The Zoo Factory

  • Playing Dress-Up Offers Many Developmental Benefits

    Children often learn through play which has a direct effect on their development. The Zoo Factory encourages growth through play and as such, we love to explore it.

    We have highlighted a few ways that children can benefit from dressing up and letting their imagination run wild.

    See the World Through Other Viewpoints

    When children play dress-up, they learn valuable ways in which others contribute to our lives. Perhaps a child is playing the role of a mother and has a crying baby to nurture, or maybe they’re pretending to be a policeman and stopping “the bad guys.” This sense of imagination allows children to learn empathy through having to see alternative viewpoints and respond to them accordingly.

    Building Blocks for a Diverse Vocabulary

    When children play through dress-up, they begin to explore terms, phrases and words that are often inclusive to the role they are playing. These strengths can develop through hearing certain words in books and transferring them into the role they’re playing where children will eventually use them in daily conversations.

    Confidence Building

    For children, dressing up and having theatrical elements to their play can greatly impact their overall confidence. Self-expression is incredibly helpful when building self-confidence and this is just another way we can allow children to develop that skill. What child doesn’t feel on top of the world while dressed up as their favorite super hero?

    If your child loves playing dress up, consider purchasing some outfits for one of their Zoo Factory stuffed animals so that the two can play dress up together! Visit our website for a wide selection of outfits.

  • Libraries Use Stuffed Animals to Encourage Young Readers

    At The Zoo Factory, we love to see the different ways parents and children appreciate stuffed animals in their lives. That’s why we were thrilled to read about the Somerville Public Library’s “stuffed animal sleepover” event that took place in late July. It incorporated two of our favorite things: our best fluffy friends, and the joy of reading.

    If you hadn’t yet heard, a library outside of Boston, MA, hosted a “stuffed animal sleepover” bringing books and stuffed animals together.

    What that meant was young readers were invited to drop off their stuffed animal at the library for a sleepover and could pick them up the next day. In the meantime, the librarians spent the evening arranging the stuffed animals in different settings, so it makes it look as if they’re watching a movie or playing toys with each other. The photos were then shown to the stuffed animals’ rightful owners.

    The event was promoted to get children more involved in their local libraries. Time and time again, libraries are shown to be incredible sources of knowledge and fun for children, at virtually no cost to the parents. There, they can explore new worlds through books and literature, understand current affairs by examining the newspapers and magazines that are available, and take part in workshops made available to them.

    This comes at a time when people are debating what libraries mean in 2018—and if the “stuffed animal sleepover” is any indication, the answer is: fun!

    At The Zoo Factory, we are so delighted to see institutions like the local library use stuffed animals in an educative, appealing manner. It’s no surprise that the event drew widespread attention both on and offline. We offer our customers an extensive selection of figures and toys that would be perfect sleepover companions. Contact us today to learn more!

  • These Fictional Bears Warmed Our Hearts and Our Childhoods

    At The Zoo Factory, we like to say that we’re in the business of making memories. Each of us remembers when we were young and had a stuffed animal that was our best friend. That’s what we look to recreate for children, and hope that they, too, will feel as special as we did.

    Many famous fictional bears were a crucial part of our childhood, establishing our love for teddy bears for years to come.

    Winnie the Pooh

    Why do we continue to love Winnie the Pooh so much? Maybe it’s his boyish charm, or his innate ability to love his friends (Christopher Robin, Piglet, even Eeyore) no matter what. Or maybe it’s the chance that he’ll likely fall into a jar of honey at least once while you’re watching. Since he premiered in the 1920s, Winnie the Pooh has captivated young audiences. And for good reason. In fact, a movie titled “Christopher Robin” was just released in theaters highlighting Winne the Pooh and his friends in 2018.

    Paddington Bear

    We recently found out that one day, a man named Michael Bond took shelter from the snow, and laid his eyes on a teddy bear at a store nearby Paddington Station, in London. He purchased the bear for his wife and was then inspired to write his first book featuring the character, Paddington Bear, a duffel-coat-wearing teddy who migrates from Peru to London to start a new life. He also loves marmalade sandwiches. The books written about this beloved bear eventually sold over 30 million copies.

    Yogi

    Ayyyy, Boo-Boo! A Warner Bros. classic, we had to give a mention to Yogi the Bear, who, along with his sidekick Boo-Boo, are on the hunt for picnic baskets, and fun. Yogi first appeared in 1958 on a show titled “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and his success spiraled from there. He was known to be “smarter than the average bear.”

    These are just some of the fictional bears that we’ll remember forever, many of which continue to create new audiences with feature films, cartoons, and books alike.

    At The Zoo Factory, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of make-your-own stuffed animals. With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, your child can pick out his or her new favorite friend and toy.

  • Hospice Inspires Patients with Teddy Bears

    When a doctor diagnoses someone you love with a terminal illness, the next step is to find a facility that exists to serve his or her medical, physical, and social needs. Beyond this, those that need end-of-life care - as well as the supportive network of family members and friends they leave behind – also require emotional support to move through each tough, scary experience.

    Hope is one of the best feelings a patient can focus on, as hope inspires people to believe they might get better. During times of restlessness, anxiety, depression, or sadness, hope is the shining light that people cling to for guidance. As the desire for a certain thing to happen, hope is a feeling of expectation that breeds optimism and positivity.

    Notorious for bringing comfort and joy to people for over a century, teddy bears are a friendly symbol of hope and love to children and adults alike.

    With their soft, soothing fur and welcoming, constant smiles, teddy bears generate feelings of contentment. Hugging a teddy bear brings instant feelings of warmth and gladness, taking away fear and pushing away negative emotions.

    Capitalizing on these feelings of hope, Serenity Hospice in Peachtree City is using a teddy bear named Hope, created by public relations and marketing coordinator Erica Graham, to give patients a little joy in spite of their illnesses. By providing patients with the small, stuffed Hope bear when they arrive at the facility, Graham bestows a simple reminder upon each patient that they can find hope everywhere.

    To demonstrate hope, Graham carries her own Hope bear on different journeys to show that you can truly find hope in any stage of life. By taking the bear on adventures, Graham uses a combination of humor and messaging to help patients get through difficult times.

    Teddy bears do wonders for those needing a little optimism and hope. Give your own gift of hope to someone who could use some cheering up by sending him or her a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory, where you can stuff, dress, and love a new friend.

  • Tips on Donating Stuffed Animals

    Stuffed animals provide love, hope, and joy to children of all ages; however, many children only receive stuffed animals and other toys through donations.

    Donating stuffed animals is a great way to provide hope to a child in a tough situation and The Zoo Factory has some tips on how to make a successful donation.

    Help Your Child Understand

    While you might have the best intentions, your child might not understand why you are giving away their stuffed animals to a stranger. Although decluttering your home sounds inviting, your child might need some time to understand why it is important to donate.

    Have a conversation with your child about the concept of charity. Explain how their older stuffed animals will help make another child happy and how important that is. Help your child be involved in the process of donating and let them help you pick the best place to send their stuffed animals.

    How to Find Teddy’s New Home

    Selecting where to donate stuffed animals will depend on where you live. However, many towns have similar locations for donating stuffed animals, just do some research to find the best place in your area.

    Look into what local thrift stores allow stuffed animal donations. Many foster care agencies also appreciate more toys for their children. Depending on where you live, you can also consider donating to children’s hospitals, women’s homeless shelters, and school counselors. You might even consider doing to animal shelters for old, worn out stuffed animals.

    Hashing out Policies and Logistics

    When looking for the best location to donate your stuffed animals to, don’t be afraid to ask some questions about donation policies. Too often well-intentioned donations end up in the trash due to unfollowed policies.

    For example, if a place typically serves infants, you’ll need to consider age-appropriate safety in terms of pieces that come off your stuffed toys.

    You should also consider the logistics of your donation such as the best times to donate. Will your location accept one stuffed animal, or do you need to donate in groups? Should you drop off the items in bags or boxes? These questions will help you know the best way to make your donation count.

    The Zoo Factory offers stuffable animals perfect for helping your child bring their next best friend to life. Purchase several stuffed animals with The Zoo Factory and have your child create several stuffed animals to donate as well.

  • How the Internet Helped Reunite Little Girl with Beloved Stuffed Animal

    Children take their stuffed animals friends everywhere, and if for some reason they accidentally leave that friend behind or lose them, it is often devastating.

    Stuffed animals quickly become the best friends of our children, who pick their favorite cuddly toy and view it as a treasured companion.

    Recently we learned about a little girl named Pheobe Simpson, who lost her favorite stuffed lion named Roar on a train during a surprise trip to London, according to an article in the Independent. A woman named Lauren Bishop Vranch discovered the stuffed toy on the train and posted a picture on Twitter to try to find the lion’s owner via her followers.

    According to The Meta Picture, Lauren first tried to give Roar to the employees at the train station, but found out he would end up pretty far from where he was lost if they kept him. So, she opted to take Roar with her, updating her Twitter account with pictures and status updates while using #lostbear in the hopes of finding the owner. While Lauren had Roar, she took him on some exciting adventures documented via her Twitter account, including to a hotel, to a cozy pub, and even to Northern Stage Newcastle to see a show.

    A Facebook group called Spotted: On the Train picked up the photo and posted a status about helping to reunite Roar with his owner. The photo featured a picture of Roar with a note explaining how he was lost and where Lauren found him.

    Over time, Pheobe’s father Ben saw the photo. Lauren was able to mail Roar the lion, which she originally thought was a teddy bear, back to Ben to reunite him with Pheobe, who was overjoyed at having her best friend home.

    Dozens of soft, fun animals await your children at The Zoo Factory, offering stuffable animals perfect for helping your child bring their next best friend to life. Let your children build their favorite toy and capture a unique memory with this all-inclusive gift!

  • Why Most Dogs Love Stuffed Animals

    Is there anything cuter than looking at a bunch of photos of dogs playing with their favorite stuffed animals? We don’t think so! From dogs nestling up with their stuffed animals to take a nap to dogs “wrestling” with their stuffed animals, it’s absolutely adorable to watch a dog interact with a stuffed animal. We’ve been doing it for longer than we care to admit now!

    As it turns out, there are a number of different reasons why our beloved dogs seem to gravitate towards stuffed animals, teddy bears included!

    One theory people have for why dogs love stuffed animals is that many dogs, including Golden Retrievers, enjoy walking around with something in their mouth. People believe that dogs feel good about themselves when they have something like a stuffed animal in their mouth and get to enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Another theory for why dogs love stuffed animals is that playing with them reminds them of their natural instincts to hunt. While not all dogs are hunters, many of them are, and the thought is that dogs are reminded of their hunting ways when they’re shaking a stuffed animal all over a room.

    But the most prevalent theory on why dogs loved stuffed animals is probably the most practical and believable one. The majority of people think dogs enjoy stuffed animals simply because they’re a lot of fun to play and cuddle with. Just like your child might love to line up their stuffed animals and play games with them, dogs also seem to enjoy having stuffed animals around that they can play with whenever they want.

    You know who loves stuffed animals and teddy bears as much as dogs? Just about everyone else too! Call The Zoo Factory at 480-699-5519 today to get your hands on some of the cutest stuffed animals around. Just be sure to hide them from your furry friends before they get their paws on them.

  • Use Teddy Bears to Encourage Clean Rooms

    Are you having trouble teaching your child how to keep their room clean? The parents of young children often struggle to show their kids the value in cleaning up after themselves and keeping their rooms neat and organized. However, we have a tip that might just work!

    Many parents have found it beneficial to use teddy bears and other stuffed animals to encourage their kids to clean their rooms on a regular basis.

    When kids are young, teddy bears and other stuffed animals are often a prized possession. However, that doesn’t stop them from throwing their precious stuffed animals on the floor or under the bed. You can use this to your advantage by building a stuffed animal zoo for your kids. This zoo can serve as a storage place for your kids’ stuffed animals while also allowing them to turn clean up time into a fun activity.

    You should take the DIY approach to building a stuffed animal zoo for your child. You can create a zoo for them using little more than pine boards, paint, nylon rope, and wooden letters. This will allow you to personalize your zoo and build something that will be completely unique to your child. You can decide how big to make it, what color to paint it, and more when you design a zoo on your own. But no matter what it looks like in the end, it should be large enough to house all your child’s stuffed animals at once. It will encourage them to keep their room clean by putting their stuffed animals away in the zoo when they’re not playing with them.

    If you need help filling your stuffed animal zoo once it’s finished, The Zoo Factory can lend a hand. We offer stuffed teddy bears as well as a variety of other animals. Check out our inventory and call us at 480-699-5519 today to place an order.

  • How to Throw a Teddy Bear Picnic Party

    Now that sunshine has become consistent across the United States, many people are eager to get outside with their families and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

    If you’re looking for a way to keep your children busy now that school is out for the summer, consider helping them host a teddy bear picnic.

    Guests and Invitations

    Consider inviting your child’s classroom pals to a teddy bear picnic party for one last “gathering” as the children part ways for the summer months. Encourage guests to dress up as teddy bears or allow them to create their own costumes at the party; bear ears or masks are some easy and fun ways to incorporate your theme. Face painting is another great idea for those skilled enough to turn children into fuzzy bears!

    Create some fun bear-shaped invitations and make sure to invite each guest’s teddy bear as well. For introductions, have each child introduce their teddy bear to everyone after they introduce themselves.

    Venue and Decorations

    Hosting a teddy bear picnic party outdoors in your backyard or at a park is ideal, as you can use the natural settings as your decorations. However, in the event of rain, hosting a picnic inside is also easy with the right decorations.

    To start, grab all the teddy bears you have and set up some plastic tea sets between the bears. Grab some brightly colored blankets to serve as seating for the party. Find creative ways to use picnic baskets, like for holding utensils or for games. Finish off the decorations with some balloons and streamers.

    Food and Activities

    Go for picnic-themed foods, like sandwiches, fruits, chips, and ice cream. Add some fun touches with bear-shaped foods – just grab a bear-shaped cookie cutter and go to town. Consider Teddy Grahams and gummy bears to fit your theme. Remember to serve your food on brightly colored or bear-themed plates.

    For entertainment, grab some books about bears and have a read along. Set up some crafts for kids to make their own bears, and teach partygoers some bear songs like “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear.” Consider showing a movie featuring a bear, like Winnie the Pooh.

    Another great activity is to let children bring their own new teddy bear or stuffed animal to life! The Zoo Factory offers stuffable bears and other animals perfect for making memories at parties. Complete your party with this fun activity and your teddy bear picnic will be a great success!

  • Triple-A Baseball Team Soon to Play as Teddy Bears

    Teddy bears symbolize love and safety to children who consider the stuffed animals as best friends. Children carry the bears everywhere, trusting them with their secrets and sharing their childhood with them. Seeing a child’s eyes light up as they hug a new teddy bear is truly priceless.

    Children from Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton will soon meet new teddy bear friends when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders donate stuffed animals after June 30 following their teddy bear toss.

    The team is taking a new twist on charity by hosting a teddy bear toss during the game while wearing special uniforms and making a major name change for the evening.

    To show their dedication to the cause, the RailRiders will also wear special brown and yellow uniforms for the game, featuring a teddy bear holding a baseball bat, and change their name for the event to the “Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Teddy Bears.”

    The game is against the Pawtucket Red Sox on June 30 at PNC Field. Fans who bring a stuffed animal to the game will earn a free lawn seat and get to toss the toy onto the field after the 4th inning. The team will collect the bears and gift them after the game, creating a fun way for fans to get involved and give back to the community.

    The team will also auction off the jerseys to benefit the SWB Pinstripes Foundation and their work in improving educational programs, aiding the underserved, supporting children and senior welfare, and more.

    Find your child their own new teddy bear or stuffed animal from The Zoo Factory, offering a selection of buildable, stuffable bears and other animals to bring to life. With no sewing needed and plenty of outfits to choose from, this convenient and fun gift is the perfect memory making activity.

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