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A Child’s Emotional Connection with a Stuffed Animal

stuffed bear

Watching your children interact with their stuff animals is more than just child’s play. They can form an emotional bond and attachment to a non living object. Children say and think the funniest things and have the wildest imaginations so it is not far-fetched that they create relationships in their heads.

Children have the best imaginations and they can create anything in their mind if they try hard enough. Most children will name their favorite stuffed animals and even give them personalities. If they create a good personality for their stuffed animal they can create an unbreakable bond with them.

These stuffed animals serve as a security blanket for your child. No matter where they go they are taking someone with them they like and get along with. It is important to note that it is normal for your child to have stuffed friends, but also encourage them to make living breathing friends. If they are extremely shy maybe start with a pet, then gradually work up to human children. But always allow them to have time with their stuffed animal friend. If you try to take away their stuffed friends before they are ready they may have serious emotional problems down the road due to what they think is abandonment. Although their animal hasn’t left them, they will feel lonely if you take them away too soon. Nothing puts a smile on you child’s face like that stuffed animal, just remember to them that stuffed animal is real.

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Don’t Hinder your Child’s Imagination

sleeping with stuffed animals

 

Do you remember the moment you realized you were grown and no longer could have the imagination and creativity you once did? For most of us, that was a defining moment and probably a little bit sad and depressing. Did you ever take a moment to understand how you got to that point? Well it probably started when your parents told you to start growing up.

 

One of the first things you think about when you think about small children and their creativity is when they don’t have friends around and they start playing with their toys. Those toys are what fuels their mind and creativity. Children cannot let their imagination grow if those things are taken away from them. There is no good reason to take away your children’s stuffed animals at any age. Let them decide when it is ok to stop sleeping without boo boo bunny. After all you were the one who let them sleep with it in the first place. Wouldn’t it be a little bit contradictory to take them away now?

 

Children need their stuffed animals not only for their imagination to grow but for their own sense of security. Yes, you as their guardian provide security and protection but the stuffed companions they have are something they can control in their life. If you were to take away something so precious to them they may no flourish in the social department, instead feel lonely and lost. When your child begins to go to school it may be a good idea to start leaving their stuffed friends at home and playing with living breathing friends at school. That does not mean they will forget about their stuffed friend and not look for it when they come home. They will always want that sense of security and some people may hold onto those things well into adulthood but that isn’t a bad thing. Emotions are high when it comes to their prized possession.

 

Don’t take away something so important to them; let them decide when it is time to stop sleeping with boo boo bunny. Let them decide when it is time to start growing up.

 

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Preventing the Dog From Attacking Stuffed Animals


 Stuffed Chihuahua Toy

 

There are two scenarios that can happen when a dog is faced with your little one’s stuffed animals. One, feisty four legged friends might treat stuffed animals as their arch nemesis. And two, they will want to cuddle, play and make friends with it and we can’t blame them, stuffed animals are soft and cute!

 

Even though the above are very common, your dog taking over your little one’s stuffed friends won’t go over so well. Our business is built on creating soft, plush and adorable friends for your little one to find comfort in, which is why this post is dedicated to keeping your dog from attacking stuffed animals.

 

  • Provide a box or bin where the dog’s toys are located. Introduce this area to your dog and show them how to retrieve toys from there only.

 
 
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  • Make a positive association with the location of the dog’s toys. Throw a couple of treats in the box when the dog retrieves a toy or when he picks one up to put back.

 

  • If it hasn’t already been established, teach your dog the “leave it” or “drop it” command. This will not only save you stuffed animals, but socks, slippers and toilet paper as well.

 

  • Show your dog a stuffed animal and if they attempt to approach it, enforce the “leave it” command.

 

  • If you are going to be out of the house, leave the stuffed animals out of reach. This is an important lesson for your little one as well.

 

  • Lastly, cross your fingers that any attempt you make works!

 

If you’re looking for adorable stuffed friends for your adorable little one, be sure to browse the Zoo Factory’s inventory.

 

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Unique, Whimsical, and Personalized Sorority Gifts

sorority big and little gifts

 

Sororities create long-lasting friendships and global communities. Sorority sisters connect from colleges to Universities, town to town, and across the States. Pledges never forget their time as new members, and forever remember the gifts and mementos exchanged during the pledging process. Special gifts that are given to the sorority by a new chapter member, or received by the pledge from their new chapter, are keepsakes for a lifetime; and personalized gifts mean that much more to those who receive them.

 

Personalized gifts can be fun and whimsical, be specific to one person, or uniquely represent a whole organization. Here are a few creative and personal gift ideas that pledges can give to their new sorority chapters, or that sorority chapter presidents can offer to successful new members.

 

Stuffed Animals with Personalized T-shirts

 

Stuffed animals are loved by just about everyone, even “big girls” living the college life. How many times have we seen our dorm mates with their favorite stuffed animals, or even carried our own life-long stuffed animal friends to school with us. Many dorm rooms are decorated with stuffed animals that were once childhood buddies. Customizing a stuffed animal with personalized t-shirts with the sorority chapter name on it, is a creative and unique gift for pledges to offer to the sorority as a new chapter member. That cute furry little mascot will always be connected to that pledge, and remembered by all.

Jewelry and Teddy Bear Bling

Teddy bears are always welcomed gifts; from beauty queens to class presidents, even superstar college jocks, can be caught with their favorite one. Whether big and fluffy or small and cute, teddy bears make wonderful sorority gifts. But teddy bears with their own jewelry, accessories, and bling, are even cooler. It would be great fun for each local campus member to own identical teddy bears with matching jewelry accessories. Upon entering your dorm room, everyone will see that you are a part of a great Greek chapter tradition, by seeing your personalized sorority teddy bear on your pillow. Whimsical matching ladybug or pink flamingo necklaces for all of the local pledges, also makes a great gift.

 

Personalized Talking Stuffed Animals

 

With easy to order “record your own voice” kits, you can have a sorority craft party, making personalized stuffed animal gifts, while recording a special “thank you” from new chapter members, or a “welcome to our chapter” message for successful pledges. Wouldn’t it be fun to re-create those old childhood craft making parties, with an adult flair. Sorority sisters can order pizza, watch the latest chick flick, while creating stuffed animals for everyone. With sentimental recorded messages in them, these unique gifts will remind everyone of that significant time in their lives, for years to come.

 

 

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How to Care for American Girl Dolls and Other 18″ Dolls

Most little girls love to play with their dolls. They imitate their mothers and things that they see portrayed in family TV shows. What little girl hasn’t fed her “dolly” real food and drink, and loved her almost to death?  So there is bound to be a certain amount of wear and tear and the occasional stains and grime. Caring for your American Girl doll is not difficult, and if you perform regular maintenance, your doll will stay “healthy” for years.

Caring for the skin

The skin of your American Girl doll is made of a soft, porous vinyl, which will absorb stains, so follow these cleaning tips.

  • Cover the doll’s eyes so they do not get wet and remember to protect the soft, fabric body and the hair as well as you can.
  • With a damp, lukewarm cloth, wipe down the doll’s skin
  • Make a paste with warm water and baking soda and gently apply the paste with your cloth, in a circular motion
  • After you have removed the stain or grime use a clean damp cloth to wipe off the paste, and pat the skin dry with a towel.
  • NEVER submerge the doll in water.

 

Caring for the hair

For styling, never use human hair care products such as mousses, shampoos or styling gels, and never use hot rollers, curling irons, hair straightening irons, or blow dryers. Just lightly mist the hair to make it more manageable for styling and, for best results, use our Doll Hairbrush and Sparkly Hair Pick. For a detailed how-to, refer to our earlier blog: How to Wash and Style Your American Girl Doll’s Hair.

Caring for clothes

Know beforehand if the clothes are color fast. As washing machines are not gentle for doll clothes, hand wash them in the sink using either a mild soap or equal parts water and vinegar. Don’t wring the clothes dry, but pat them dry with a towel and then lay them flat to finish drying.  For wool clothing always hand wash in cold water and use a wool cleaner like Woolite or a mild baby shampoo.

Caring for your American Girl doll can be a fun activity for you and your child, and with just a little love and care your American Girl doll will last for years.

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Prevent Bullying in Classrooms with Stuffable Animals


Teachers of today face a new task on top of their traditional teaching chores. In addition to activities, field trips and lesson plans, teachers now need to work in ways to prevent bullying in their classrooms. Many people think that there’s little you can do about bullies, but that’s actually very far from true. It could be difficult if a child doesn’t learn consequences at home, but it can be done. A great way to combat bullying is to bring children together in a project, like a stuffable animal party.

anti bullying lessons - prevent bullying

 

Here’s what you do….

First, remember that this isn’t a birthday party, so you’re not dealing with a group of kids that are friends. Some are the “in” kids, while others are the outcasts; your goal is to leave no outcasts, and nobody feeling bad at the end of it.

Then, choose one stuffed animal, because there could be fighting over the lion or the pig; just eliminate that problem before it’s even an issue.

Now, observe. Don’t let the kids know this is a bullying assignment. Some of the worst bullies are the kinds that pay attention to supervision and act innocent. Pretend to be engrossed in a book while the kids stuff their animals. Observe who breaks off into groups, and notice the instigators. Also, look for the kids who say rude things and poke fun at the others.

Finally, when the kids have all of their animals together, have a concluding discussion. At this time, use the kids’ animals to act out some of the behaviors you’ve noticed. After that, grab two students, who had nothing to do with the bullying and ask them to act out different skits. When kids see their peers being mistreated it strikes something in them. They see one of their friends being mistreated, and they become less likely to do it to others.  One of the best examples of this can be seen on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. He often has celebrities come on the show, to read aloud, some of the things people say and tweet about them online. Albeit comical, you can actually see how people’s feelings get hurt with just a few words.

Some bullies are mean people, and some are misunderstood kids but they all have something in common, they don’t realize how much they hurt the other person. Find a way to stop bullying in your classroom, in whatever way that works best for you. All you have to do is find a way to show the bullies how damaging their behavior is and they are likely to cease the rude behavior.

Some of today’s kindest doctors, public figures, and scientists are yesterday’s bullies, reformed. Bullies aren’t villains; they just need a little guidance from teachers who inspire them.

 

 

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Awesome Stuffed Animals From the 80s

80s toysSome may not choose to admit it, but most of us had a favorite stuffed animal when we were young. We slept with it, played with it, and never wanted to part from it. Stuffed animals were a huge part of children’s lives, especially for those of us who grew up in the 80’s. Many have kept their favorite fluffy babies through adulthood, or passed them on to their kids. It would be so much fun to find some of those popular stuffed animals from our childhood, and give them as gifts to our children. They could bring back some really fun memories, or they could make us happy that we’re all grown up….you decide.

Who Are The Furskins?

 

The Furskins were some of our favorites, at the top of the most popular stuffed toys list. The Furskins were a great combo of a country bear and a stuffable animal; which are so popular for today’s kids. It would be awesome for our kids to see what came before stuffable animals. We may not have had the luxury of customizing a Furskin, but we loved them just as they came out of the box; with its removable hat and rubber boots.

 

Remember That Loveable Alien Alf?

 

O.M.G!., that’s what kids would say today, if they were around when Alf came on the scene. Alf was our loveable alien stuffed animal. He was unlike any other stuffed animal. He wasn’t a bear, a dog, a bunny, or a lion; he was Alf. He came from another planet. How cool was that? He even came with his own hit tv series. Oh yes, and Alf was from Melmac; one of the greatest planets in the solar system. (wink, wink)

 

Pound Puppies, In Some Ways…. Better Than A Real Dog?

 

The Pound Puppies were so adorable; with their slumpy faces, and their huge droopy eyes. They made you want to cuddle with them and take care of them forever. The Pound Puppies were hugely popular in the 80’s. They came with their own registration papers, I.D. tags, and collars. Tonka’s Pound Puppies entered the stuffed animal scene right after the rage of the Cabbage Patch dolls, and were marketed to both girls and boys.

 

Whichever nostalgic stuffed animal you choose as your favorite, it’s fun to bring these favorites from yesteryear into today. The internet and online stores and auctions, offer us the opportunity to revisit our childhood memories and to share these memories with our children.

 

They can enjoy the wonderful stuffed animals of today, along with Alf and the Pound Puppies, we all remember so fondly from yesterday.

 

And if you don’t have kids, you can revisit the memories of your favorite stuffed animals for yourself…shhhh, we won’t tell anyone.

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How to Wash and Style Your American Girl Doll’s Hair

Disheveled, frizzy hair is the bane of any woman’s existence, no matter what age. Before girls get started with the products and blow dryers on their own hair, they start with their dolls. However, American Girl dolls are much more delicate and intricate when it comes to their materials.

All doll hair is prone to becoming frizzy, and it can ruin the original style of an American Girl doll. Be sure to prevent your little one from trying to wash the doll’s hair in a sink or with regular shampoo. There is an entirely different way to wash your doll’s hair than your own.

 

•    Fill a large bowl with cool water, a large mixing bowl or baby-tub is ideal. Add in a capful of wig shampoo.

•    Then, you’ll want to slowly, softly swish the hair around in the water, completely saturating it. You’ll want to leave this soaking for fifteen minutes.

•    After it has soaked for fifteen minutes, rinse with cool water, avoiding the doll’s face.

•    Simply towel-dry the hair, do not try to wring or twist it. The hair should remain damp for the next step anyways.

•    Fill a big, yet shallow bin with fabric softener liquid. It should be about one inch high. Then, prop the doll against the edge, and comb the fabric softener through the hair and let her hair soak for one hour. You may have to check on the hair to keep it saturated for that hour.

•    Then, rinse it with cool water and gently towel dry again.

 

For a final touch, check out this helpful tutorial on how to steam your American Girl Doll’s hair!

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The Zoo Party: A Fun Recap from a Fun Mom

pig farm stuffable animal for birthday partyToday’s guest post is brought to you by  fun-loving, mom-of-the-year, Dana!  Dana is always throwing great parties for her daughter, and she decided to share her awesome Zoo Party Recap with us! Share your thoughts with us in the comment’s section below!

 

 

I tend to go a little overboard for birthday parties for my daughter. When I say “little” I mean every thing MUST match the theme that I started preparing the day after her last birthday.
This year’s theme was “The Zoo”. I was on top of these preparations like a boy scout looking to get the next merit badge. Don’t doubt it, this was the checklist:

  • Venue – Local zoo party room booked well over a month in advance.
  • Zoo Cake – Another thing ordered well in advance with matching zoo theme.
  • Invitations and Thank You cards – Monkeys included for a “wild time”
  • Food – Fruit and Veggie trays made to look like a forest with lion and tiger. (The zoo provided pizza with the party automatically, which was a nice bonus.)
  • Plates and Cutlery – Animal face plates with color matching plastic ware.
  • Activity for kids / party favors – A menagerie of animals from The Zoo Factory.

The children in the party ranged from 3-11.  The highlight of the party for everyone was stuffing The Zoo Factory animals.  The younger children had to have their parents help with the stuffing but that made the activity even more fun for them.  I was worried that a couple of older kids in the party might not enjoy the party favors as much but that wasn’t the case.  They had just as much fun stuffing and playing with them as the younger kids.

In the end due to my obsessive planning everything turned out perfectly. I even received a compliment from one of the parents that I should become an event planner because everything was so wonderful.
In case you are wondering next year theme will be “Bubbles at the Science museum”.

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When Is A Newborn Baby Old Enough For Stuffed Animals?

gift ideas for babiesWhen it comes to bringing a newborn baby home, medical experts advise parents to do and not do many different things. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a leading cause of death for children under one year of age. An important piece of information parents should follow is to avoid placing toys, blankets or anything else into the crib that could increase chances of suffocation or SIDS.

 

Newborn babies don’t have the strength or skill to remove items from their face while in the crib. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents do not put soft objects in a baby’s crib until 12 months of age. (http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-can-my-baby-sleep-with-a-stuffed-animal-or-doll_1368443.bc). A soft object includes a stuffed animal, regardless of size.   

 

While stuffed animals are cute, fuzzy and appealing to babies, they can pose a threat. Most babies learn to roll over between three and four months old, which increases the chances of suffocation. There are plenty of things you can do to decorate a nursery before it’s safe to put blankets and animals in the crib.

 

There is a definite benefit of waiting for that first birthday before purchasing a plush friend for your baby. Just like with many other things, you’ll have to wait for signs of maturity and development, and not really a number. A good guideline is about one year. When your baby can remove things from his or her face, that’s when it’s safe to start the snuggling!

 

At The Zoo Factory, we have tons of adorable and soft stuffed animal kits that make a great gift idea for your child’s first birthday. By this milestone, you’ll have a sense for what animals and colors your child prefers, making the buying process easier.

 

When the time is right to include stuffed animals in the crib, don’t forget to visit The Zoo Factory.