys from the 80s

    Kids today have smartphones, tablets, and a whole array of fancy gadgets for them to fiddle with. Not so much for kids of the 80s. If you’re an 80s kid, you likely had a very different childhood—one that included toys like the Cabbage Patch Kids or Ruxpin Bears. Certainly not smartphones (unless playing with your parents’ Motorola counts). So today, we at The Zoo Factory are taking a trip down memory lane to see all of the different toys 80s kids grew up with.

    Cabbage Patch Kids

    We can’t talk about the 80s without including the Cabbage Patch Kids. While some people thought these dolls were ugly, the mass majority of Americans were buying them in bulk. Every kid in the 80s was dying to have a Cabbage Patch Doll, and parents caused riots in order to get their hands on one of them.

    Care Bears

    These adorable, colorful bears were originally designed for greeting cards in the early 80s, but by 1983 they were turned into teddy bears, followed by a TV series that ran until 1988. Each Care Bear had a symbol on its belly that corresponded to its name and ability from which it drew its powers. There were even Care Bear Cousins which could be other animals like lions, rabbits, or dogs.

    Pound Puppies

    Pound Puppies (and their kitten counterparts Pound Purries) were extremely popular in the mid to late 80s. They came in an assortment of colors and each Pound Puppy or Purry came with their own cardboard carrying case and adoption papers. Similar to Care Bears, Pound Puppies also had their own TV show featuring several puppy characters.

    Teddy Ruxpin

    For some, Ruxpin bears were adorable, for others, they were downright creepy. No matter your opinion on Ruxpin bears, though, no one can deny how popular they were in the 80s. They were so popular, in fact, that a legendary baseball player was traded for 500 of them.

    80s kids have grown up, and many of their favorite toys are no longer around, but that doesn’t mean your own children can’t enjoy a stuffed toy of their own. If you’re looking for the perfect stuffed toy for your child, then take a look at our selection here at The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we have plenty of stuffable animals that your child is sure to love!

  • Buying the Best Stuffed Animals for Any Age

    Stuffed animals become well loved and treasured family members to a child. Even many adults still have their favorite stuffed teddy or kitty from their youth, and often these animals are passed down from one generation to another as beloved heirlooms. But all stuffed animals are not appropriate for all ages and there are a few things to take into consideration before gifting one of these childhood joys.

    Ages 0-2

    Very young children between the ages of 0-2 years of age require stuffed toys that have nothing that can be accidentally swallowed. This means no lights, noise makers, or clothing. The animal should be small enough to be comfortably held by the child, and brightly colored for attention and interest. The hair should be short so that it can't be chewed and swallowed, and it should also be washable.

    Ages 3-12

    For children ages 3 and up, look for some of the child’s favorite animals. Never get a stuffed toy that the child might be scared of. You should buy a stuffed animal that has some longevity, as this will likely be the toy that sticks with your child through most of their childhood. Also, keep in mind what kind of storage is available in the home where the child lives. Very large stuffed animals are unique and fun, but most children like to be able to easily hold and often sleep with the animal.

    Ages 12+

    Even adult’s love stuffed animals. Buying a dear friend a replacement for a beloved stuffed animal that has been lost or is in an irreparable state can be a very thoughtful thing to do. Not to mention that stuffed animals can help us relax and sleep better at night.

    If you're looking for a stuffed animal for your child, friend, or even yourself, then take a look at our selection here at The Zoo Factory. With plenty of animals to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect stuffed animal for your needs.

  • 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!

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