The Zoo Factory

  • Are tweens too old for stuffed animals?

    Stuffed animal dragonYour stuffed animals have been at your side, like trusted best friends for years. Everywhere you go they go, too. When you’re feeling down, your favorite plush animals are always there to lift you back up. Now, suddenly, you’re on the cusp of the teen age. Those once coveted animals seem like kid-stuff now, but you can’t seem to shake the feeling that its okay to still confide in your stuffed friends and hold them very dearly. So, what’s a tween to do?


    If you’re like most tweens, you understand it’s okay to have a confidant. A stuffed animal can be a source of comfort because it never talks back, doesn’t give bad advice and is always willing to lend an ear.


    Marin, a 6 year old New Yorker with a host of stuffed animals said, “If (tweens) still want to keep their baby stuffed animals, they can, so they can look at them when they are older.” Her cousin Alina, 13, brings a favorite stuffed animal when she has sleepovers with friends. In her bedroom she still keeps a few favorite stuffed animals out.


    Stuffed animal dogThere are even a great number of adults that either sleep with, or travel with a stuffable animal. They believe that the stuffy provides comfort, or in the case of traveling, reminds them of home and family.


    Some tweens said it’s okay to be a teenager with a few stuffed animals; that there is something to be said for enjoying the friendship a little longer. But they warn about going overboard. Many believe that a few are okay, but once you reach the latter teenage years it’s time to calm down. They admit that stuffed animals are adorable, trustworthy and special because they are staples from childhood. But once you reach the border of teen and adult, it’s probably time to shelve the stuffed animals, save one or two.


    Tweens are encouraging other tweens to grow up at their own pace. Perhaps that’s a good lesson for everyone. Take the time to appreciate the things you have, including your stuffed animals. When you’re young, the world is new and fresh. Enjoying it with a stuffed companion is a great way to explore the world, one moment at a time. Don’t rush through life, even when you become a teenager. There will be time later on to grow up.

  • Traveling with plush animal isn’t just kid stuff

    Stuffed Animal BunnyAge is just a number for some men and women who travel with stuffed animals. You’re never too old to take with you the things that provide security and comfort. And if it’s a stuffed animal that provides that protection and security, then so be it!

    Many adult travelers pack a beloved stuffed animal when they go on trips because it reminds them of home when they have to be away. Just as a stuffy provides comfort to a child, one that comes along in an adult’s suitcase does the same job.

    Many hoteliers report mailing literally thousands of stuffed animals back home after finding them in vacation rooms. And these are just the ones from businessmen and women! A lot of men say they bring along a favorite stuffed animal because it acts as a memento. We often see in movies and television commercials about children that stuff a favorite stuffed animal into daddy’s suitcase as he heads out the door for a business trip. According to many fathers, it’s all true and not an act of lore. They are often happy to “find” the stuffed animal later while unpacking because it serves as a reminder of home and family.

    To some, the stuffed animal is part of the family. When you go on a family vacation or a trip, you don’t leave some of your family behind; you take them all with you. So why would you leave a beloved stuffed animal behind?

    Stuffed Animal Black BearSome men say they will bring along a stuffed animal with a romantic connection while traveling. For instance, if his partner has given him a stuffed animal, he wants to have a piece of them with him while he travels. The stuffed animal doesn’t replace the missing loved one, but it can provide comfort for the traveler who is missing their other half.

    Hotel staff will often prop the stuffed animal up on a freshly made bed, or even on the nightstand because they know the animal means a lot to the traveler. Bringing along the plush toy just makes one feel better. And while the may not be carrying it under their arm as they board their flight, some men that travel with a stuffed animal are proud tell about it. Two out of four men admit to traveling with a plush companion. Some say the stuffy stays in the suitcase when he is not traveling and only comes out during times of travel. No matter how a person travels, passing the time with a stuffed animal can’t be beat!

  • How to clean your child’s favorite stuffed animal

    Nemo stuffed animalThat stuffed animal has been at your child’s side for what seems like ages. You can’t picture one without the other. Except, you could probably stand to see the animal looking a little cleaner! When a well-loved stuffy has seen better days, performing a little magic cleaning can have it looking like new again.


    Firstly consider a few factors when determining how to clean the stuffable animal. For instance, the older the animal is, the more fragile it has become. Harsh scrubbing may end up doing more damage than good, so it’s best to approach cleaning mildly and gently. Also, you will want to gage your level of cleaning on how the stuffy is constructed and what materials from which it is made. An animal with sturdy stitching and heat-friendly stuffing might do well being machine washed and dried. But an animal bonded by glue, or with moving parts will not fair well in a washing machine and dryer.


    However, some stuffed animals are machine safe. Those made for babies are typically made of soft, fleecy material and usually made to be washed in the washing machine. After all, babies tend to chew, drool and spit up on things in the crib. Always read labels or use your best judgment. Those stuffed animals that may operate by battery often have a battery removing system so that they can be washed. When possible, be sure to remove any battery compartments or other non-washable parts before washing.


    Stuffed animal horseFollow all directions on labels when you can. For instance, if it says wash by hand, sometimes you can get away with a gentle cycle on the washer. But if it says surface clean only, it is best to comply. Be sure to remove any bows or accessories before washing in a machine. Not only can these items fall off or get ruined in the machines, but they have a nasty habit of working their way inside the machine and can cause serious problems for your appliances.


    Animals that have been loved hard sometimes don’t make the cut anymore. Those that are deemed unsalvageable should be tossed. However, if is very meaningful, try to replace it with a new one before tossing the old. Also, if you are going to throw it out anyway, try it in the washing machine just in case. You haven’t got anything to lose!


    Learning how to spot wash or wash by hand is a value to the beloved build a stuffed animals.  Take a vacuum brush to the animal and gently remove dust and dirt. An upholstery cleaner may also be used on the stuffed animal, but be sure to test an area of the stuffed animal first. And avoid using harsh chemical cleaners on any stuffed animal that may go into the child’s mouth. A safe, non-toxic cleaner can be made of warm water and a squirt of liquid dishwashing soap. Beat the liquid and soap on a medium speed until foamy. Sponge clean the animal and use a spray water bottle to remove the suds. Let the animal air-dry. If desired, fluff the animal on a low heat or delicate dryer setting.

  • Pillow pets promote proper sleep

    Stuffed Animal PillowPillow pets are a unique stuffable animals that combines a plush pillow with a stuffed animal. It’s a brilliant design that is meant to engage both the very young, and the very young at heart. Pillow pets foster a sense of playfulness while promoting sleep, which can be very handy when trying to tuck a youngster into bed.


    Pillow pets appeal to any animal lover. From the beloved monkey and colorful bears, to a lovable ladybug and friendly husky, these animals are sure to comfort even the toughest sleepers.


    Night sleeping is some of the healthiest times for toddlers and young children. Sleep helps restore the brain. Think of the brain as a battery. When you give it a rest, it recharges. Kids need that break to have energy and power for the next day. Even rest times are important to give kids a boost so they can tackle the rest of the day. Pillow pets make a great companion for the sleep or rest period.


    Stuffed Animal PillowPillow pets are made of chenille and have Velcro bands that allow them to be changed from a flat pillow into a 3-D stuffed animal. It starts in pillow position, and when the strap fastens to the other side, it transforms into a stuffed toy. If the strap is unfastened again, the pet can again be used as a pillow.


    Zoo Factory products are made from top-tier plush and are durable. We understand when a little one loves their stuffed animal or pillow pet intensely, the animal can get a little dirty at times. With a little light cleaning and TLC, your child’s pillow pet is as good as new. In addition, Zoo Factory’s designs are about bringing character and personality to the pillow pets. When they get a little messy, it is okay! Animals in the wild don’t mind!

  • Why we love stuffed animals

    From the dawn of child’s play, there has been one toy that has stood out among the rest: the stuffed animal.  Kids everywhere go nuts for these soft, stuffed creatures.


    Stuffable Teddy BearIn a study published by Time Magazine, which listed the most popular toys by decade throughout the past century, the one toy that appeared in almost every decade was – you guess it - a stuffed animal. The 1980s saw a sustained interest in stuffed animals, from regular stuffable animals and trademarked television show animals to wild animals and domestic pets. There is no doubt about it; children love stuffed animals.


    But what is it about stuffed animals that is so appealing? Is it their likeness to real animals that makes us to cuddle them? Is it our instilled sense of nurturing that tells us we should cradle our stuffed animals, treat them as if they were real and care for them like no other?


    Perhaps it’s because real pets – or wild animals brought down to stuffed animal proportions – would never stand for constant petting, cradling, poking, prodding and toting. By caring for our stuffed animals, we get a chance to know what it would be like to care for a rhino, lion, buffalo , monkey or other beast.


    Stuffable BuffaloMost children have very little control over their day-to-day matters. So when a child plays with a stuffed animal, they are often all too happy to assign roles, play boss, make up scenarios and be in charge.  Through interaction with a stuffed animal – something that never talks back, or acts controlling – a child is learning how to work through life situations, find comfort, grow and develop.


    For something that is typically just, stuffing and stitches, a stuffed animal might be the best thing every made. It’s a soft, comforting toy that can teach life skills and create lasting bonds and memories for children.

  • Stuffed animal sleepover in Chicago

    The River Forest Public Library is hosting a slumber partyUnique Stuffed Animal. Not for children, though, but for their little stuffed animal friends.

    Starting at 6 p.m. next Friday, children will bring their little stuffable animals to the library and listen to a few bedtime stories before leaving their friends for the night. What will the stuffed animals do? Well have a party of course!

    The announcement in the Riverforest Sun Times said the animals will be occupied by hearing more bedtime stories, playing dress up, dancing and playing games. It's a chance for the stuffed animals to let loose and tell stories with their other stuffed animal friends.

    “It is fun to be in the library after hours,” Susan Quinn, head of Children’s Services, told the newspaper. “It will be perfectly acceptable for the animals to get a little louder in the library at night because they will be the only ones there besides our staff and the Teen Volunteer Team.”

    Stuffed Animal PandaWhen the children come to pick up their favorite stuffed animal friends, they will be greeted with a light breakfast and a slide show to see all the fun they had over night the announcement said.

    It’s a unique way to see how your children react to a night without their stuffed animals, and a fun way to keep the children involved with their local library. I’m curious to see the fun the stuffed animals next week!

  • Kids need Stuffed Animals Now More Than Ever

    Golden Retriever stuffed animalThe tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut has affected us more than ever. It’s hard to look at a young child, a kindergartener, first-grader, second-grader, see how innocent they are and think their life was taken away in a fashion that was unimaginable until last Friday.

    As everyone mourns -- parents, relatives and people across the nation – children do too. Parents can look for comfort by hugging their children and keeping them close, but who do children seek comfort in? Their first best friend, and one that never lets them down – their stuffed animals. Much like children are the rock of their parents lives, stuffed animals play a major role in being the rock of their lives.

    People know this, and just like how people donated stuffed animals for Superstorm Sandy, people are starting to set up stuffable animal drives for the children and families in Newtown, Conn.

    In Hudson, NH, two workers set up a stuffed animal drive through the Someone Who Loves You project.

    Snowman stuffed animalIn a story that appeared that appeared in the Nashua Telegraph, Ashleigh Homon and Jenna Selfridge started the idea when Ashleigh said she wanted to “hug and give teddy bears to all of the children of the school,” Selfridge told the Telegraph.

    We certainly feel the same way.

    Selfridge said an aunt of Homon’s fiancé “was a volunteer in the Sandy Hook School District for years and have been working together to coordinate the drive,” as read in the newspaper.

    Donation centers have been made in multiple states across the country.



  • Rescuing misfit toys and making them better

    Stuffable AnimalsThe Island of Misfit Toys has always held a certain mystique around the holidays.  Although an integral part to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the island is also such a perfect symbol for loneliness and the feeling that you’re an outcast, feelings that for many are unavoidable during the holidays.  Stuffed animals are not just cherished toys meant for children, but also symbols of the human experience.  Not many toys, in my opinion, possess such cultural cache.  Stuffed animals represent the BEST aspects of living.

    Silver Spring Township, PA resident Jane Kreitzer recognizes the deeper meaning behind stuffed animals.

    In the feature article “Silver Spring Township woman dresses, gives dolls, and stuffed animals to charity,” Tammie Gitt of The Sentinel writes “Each year, the Silver Spring Township woman buys dolls and stuffed animals at the Dollar Store or Walmart when they are discounted after holidays. Then, she takes them home and crochets dresses, sweaters, hats, and even underwear for them.”

    Kreitzer’s a rescuer of stuffable animals that time forgets and makes them better!

    We’ve all seen the discount bins after the holidays and how sad the racks and bins look. It’s almost as if you want to reach out to the toys and comfort them, tell them that there’s always next year.  For many of these toys and stuffed animals, there isn’t a next year.

    What of the children that may need them?  Jane has that covered as well!  Gitt writes, “She called a local minister who gladly took [the stuffed animals].  Her donations continued for another six years in Florida including one year when some were given to a nursing home.”

    Everyone can use a stuffed animal for that little extra cheer.  Around this time of the year, we can all use that. Never forget the power of a stuffed animal.

  • Stuffed animal drives for Superstorm Sandy victims held nationwide

    Sometimes all it takes is a stuffable animal to feel better.

    Stuffed animal EagleNationwide, people have been showing their support for those affected the most by Superstorm Sandy by holding stuffed animal drives.

    In Kansas City, a four-year old girl told her parents she wanted to help the children who were affected after hearing tales of children her age losing stuffed animals forever. Little Katherine Schell helped spearhead a drive that accumulated 1,800 stuffed animals, called “Project Daisy” after her favorite stuffed animals. Her and her parents flew to Stanton Island to deliver the load to happy children.

    In New Bern, NC, on the coast of North Carolina, a second-grader also helped lead a drive for stuffed animal drive for those in need in the New Jersey and New York area. Jordyn Goodwin told ABC affiliate WCTI that she wanted to start the drive because she knew they would need the stuffed animals the most. "They can feel safe with their stuffed animal like I feel every night," Goodwin said. "All of my stuffed animals are my best friends."

    Pink bear stuffed animalOther stuffed animal drives in the news have been found in Iowa, Eastern Arizona and other parts of the country.

    It was just released that damage in New York by Superstrom Sandy reached a staggering $32 billion dollars.

  • Build a stuffed animal party!

    Looking for an inexpensive birthday party for your child where his friends and guests can enjoy and take home gifts? How about a stuffable animal birthday party!

    Pick a litter of 8-inch stuffed animal kittens for $26.95, add on some apparel for the customizable animals and some accessories and have a fun build a stuffed animal party where everyone can be involved.

    The Zoo Factory has the stuffing, plenty of accessories and apparel to make each animal unique while using your child’s creativity to make something he or she can truly call their own. It’s a way to have fun, be creative at a relatively inexpensive price and something you child and truly be proud of.  The best part about it, the guests can take home their creations too and will be a birthday party they can remember too!

    Check out all the unique animals, apparel, and accessories The Zoo Factory has to offer and make your child’s next birthday party, a stuffable animal birthday extravaganza!

    Here are the four kittens that come in our litter for a stuffed animal party!


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