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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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Awesome Gift Ideas for Tween Girls

gift ideas for tweensTween girls are some of the hardest people to buy for. You can just as easily hit a home run as a foul ball. Fortunately, the internet makes it easy to avoid the latter. There are some things on the market that are super popular right now that will be a great hit for your pre-teen.

 

  1. Chalkboard Paint: Letting the creativity flow is a great outlet for tweens.  And with this gift you may find out that they are a great artist, or poet.  Here is a great room we found on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/370280400582439746/ You can even use the new chalkboard wall to write down when tests/fieldtrips are for school too so they never forget.
  2. American Girl Dolls: If your daughter already has a collection of dolls, why not get them some new outfits?  We offer a great variety of clothes that fit 18” American Girl dolls here at The Zoo Factory.
  3.  Cra-Z-Loom: Creating bracelets or jewelry never goes out of style.  Especially if you can making matching one’s for you and your group of girlfriends.  We found them at Toys“R”Us, and they are fairly inexpensive as well for the kit and even if you want to buy an extra bag of bands on the side as well.
  4. Monster High by Lisi Harrison: This book is all about the granddaughter of Frankenstein trying to find her place in her new high school. Guaranteed tween fun and we found it on Amazon.com

We wish you the best of luck this holiday season hitting the stores for the perfect present for your tween. Hopefully our gift guide helps give you some great ideas for great gifts!

 

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Adults and Stuffed Animals: Why It’s Okay


stuffed animalsWe often post about how wonderful stuffed animals are for children, and how they benefit from them. Today, we’re going to blow your mind with tips and solid facts as to why it’s totally okay for adults to have, and sleep with, teddy bears or other stuffed animals.

For one thing, a stuffed toy (especially one you’ve had since childhood) is the thing you turn to when you’re upset. This is one friend who has always been there for you, judgment free. Whether you had an argument with a friend or you’ve done something you’re not proud of, you’ll seek comfort in this companion. This little guy will never tell you how to feel or that you’re wrong, he’ll just sit there and let you cuddle all your woes away.

Everybody does, it’s just that nobody talks about it.

Sleeping with teddy bears is common for adults. A recent study shows that 35% of adults admitted to sleeping with their stuffed animals. That’s only the people who admitted it. Surely, some percentage of the people who said “No” are liars.

Unconditional love and hugs, whenever you want them, are priceless. Even pets get in moods where they don’t want to cuddle or hug, and when you need a hug, you need a hug. Large sentimental teddy bears are the perfect comfort huggers.

If you’re pushing 30, 40, or 200, it doesn’t matter. If you love your stuffed animal, there’s no law or age limit for having a loving companion. A common myth is that there’s some psychological reason or issue causing an adult to sleep with and keep his or her stuffed animals. In reality, that’s not true. Your stuffed animal simply reduces stress. If the item is sentimental, it could be an attachment to a happy memory, and in that case, it’s still a positive comforting presence in your life. Any healthy, mentally stable person could benefit from this.

Click here to read about many adults who shamelessly love their stuffed animals and shout it with pride! You can also read statistics and celebrities who still keep their stuffed toys in the infographic below!

 

I Don

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

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Can’t Make a Family Vacation? Send Your Stuffed Animals Instead!

Stuffed Animal Wanderlust

Unagi Travel offers a unique experience for your long-loved companion. Maybe you can’t take the time off work, or maybe a family vacation is just not in your budget this year, whatever the case may be, there’s an intriguingly fun alternative. Send your family’s favorite stuffed animals on vacation and receive stunning photographs of your cherished friends in aesthetically stunning scenes and gorgeous landmarks from all over Japan. Maybe you can’t see the world just yet, but your lifelong best friend can, and you can create lasting photographs that spark emotion and desire.

The program, started by Sonoe Azuma, takes your stuffed animal on an adventurous excursion. You can follow the trip on Facebook to feel as if you’re really there with your companion. Over 200 toys have already traveled around Japan and the United States.

To satisfy your burning wanderlust, it could cost thousands of dollars for an enjoyable stay. Sending your stuffed animal can range from $20-$55 dollars and the trip includes a photo CD of all the sightseeing adventures.

 

Would you send your stuffed animal across the world to venture where you can’t go? Share your thoughts or photos of your stuffed animals traveling in our comments section!

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Party Favor and Décor Ideas for a Stuffable Animal Birthday Party

pig farm stuffable animal for birthday partyWhen you’re planning a stuffable animal themed party, you have a few options for your setting. Some parents opt for one animal choice, to avoid fighting over specific animals, while others prefer offering an array of options to the kids. If you wanted to go for a particular theme, then you could choose a few options that relate to it. Alternatively, if you want to keep it generic, you could offer a wide variety of animal styles.

If you have a myriad of animals, you can go with an overall farm animal theme. This is probably the easier option, as it gives you more options for party favors, snacks, and games. Go with the color red, it’s often associated with barns. Give the setting a farm feel with cornstalks and hay bales.

If you want to go the other way, and keep everything the same, choose an animal that you can work with.  For example, if you offer one choice, opt for a bear. Your child could have almost any theme decorations, and a stuffed bear section would make sense; it is versatile.

Regardless of the decor and theme, your party will need favors. Offer animal shaped treats or cookies as snacks to take home, this is a good idea for favors because they’re already taking home their stuffed animal, so a snack feels like a new treat AND it’s cost effective. We can’t promise other parents will love you for feeding their kids sugar, and then sending them home with sugar, but you’ll be the coolest parent ever.

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History & Interesting Facts about the Teddy Bear

Teddy’s Bear

teddy bear stuffed animal birthda giftMorris Michtom might not have foreseen his invention of stuffed bears becoming a staple for our childhood, but he knew this was a great idea. Placing two bears in his store window, his toy store quickly hosted a plethora of interested customers. Mitchtom requested permission from Theodore Roosevelt to call the bears “Teddy’s bears”, as “Teddy” was Roosevelt’s nickname. It’s rumored that Michtom wanted to remind people of Roosevelt’s compassion, specifically the day he decided shooting an unconscious bear (tied to a tree) was unsportsman like; he put the bear out of misery peacefully. This act gained a lot of love and respect from Americans. Now, any story that starts like that is one worth telling.

The first teddy bear went on sale in 1903, but there’s so much more to this companion than dates and facts. The teddy bear becomes special when we add our own personal experiences in with its own rich history. As the first of two Teddy Bears resides at the National Museum of American History, encourage your child to keep his or her teddy when done with it, and explain why. It may already be family tradition to pass down a Teddy, but if not, you can start now. Whatever bear style you choose, just remember to love it, and the rest will come naturally. When you pass it on to children and grandchildren, their friendship with it will fill you with an amount of love you didn’t even know existed. One of the best parts of becoming a parent is sharing with your kids, the things you loved as a child.

Interesting Teddy Bear Facts

  • The first time bears appeared in the literal sense was in the 1834 tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” by Robert Southey.
  • Bear toys existed, though not in stuffed form, and were called Bruins.
  • In 1924, Disney’s Alice and the Three Bears was the first color-animated film about teddy bears!
  • Wendy Boston changed lives in 1954, when she invented a washable teddy bear! Go Wendy! We bet you would have loved Teddy needs a Bath!

 

 

 

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Five Great Ways to Spoil Your Birthday Boy or Girl

By the time your son or daughter is in the tween years, you’re bound to start running out of creative gifts. To continue your reign as “parent of the year”, you’ll have to outdo yourself every year (which can get exhausting).

Gather ideas from Pinterest, meet with friends, or hit up eHow for an array if handmade DIY gift ideas. They’re sentimental, cost effective, and fun to make. Or, you can look at a few ideas that other parents love on forums and online communities

 Go Feral

cat purse gift for young girls birthday party
Animal prints and character purses are hot items with the pre-teen crowd. Opt for something like a stuffed animal purse, or an animal print clothing item.

Let the Customization Begin

Younger kids love to create things, especially when it comes to personalizing their toys, clothes, and living area. Red Envelope has fun, interactive pillows where kids can create characters and dress them, right on the pillow. Our guess is, this gift would take the fight right out of bedtime; it’s play-until-you-fall-asleep fun!

Get fun Props for the Party Theme

Photo Props from Paper Source always make for a silly and exciting time! Look for things that match the theme of the party. For example, if you were doing pirates, this Captain Hat & Beard would make a great party favor for guests to wear around!

Friendship Bracelets

Kids, particularly girls, love to honor and celebrate their friendship with matching bracelets, necklaces or scarves. Consider something like DIY projects where everyone can make two bracelets; be sure to tell everyone to give their item away after the party, to avoid any hurt feelings.

American Girl Dolls and/or Accessories

american girl doll clothing items and knockoff accessoriesA few weeks ago, we went in depth about our new collection of clothes that fit American Girl Dolls and other 18” dolls. These dolls are huge with younger girls, preteens, and girls often keep them as collectables when they outgrow them.If your intended has an American Girl Doll, a unique outfit, sports uniform, or cute sundress would be a wonderful gift.

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Great Ideas for a “Stuff-Your-Own Animal” Birthday Party

Stuff-Your-Own Animal Parties

stuff animal birthday party ideas for kids stuffable animalsAll kids love being creative and personalizing their items, their living space, and even their clothes. To present them with a new toy, that they can create to be their own, is to give “the.best.gift.EVER”.

This is a great party idea for a few other reasons too. Specifically, the kids stay busy. Not to mention, “Stuff-your-own animal” parties are easy to clean up after, and they create a memorable experience for your child and his or her friends.

First, look over our collection of stuffed animals; choose a wide array to give kids a selection. Alternatively, you could choose to go with the same animal, if you want to eliminate the possibility of an argument. When getting the supplies, be sure to grab a few extra in case of mistakes.

Set up stuffing stations for the party, and include anything extra you deem fun. For example, since kids are making their own outfits for these animals, you can include things like rhinestones, sequins, and fabric paint to let them create custom fashions on their new friends.

Work on the animals in the beginning of the party, because then you can create even more fun afterwards. One of the best ideas is to create a manhunt. The guest of honor, or the birthday child, hides his or her animal, and the guests must follow clues to find where it is hidden. This creates exciting, educational fun. The person who finds the animal wins a prize. You can give away a cool accessory as a great gift for the winner.

A great idea for snacks is to bake cookies and decorate them like the various animals you’ve stocked up. If you don’t have a hand for decorating, you can find some here.

Create a pre-determined location to place the animals during cake and ice-cream time, to keep the animals clean. Finalize the party with a fairytale about the animals, highlighting each child’s creation with a role in the story.

We promise, you’ll win parent-of-the-year award!

 
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