Kids and Stuffed Animals

  • Toys that Enhance a Child’s Imagination

    Children have amazing imaginations and their ability to play pretend and think up stories is inspiring. For many children, role-playing and creativity is often sparked through play.

    Playing with different types of toys can help to fuel a child’s imagination, helping them to become more innovative and imaginative.

    Playing with Costumes

    When children play dress-up, their imaginations run wild! When playing dress-up, children can take ordinary clothes and turn them into fantastical stories. Playing with costumes allow children to dress up as superheroes, historical figures, doctors, movie stars, animals, and more. Playing with costumes allow children to “become someone else” in a matter of minutes, resulting in endless hours of fun. Save some of your old clothing, such as shoes, purses, and ties, that could work perfectly for a costume!

    Playing with Art Supplies

    Give a child (washable) colorful markers and watch them create new worlds and amazing ideas. Playing with art supplies trigger a child’s imagination allowing them to put their thoughts and dreams into something real and tangible. Art is the perfect platform for allowing children to explore their personal creativity. Children just love to get messy with glitter, glue, stickers, and paints! Here are some tips on an easy clean up!

    Playing with Toy Cars

    The concept of traveling to new and unseen places can heat up a child’s imagination. Children relate vehicles with trips to school, to the park, to grandma’s house, to the beach, and more. Children love going places and experiencing new things and they often associate cars with that concept. Playing with toy cars, buses, and trains give children the opportunity to take trips in their minds.

    Playing with Stuffed Animals

    Playing pretend often starts with your child’s first stuffed animal, which they will love and adore like a true friend. Stuffed animals, such as teddy bears, can kick-start your child’s imagination because they will often treat their furry friend as a real person. Stuffed animals can benefit children of all ages.

    Encourage your child’s imagination with a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. Children will love the idea of building their very own stuffed animal and making it on their own.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Little Teddy Bears Take a Big Adventure

    Teddy bears serve many great purposes. They give us a friend to hug and love, they are great sleeping partners, and often times, they can be used to raise awareness for a good cause.

    Students in Indiana recently raised a lot of money using teddy bears, and in the process, the teddy bears got to have a lot of fun.

    Forty students from the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) recently made headlines when they each jumped out of a plane with a teddy bear along for the ride, all in the name of boosting the spirits of the kids at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana.

    The plan was simple or so they say. The 40 students each took their own teddy bear and loaded into an airplane. Once they were in full flight (13,000 feet in the air), each student jumped out of the plane with a teddy bear in tow.

    Why you may ask?

    Well, they wanted to give the brave children at the hospital a brave teddy bear to keep by their side, and after jumping out of a plane and falling towards the ground at 120 mph, each bear was then considered the “Bravest Bear in the World.” These bears were then presented to the “Bravest Kids in the World.”

    This is the fourth year that these students have had this event and not only does it produce brave bears, but over the years, they have raised many millions of dollars for the hospital with 75 percent of that money going to research and 25 percent going to clinical care. All for a cause that is 100 percent for the children.

    It is so refreshing these days to have young people who are so compassionate about those in need, and these kids are really dedicated. As event organizer Matt Arnold has said, “Looking out of the door of the plane at 13,000 feet, knowing you are going to jump out is scary, but when you think about these kids are going through, it’s a lot scarier. This program puts it all in perspective.”

    At The Zoo Factory, we also take pride on putting smiles on children’s faces, and that is why we offer a comprehensive selection of stuffed animals and stuffable animal kits so each child can make their own customized best friend to accompany them through thick and thin. Check out our site to see our grand selection.

  • The Evolution of Stuffed Animals

    At the Zoo Factory, it’s no surprise that we love stuffed animals. We think they’re great for people of all ages as a safe, healthy, and fun toy that everyone can enjoy. And clearly, we’re not alone: stuffed animals have been loved by people for centuries.

    Let’s take a trip in time to see where stuffed animals came from, and how people came to love them in the first place.

    The Early Stuffed Animal The Evolution of Stuffed Animals

    Did you know that civilizations around the world have been making some form of a stuffed animal since the beginning of recorded history? Actually, it was the Romans in as early as 300 BC who are first credited with creating the rag doll, which were made with fabric scraps and filled with straw. These were mostly enjoyed by poorer children, who were unable to afford the pricier toys of the day.

    The Modern Stuffed Animal

    There are really two instances where the stuffed animals that we know came about. The first is the stuffed elephant created by Margarete Steiff in 1880, who first produced the toy based on a pattern she read in a magazine. She eventually started manufacturing thousands of these elephants, and Steiff’s company became one of the most popular in the world.

    The other is the most famous: the world-famous “Teddy Bear.” In 1902, toymaker Morris Michtom saw a cartoon in the Washington Post about how President “Teddy” Roosevelt had spared the life of a bear cub when out hunting one day. The story inspired him to make a toy replica of the bear cub, and he ended up calling it a “teddy bear.” Of course, Michtom’s toy shot to international fame, and Ideal Toy Company, Michtom’s company, soon was the biggest toy manufacturer in the country.

    Of course, stuffed animals have gone on to take a number of different forms, and appear in popular culture all over the world. But that history lends itself to their original creativity, and beloved comfort.

    At the Zoo Factory, we pride ourselves on continuing that history with the best selection of stuffed animals out there. If you have any questions about our selection, contact us today!

  • Ways to Relieve Stress on National Stress Awareness Day

    We all know that life can be stressful. Balancing work or school, friends, family, and everything else is a daily chore; one which can sometimes feel overwhelming. But the key is learning to not let that stress control you. And that’s what National Stress Awareness Day, on April 16th, is all about: finding strategies to reduce that stress, and live a happier life.

    Here are a few healthy habits to practice and ideas to reduce stress on National Stress Awareness Day.

    Relieving Stress on National Stress Awareness Day

    Keep a Journal

    There are a number of benefits to keeping a daily journal of some sort—it’s great for time management, and helpful in strengthening your memory and your focus. But one benefit that often goes without mention is an alleviation of stress.  And it’s fun to keep a record of your experiences and memories, too!

    Meditate

    Meditation can come in many different forms, like yoga, sitting in silence, or leaving your phone in the other room while you concentrate. Whatever form it takes for you, a healthy meditation diet can do wonders to your stress levels. It lets you cleanse your mind of the day’s on-goings, and really focus on what’s in front of you.

    Keep a Garden

    This one is to all the folks who have any green space—be it a backyard, or park—close to them: get out there and garden! Planting flowers and taking care of a garden is one of the most proven strategies to reducing stress. Not only that, but it’s also great exercise. If you don’t have a backyard to plant in, get involved in your local community’s volunteer efforts.

    Get a Stuffed Animal

    To everyone here at The Zoo Factory, this one goes without saying. Having a stuffed animal by your side is a time-tested method of reducing stress, starting as early as childhood. Something about your favorite farm or jungle animal as a toy is just so comforting, and it’s no surprise that people of all ages love their stuffed animals.

    At The Zoo Factory, we offer a wide selection of high-quality stuffed animals in all shapes and sizes for adults, and customized models and stuff-your-own-animal party packages for kids as well. So contact us today!

  • Stuffed Farm Animals the Perfect Easter Basket Stuffers

    While the traditional Easter candy and other edible treats make great basket stuffers, a stuffed animal will become a lifelong friend to your children beyond the celebration of a once-a-year holiday.

    That’s why we want to encourage you to incorporate some stuffed farm animals into your child’s Easter basket this holiday!

    Froggy Favorites Basket Stuffed Farm Animals the Perfect Easter Basket Stuffers

    Children that love frogs will adore a frog-themed Easter basket full of treats and gifts centric to their favorite animal. Fill colorful plastic Easter eggs with frog trinkets like shiny necklaces with frog charms, soft green socks, and dangly key chains. Tie the basket together with this adorable plush frog that will have your child hopping around with excitement on Easter morning!

    Rainy Day Basket

    Spring ushers in rainy days, perfect for splashing around in puddles! Create a rainy day Easter basket full of fun activities perfect for a rainy day, such as arts and crafts, treasured movies, new rain boots, and an umbrella with a silly pattern. Your child will love celebrating “duck weather” with this fluffy yellow duck and a new yellow rain hat.

    Gardening Basket

    April showers eventually bring May flowers, but you have to plant them first! Gift your little gardener with their very own gardening Easter basket, complete with packets of seeds, shovels, a bright watering can, and some fun gardener’s gloves. Make gardening even more fun with a garden buddy. This precious brown rabbit will easily help make gardening a new favorite pastime for your little one.

    Soft and Sleepy Basket

    Young kids love soft things to help lull them to sleep, so filling an Easter basket with only the softest treasures is sure to please! Pack a basket with soft, fleece blankets and small fluffy slippers. Throw in some fun soft pajamas, a new bedtime book, and the perfect snuggle buddy lamb for the ultimate bedtime basket!

    Get a head start on your Easter shopping and head over to The Zoo Factory and select your child’s new best friend. Shipping is on sale for orders over $50 now through March 31st!

     

  • Hosting a Valentine’s Day Teddy Bear Party

    Each year as Valentine's Day rolls around, we tend to think of the ones that mean the most to us. This includes not only our spouses and romantic others, but our best friends, our teammates, our coworkers, and even our parents. It's a time to celebrate not only love, but the power of friendship and connection.

    Here are some ideas on how you can share the sentiment of Valentine's day with your friends, coworkers, and children this month.

    Hosting a Valentine's Day Teddy Bear Party

    Singles Night for the Ladies

    Many people take the opportunity to center Valentine’s Day around good friends and family instead of romantic partners. The holiday isn’t just for the traditional and mushy candle lit dinner crowd, so make the season your own by hosting a singles party at your home, apartment, or an outside venue for the people who matter. Celebrate everyone’s uniqueness by opting for a more laid-back color palette in your party decor, like tangerine table cloths or turquoise hanging paper lanterns and encourage people to bring a gift to exchange, even if they don’t know each other, like a fun and trendy sloth stuffed animal or a painted wine glass. You never know, you might end up playing match maker by the end of the night!

    Teddy Bear Party for Kids

    Most children enjoy Valentine’s Day because they get to exchange the ever-famous valentine! A lot of time and creativity goes into the shopping for such a sweet sentiment, which is then distributed to classmates and best friends. A stuffed animal party, however, involves a little more interaction and allows your class or neighborhood to get more hands-on in the gift-making process. Set up bags around your classroom with each child’s name and let them drop goodies, stuffed animals, and hand-made cards into each one! The best gifts are the ones we make ourselves, so let your child’s creativity blossom!

    Secret Admirer Gifts for the Office

    You can feel the love in the air everywhere during the month of February, including at the office. Some people aren’t always into the gift-giving part of the season, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brighten someone’s day by leaving them a special surprise at their desk. Is your boss going through a rough patch, or are you wishing to settle a work disagreement you had with a coworker not too long ago? When you give a gift anonymously, it takes the obligation off of the gift receiver and keeps them guessing with delight. Be sure to not leave anyone out, though; it only works if the whole office participates! That way, everybody receives a heartfelt morale boost.

    Don't forget: Beginning February 1st, you can claim 10% off all party kits and packages when you shop at The Zoo Factory for your Valentine’s Day party stash!

  • Teddy Bears in the Classroom Help Children

    Teddy bears are therapeutic tools that many educators incorporate in their classrooms for a number of beneficial reasons, such as promoting positive interaction and emotional growth during children’s formative years.

    Teddy Bears are Transitional Objects Teddy Bears in the Classroom Help Children

    Blankets, teddy bears, and other stuffed animals hold a special place in our hearts from the moment we are born into this world. These objects are self-chosen and given special value only because we choose to give them this significance.

    They mark the earliest phases of our development as humans and also help us cope with separation anxiety. A positive example of this is when a parent drops a child off at kindergarten. The child may feel stricken with anxiety and other uncomfortable emotion, and so to cope they will look for an object to hold onto. These objects are often abandoned once the adult picks the child up, but during the day, the object soothes them during their time of discomfort.

    Teddy Bears Encourage Healthy Interaction

    Teddy bears provide us with a clear understanding of how a child, as they grow, will interact with other people. A child who grows an attachment to a self-chosen object will more than likely be able to express emotion in a healthy way, and show that they can easily connect with others and maintain relationships. This is a necessary life skill that is vital to mental and emotional growth.

    Teddy Bears are Non-Disruptive

    If you are a teacher or work with younger children, then you realize that most objects of comfort are non-threatening to your lesson plan. Because of their calming effect, teddy bears help children concentrate by providing emotional and sensory support. They make children feel safe in uncertain situations and new environments, and even including an activity involving a stuffed animal or a teddy bear party in your lesson plan could contribute greatly to a healthy psyche.

    Surprise your classroom, youth group, or after-school club with a special friend this month at The Zoo Factory!

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