The Zoo Factory

  • Summertime Programs With Stuffed Animals

    Attention all summer camp counselors and summer program coordinators!

    School will be letting out soon for summer vacation and that means you will be taking over for the teachers and parents and have multiple children to care for. Usually these children will be a wide range of ages and sometimes it can be difficult to find tasks all the children will enjoy doing, along with one that is affordable and fits in with your program budget.

    To help get everyone to know each other it may be a fun idea to have them all stuff their own animal in the first week of camp, then all summer long they will have a friend nearby even if their school friends are not in the same program.

    To make things easy buy all the animals a plain white t-shirt and use graffiti pens to decorate them. This way each animal can be an individual just like your campers.

    These stuffed animals will go on many adventures with your students and the students will always have them. Just think of the times when they grow up and pack away their toys, they may keep the stuffed animal out just as a reminder of what fun the summer of 2015 was for them. Stuffed pets are the best for cuddling for when the students have a scrapped knee and need to get a Band-Aid, they also make a great companion for playing red rover.

    The Zoo Factory animals are an extremely affordable option for your program. Start your summer program on the right foot, or even the proverbial furry foot. Contact us for more information today!

  • Personalized T-Shirts for Your Stuffed Animal!

    plain t shirt

    Many times when you are looking for clothes for yourself you seem to be caught between buying the clothes that are popular and trying to find the clothes that speak to you and make a statement about who you are.

    Well now you don’t have to make a choice, at least not for a new stuffed friend!

    Our fabric markers are just that- markers that you can use on fabric. This means you buy our traditional plain t-shirt to fit your stuffable animal and use the markers to turn that t-shirt into anything you would like it to be.

    The markers come in a set of 8 colors. This gives you a variety of colors to choose from and endless options of what to design on your shirt. The great thing about designing your own shirt is that it can be personalized to what you or your child would like to see on shirts. You could even use the markers to create a matching shirt, so your child and their stuffed friend could match and they can show off their twin!

    It is important to allow your child to be creative and express themselves, they are only young once and you don’t want them to lose that innocence. When they grow up and start acting like little adults you will regret not having more days where they cuddled up with their stuffed animals and innocently playing with their toys.

    At The Zoo Factory, we aim to fuel your child’s imagination, all while making it fun and safe for them.
     
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  • Customizing Stuffable Animals For Your Child

    gorilla

    Having toys for your child to play with is important, it helps their imagination run wild and lets them have the dreams you hope they achieve someday.

    Many children will use their toys as a way of creating dreams and aspirations for themselves. Instead of letting your child use the popular toy to impersonate them, give them a stuffable animal that is them. Ok, maybe they will not look exactly like them but embodies them in every way possible.

    There are many ways to customize one of our stuffed animals to be your child's mini-me.

    First start with the clothes-you can dress them exactly how your child would dress on a daily basis or dress them in your child's favorite color.

    You can also pick the stuffed animal that you think most directly identifies with your child. For example if you have a child who loves to play at the park and is always climbing around you may want to give them a gorilla. Or if your child is somewhat shy and quiet, you could always get them a cute and cuddly rabbit. Choose the animal that is inside of your child just waiting to come out and play.

    One last thing you may want to include with your child's new friend is a scent. If your child is your little sweetie pie or cupcake make sure to include the cupcake aroma-bearapy.

    Make your child's next stuffed animal is a toy they will want to look up to and idolize as they create their own dreams.
     
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  • Re-Stuffing a Limp Stuffed Animal

    stuffing

    Stuffed animals become family members very quickly. For children they are companions, teachers, babies, and devoted friends. And for adults they are reminders of another time, perhaps another place, and even a first close relationship. Beloved stuffed animals get worn easily, but are sometimes loved even more in their decay.

     

    When stuffed animals lose their stuffing through play and a lot of holding, they may begin to not look like themselves. But repairing this problem is simple as well as being a loving gesture.

     

    The first thing to do is go to a fabric or craft store and get polyester fiberfill stuffing. Polyester fiberfill is the best thing for re-stuffing as it is both hand and machine washable. You can even put it in the dryer with the worry of it bunching up and distorting the shape of the animal.  It is also easy to work with.

     

    The next step is to locate the spot where the stuffing was first put into the animal. Look closely at all the seams on the toy, especially hidden ones, like down the back, between the legs, under the arms. Search carefully. You will find the spot somewhere on a seam where it gets a bit bumpy or it appears that some of the fur is tucked under there. It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate.

     

    Use a good seam ripper and start undoing the threads. Work very gently and carefully so as not to disturb worn patches on the stuffed animal and make them worse. Worn patches may show signs of being well loved, but they are very fragile and need to be worked around with care. Never cut the seam with a scissors.

     

    Once you have found the hole and opened it wide enough for your fingers to get in, pick a gumball-sized piece of fiberfill and put it into the empty spaces. With each piece of stuffing, take the time to rub and pat it into place. With newer stuffed animals you might be able to use a stuffing tool like a chopstick, but never use one with old and very worn toys as you might put a hole in the skin. So you stuff and pat, stuff and pat. Be sure to rub out any lumps and bumps.

     

    Stuff the toy until you are satisfied with its firmness or softness. Now you are ready to re stitch the seam. Using a simple ladder stitch, and sewing with extra strong thread, close up the hole. Take care to not leave any threads hanging out when you finish up. Make sure they are well tucked.

     

    You have your family member back and restored. It can be hugged and played with, sit at a tea party, or be a bed companion. A beloved friend is back in action!
     
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  • Creative Ways to Store Stuffed Animals

    stuffed animals

    Stuffed animals, whether they are yours or your children’s, tend to be fruitful and multiply. They are wonderful and warm gifts, and we all grow attached to them. Throwing them out is absolutely unheard of.

    So how do you store them?

    Do you stick them in a toy trunk or use them as decorations and display them?

    Most stuffed animals are colorful and cute, and they make a great addition to your home decor. Burying them in a trunk or toy box doesn’t really give them their due. Especially for children who tend to have a special attachment to each stuffed animal, being able to see them all the time is like a security blanket. There are as many ways to display your stuffed animals as there are people to think of them, and here are a few ideas.

    Of course you can always put them on a shelf or dresser top. But in the interest of getting a bit more creative, think a bit outside the box. Get a nice tree branch from your yard. You can paint it to accent the room’s color or leave it natural. Then hang a swing from the branch and display the stuffed animals on that swing.

    Think baskets. They can be made of any material that you like, and you can buy them readymade or create your own if you’re that energetic. Hang the baskets from floor to ceiling and put a few stuffed animals in each basket. You might organize them according to species, or color, or put the ones your kids hold most often near the bottom so they are easily accessed.

    Ladders are beautiful home accessories, and can hold books, objects or anything you can think of. So why not display stuffed animals on them. You can paint the ladder to compliment the room’s color or paint it your child’s favorite color, and let him or her help you place the animals. You should nail the ladder to the wall to prevent accidents.

    Finally there is the catch-all - the hammock! String a hammock anywhere that suits the room and just pile all the stuffed animals in it. It is an adorable way to display them and your child will enjoy seeing them all in one place.

    As an important part of your child’s life - or even yours - stuffed animals deserve to be visible to everyone. They add color, shape, and life to any room. So think about displaying them and not shutting them up with other toys. They are special items in your life, have earned your or your child’s love, and even been teachers. Honor them.

     
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  • Taking Care of Your American Girl Hair

    american girl doll hair

    American girl dolls are treasured keepsakes and they are also dolls you can play with. These dolls are constructed to be lovable and huggable but also serve the purpose of matching up with looks.

    These dolls can be a positive influence on your little girl’s daily life but that daily life can also get rough sometimes. If your American Doll Girl's hair is looking a little bit rough you have come to the right place. Here are easy directions to make her hair good as new again. It might take some work but it will be worth it in the end.

    1. Gather materials- You will need a wig brush or American girl hairbrush. This can be purchased from the American girl store. You will also need a spray bottle that has a mist setting filled with water only, paper towels, elastic hair ties and a plastic bag.
    2. Using the paper towels, wrap around the face of the doll covering all exposed plastic. Secure the paper towels with an elastic hair tie. Then do the same with a plastic bag. This will keep the doll safe from possible water exposure.
    3. Separate the hair into 3 sections. Slowly work on each section from the bottom to the top to get all kinks and knots out. Use the misting water to help clean out the hair.
    4. Allow the hair to air dry. Do not use a blow dryer on the hair as it will make the hair frizzy and you will have to complete this whole process again.

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  • Pet's Toys Need to Be Cleaned, Too!

    washing pets toys

    Your pet’s toys get dirty and soiled just as anything else that gets used a lot. Surface dirt needs to be removed, and sometimes even the bounciness of the toy needs to be refreshed. Washing is simple. First thing to do is read labels and if there are washing instruction for a specific toy, follow them.

    If you have no instructions you can still clean your pet’s toys. For rubber toys a gentle wash in soap and water, with a nice long rinse to make sure all the soap is off, is fine. But for furry toys, it is a bit more involved.

    Here at the Zoo Factory we have a special Bath Laundry Bag, into which you can place furry toys so that they don’t break apart in the wash cycle. Make sure you use a gentle cleanser, like Woolite, or one that is made especially for cleaning furry toys. Wash on a “gentle” or “delicates” cycle, and with only warm water. Cold water can also be used. Never use bleach or bleach alternatives.

    Dry on cool while still in the Bath Laundry Bag, or allow the toys to air dry outside the bag. The Zoo Factory also has dryer sheets to add more freshness, if you choose to dry the toys in a dryer.

    Cleaning toys regularly ensures your pet’s good health, and actually enhances play time. Playing with a clean, fluffy toy is more fun than playing with one that is oily and grimy. And our candy scented dryer sheets, provide a fresh clean smell.

    Washing your pet’s toys is appealing to everyone - humans and animals alike. So give your pet’s toys a routine cleaning. Your animal pals will be eternally grateful.

     
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  • New: AromaBearapy for your Stuffable Animals!

    scent chips

    During the holiday time you smell the cookies cooking and it brings back those memories of making them with your mom as a child. Or in the summer time the first time you cut the grass and it brings back memories of having a teddy bear picnic in your yard. These are all memories based around scents. Imagine the possibilities you have to create scent memories with your children.

    AromaBearapy scent chips can be placed into your Zoo Factory animal to give off the scent of your choice. Currently there are 8 scents to choose from, including buttered popcorn and cupcake!

    If you are unsure of what scent you would like to choose or if this is a surprise for your child, think about where this gift will be given to them. If you are planning on giving this a party of a birthday party package, you may want to think about getting cupcake flavored scent. They will remember all the fun times they have with finds create zoo factory animals every time they smell a cupcake scent.aromabearapy

    Giving the bear as a gift? You may want to use Chocolate Mint or Strawberry. These two scents are very popular and can be used for any occasion. AromaBearapy scent chips are a great addition to any stuffed animal and can take a regular stuffed animal to the next level. It may even make your child choose a brand new favorite toy!

    We only have 5 senses and with toys it is difficult to engage multiple senses. With AromaBearapy scent chips you are engaging the sense of smell, touch and sight. Other toys only engage touch and sight. These new scent chips can help your child grow more than you could imagine.

    Have any questions about this new product? Give The Zoo Factory a call!
     
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  • Stuffed Animals: Gifts for Young Children

    stuffed animals Stuffed animals have been around for ages. Years ago, almost every child had a teddy bear or favorite plush toy, and that stuffed animal became a cherished companion. Stuffed animals are very often a young child’s first friend, and many lessons can be learned from this special relationship.

    Children frequently learn how to express their feelings non-verbally to their stuffed animal, and this is so important in the development of openness and an ability to share innermost thoughts and feelings. Children learn the concept of sharing with their stuffed friend, and the concept of caring through their relationship with these furry beings.

    Giving a stuffed animal as a gift is a wonderful way to start a young child on the journey of life. But these gifts should be age appropriate and the right size for the child. Every child should be able to hold his stuffed animal to cuddle and communicate with. This can be a child’s first experience of “This is mine”, and communication can be very private.

    Often even young children will indicate that they have a favorite animal, and if you are lucky enough to have that information, you should favor buying that animal. Boys will often prefer dogs to cats, and monkeys to teddies. But keep in mind that you also teach the child about that animal by giving it as a gift, so if the child is a bit older, more exotic stuffed animals like giraffes and parrots could be wonderful.

    Of course there is nothing more beloved than the teddy bear and you ought not to shy away from buying one just because everyone thinks of him when thinking of a stuffed animal. They are cuddly and loyal companions, and every child responds to a teddy. When buying for a specific child, keep in mind the child’s size and age, colors she responds to, and gender. Some teddies look masculine and some feminine.

    Whatever your decision, you can rest assured that a stuffed animal will be welcome by parents and treasured by the child.

     
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  • Wish Your Zoo Factory Animal a Happy Birthday!

    zoo factory birth certificate

    On your birthday you like to celebrate and have a great time with friends and family. Maybe you even have Zoo Factory birthday party planned for your little one. A birthday is a time to celebrate and look back on the fact that you have become another year older.

    The older you get the more you would like to forget it, but your children find it to be a very important day to them. They will also think it is important when their own little friend from zoo factory has their very own birth certificate.

    The birth certificate your Zoo Factory pets come with has a place to put the name your child has chosen for their pet. This is the time for them to choose a name they would want and name they think has meaning. Don’t take the creativity away from them, they are only little for so long.

    The next thing on the certificate is the date in which you made their pet. This will forever be their birthday and your child can celebrate it for years to come. Maybe they will give their friend a birthday as big as their own. Well, in their imagination anyways.

    The last and maybe the most important thing on the birth certificate is the name of the child who made them. This will serve as a forever reminder that they made them and they promised to forever keep them safe. When the days are gone that they no longer want to play with their stuffed toys you can add this to a growing book of memories to reflect on when they have children, and continue the tradition of making their very own friend.
     
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