The Zoo Factory

  • How Teddy Bears Make Adults Behave Better

    Yes, you read that sentence right. People are well aware of the benefits teddy bears bring to kids, but did you know they can also help adults? They can relieve stress, treat Alzheimer’s, and now, thanks to a Harvard research team, they can even make us behave better simply by being in the same room.

    How They Did It

    Harvard researchers Sreedhari Desai and Francesca Gino separated a group of people into two halves—one half was in a room with children’s toys (like crayons and teddy bears), the other was not. Each group was then asked to play games where subjects could influence how much money they and other people had by whether they lied or not. Researchers found that subjects in the room with crayons and teddy bears were less likely to lie and cheat, and were overall more generous, than the subjects in the other room.

    Teddy Bears and Childlike Innocence

    So, what’s the connection? Researchers believed it was related to purity. According to Desai, “Child-related cues might unconsciously activate notions of goodness and drive us to get to a pure state and not want to pollute it.” And it makes sense. Most people are on their best behavior around children, trying to set a good example. Having a teddy bear by our side may not be the exact same as having a child by our side, but our brain connects the two, and as a result, we behave better.

    So, if you, or someone you know, could benefit from having a teddy bear in the room, check out our inventory or contact us for more information.

  • Scientific Reasons Kids Love Stuffed Animals

    Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of Americans are still hanging on to the teddy bears they had when they were growing up. Even though those teddy bears aren’t as soft and cuddly as they used to be, people keep them for all kinds of reasons. For some, it’s because it provides them with a sense of comfort, while others have held onto their bear for so long now they can’t imagine giving it up.

    The idea of keeping a teddy bear for years and even decades on end might seem silly to some people. However, there are actually scientific reasons for why so many kids—and, by extension, adults—love teddy bears and other stuffed animals so much. Here are a few of the scientific reasons behind it.

    Teddy bears are made to make kids feel safe and peaceful

    It’s human nature for kids to yearn for feelings of peacefulness and safety. Often times, they’re able to find those feelings in the arms of a teddy bear. Studies have shown that kids who spend a lot of time holding a teddy bear tend to feel calmer and more secure than those who don’t.

    Teddy bears can help fill a void

    The average teddy bear can’t walk or talk or offer any real emotional support to a child. Studies have indicated that teddy bears can, however, help kids overcome psychological trauma and fill a void in their lives. They can also make kids feel like they have some control over the things happening in their lives since they’re able to use their imaginations with their teddy bears.

    Teddy bears are designed to prompt affection and nurturing behavior from kids

    There are a lot of studies that have been done on the designs used to create teddy bears. Many have shown that teddy bears are built to have many of the same facial features and proportions as humans. So when kids hug a teddy bear, it makes them feel like they are caring for their teddy as much as they believe their teddy cares for them. Even though this stuffed animal is an inanimate object, a bond is formed.

    Would you like to give a teddy bear or another stuffed animal to a special child in your life? The Zoo Factory has countless options for you to choose from, including farm animals, wild animals, and more. Order yours today!

  • Toys that Enhance a Child’s Imagination

    Children have amazing imaginations and their ability to play pretend and think up stories is inspiring. For many children, role-playing and creativity is often sparked through play.

    Playing with different types of toys can help to fuel a child’s imagination, helping them to become more innovative and imaginative.

    Playing with Costumes

    When children play dress-up, their imaginations run wild! When playing dress-up, children can take ordinary clothes and turn them into fantastical stories. Playing with costumes allow children to dress up as superheroes, historical figures, doctors, movie stars, animals, and more. Playing with costumes allow children to “become someone else” in a matter of minutes, resulting in endless hours of fun. Save some of your old clothing, such as shoes, purses, and ties, that could work perfectly for a costume!

    Playing with Art Supplies

    Give a child (washable) colorful markers and watch them create new worlds and amazing ideas. Playing with art supplies trigger a child’s imagination allowing them to put their thoughts and dreams into something real and tangible. Art is the perfect platform for allowing children to explore their personal creativity. Children just love to get messy with glitter, glue, stickers, and paints! Here are some tips on an easy clean up!

    Playing with Toy Cars

    The concept of traveling to new and unseen places can heat up a child’s imagination. Children relate vehicles with trips to school, to the park, to grandma’s house, to the beach, and more. Children love going places and experiencing new things and they often associate cars with that concept. Playing with toy cars, buses, and trains give children the opportunity to take trips in their minds.

    Playing with Stuffed Animals

    Playing pretend often starts with your child’s first stuffed animal, which they will love and adore like a true friend. Stuffed animals, such as teddy bears, can kick-start your child’s imagination because they will often treat their furry friend as a real person. Stuffed animals can benefit children of all ages.

    Encourage your child’s imagination with a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. Children will love the idea of building their very own stuffed animal and making it on their own.

  • Teddy Bear Events Across the United States

    Across the United States, teddy bear events are popping up, fueling children’s educations and allowing them to use their imagination!

    From healthcare events to educational events, teddy bears are playing a role in many learning opportunities for children.

    Below is a highlight of some of our favorite teddy bear events from across the United States that we’ve spotted so far.

    Teddy Bear Clinics

    We’ve talked about these types of teddy bear events before, but there is no better place to learn how to care for your best bear friend. After all, zookeepers are experts when it comes to animals! One popular event that many zoo’s offer are Teddy Bear Clinics which encourage children to bring their teddy bear along to explore how to care for their bear and introduce them to the world of medicine.

    Teddy Bear Fest at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

    At the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut, children and parents enjoyed a “Teddy Bear Fest” that centered on raising awareness of bears and wildlife.  The day was packed full of crafts, storytelling, and educational facts on bear awareness. Plus, children under 12 that brought any plush toy (not just teddys!) and was accompanied by a paying adult got in free!

    Wild Nights at Fort Wayne’s Children Zoo

    If you’ve ever wondered what the zoo is like once the lights go out, those that attended Family Wild Nights at Fort Wayne’s Children Zoo got to find out. This event allows children to take part in educational activities and delicious food while sleeping over at the zoo!  2019 registration is now open.  Pitch your own tent under the stars and learn about nocturnal critters or sleep under the sharks. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring your teddy bear!

    Teddy Bear Day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

    Save $10 on “Teddy Bear Day” at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo when you bring a plush friend! Meet some of the zoo’s hands-on outreach animals, get your teddy bear a check-up, enjoy a giraffe feeding and more! This event will next occur on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Save the date!

    In need of a teddy bear or plush friend to adventure with this summer? Make your own stuffed animal with Stuffable Animal Kits from The Zoo Factory, LLC. We have dozens of fun and soft animals to choose from, teddy bears included.

  • How a Teddy Bear Might Help your Child Sleep

    Dreaded are the nights your child doesn’t sleep, whether they are flat-out refusing to go to bed or waking you up often because they simply can’t sleep at all. Establishing a bedtime routine often becomes a nightly battle with little ones.

    Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can extend from the night well into the morning, following your child to school which can contribute to trouble retaining information, a lack of concentration, and even behavioral problems.

    However, recent research shows that there are a variety of ways to remedy these problems, some of which might surprise you!  A healthy sleep routine should be encouraged by both parents and educators.

    The Zoo Factory was excited to learn that teddy bears have been found to be effective when demonstrating a sleep routine to a child.

    Parents and educators alike have been using the teddy bear to teach children how to develop a bed time routine. By having a child instruct a teddy bear on how to get ready for bed, much like a parent would instruct a child, a child can learn to model and mock the behavior.

    Along with the beloved teddy bear fix, it was found that children that read before bed as opposed to watching television or playing on the iPad, sleep better as well. These practices can help your child to relax and wind down before heading to bed.

    Interested in incorporating a beloved teddy bear into your child’s bedtime routine? Visit The Zoo Factory today and choose from dozens of fun and soft teddy bears and animals.

  • Recent Teddy Bear Toss Breaks Records

    Ice hockey boasts a long, colorful history in America, debuting for the first time around 1893 and followed by the first American hockey team joining the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1924. Since then, hockey fans gather each season to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the ice as they race to get the puck in the other team’s goal.

    Hockey would be nothing without its fun, competitive spirit, and of course, the beloved fans.

    One dedicated hockey fan base showed up this year with a spirited fire that helped them set a record in the coveted annual “Teddy Bear Toss.”

    AHL’s Hershey Bears were pitted against the Binghamton Devils for the annual holiday tradition. Seconds after Bears’ player Riley Barber scored the first goal, fans took the plush toys they brought along to the game and hurled them from the stands out onto the ice.

    Channeling the giving nature of the holidays, fans tossed 34,798 toys on the ice, shattering the previous world record of the largest number of toys donated during a hockey Teddy Bear Toss. Hershey collected all the stuffed toys to donate to over 30 local schools, food banks, and churches.

    Nothing brings smiles during the holiday season quite like a teddy bear, and the Teddy Bear Toss continues to impress with displays of generosity each year. Will you be attending a teddy bear toss this season? Stock up now to beat the new world record with stuffable animals from The Zoo Factory!

  • Big Brands Still Use Old-Fashioned Teddy Bears

    In an age where remarkable digital toys and daring technologies surprise and delight kids of all ages, you may stop and wonder if good, old-fashioned toys still make an impact on children. The short answer is yes.

     Classic toys like the loveable teddy bear are still around and make popular choices for holiday gifts.

    The proof is found in the marketing tactics of well-known brands this holiday season. An established retail chain took advertising with a teddy bear to the next level with their Canadian ad featuring a teddy bear that comes to life when the store closes.

    The ad opens with the bear sitting on a shelf next to a wide variety of other, modern toys. Shoppers choose toys to place into their cart, but everyone seems to be avoiding the teddy bear. When the store closes and the lights turn out, the teddy bear magically springs to life, climbing down from the shelf to explore. We see the bear dress up in a rainbow wig and read a book, ride a fire truck, use a tablet, and eat about an abundance of ice cream.

    When the store reopens, the teddy bear hops back onto his shelf to endure another day of shopping in the hopes of getting picked among the other toys. Luckily, on this day, a customer picks the bear off the shelf, and in the next scene we see a little girl unwrap the bear on Christmas morning. As she hugs the bear, her joy radiates from the screen and the words, “holiday magic starts with believing” appear.

    By bringing a teddy bear to life, stores help recreate the appeal and warmth of teddy bears, making them inviting to children who already consider their stuffed animals as “alive.” The holidays are a time of magic and wonder, and using the classic teddy bear as an advertising tactic is a great way to show how old-fashioned toys still have their place in today’s digital world.

    To gift your own teddy bear magic this season, shop at The Zoo Factory. Let your children make their own stuffed animal with our stuffable animal kits. Each child will experience an instant connection with their new stuffed friend with a birth certificate, unstuffed animal, wishing star and stuffing instructions so they can bring their pal to life.

  • Unique Take on Stuffed Animals Coming to Life

    Between their huge imaginations and their charming ability to turn everything into a game, children love the idea of their stuffed animals coming to life. Classic kid’s movies and cartoons present tales of animated toys, talking teddy bears, and children that can communicate with their toys.

    Children see stuffed animals as their first and most loyal friends, and the ability to witness “life” in these treasured toys keeps children’s creativity alive. Pretending they can talk back allows children to play with their stuffed animals in the most inventive ways.

    In today’s technological age, science found a way to bring stuffed animals to life through motion.

    By using soft robotics, researchers at Yale University developed robotic skins that animate inanimate objects. Made with elastic sheets and full of sensors and actuators, the robotic skins can animate objects and make them perform different tasks. The skins help objects walk, move, or grasp and move another object.

    The leader of the research and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio and her team developed the skins to use as soft robots with large implications. The idea is that researchers can use the robotic skins to wrap around deformable materials to create improvised robots for situations where they might prove helpful. For example, astronauts could use the skins in space to attach to objects and deploy for exploration.

    Dubbed OmniSkin, the researchers wrapped the robotic skin around a stuffed horse’s legs to make it walk across a table, animating the stuffed animal in a new and exciting way.

    These researchers, just like our children, are inventing unique ways to bring stuffed animals to life. Find your children a new stuffed friend from The Zoo Factory, your source for buildable, stuffable animals and dolls.

  • How to Use Stuffed Animals in the Classroom

    Stuffed animals can work wonders in a classroom full of young children, and we love the idea of incorporating them into an educational setting.

    Here are a few of The Zoo Factory’s favorite ways that stuffed animals can be used in a classroom setting.

    Consider a Class mascot

    A cuddly and unique stuffed animal can make the perfect class mascot. Mascots create a sense of belonging, uniting everyone in the class and representing diverse classrooms as a solidified unit. Class mascots make kids excited to go to school every day, giving them something fun to look forward to. These special class heroes can increase classroom morale with minimal effort.

    Create a Reading or Writing Partner

    Stuffed animals serve as the perfect audience for reading and writing practice. Letting students read books out loud to stuffed animals allows them to practice reading comprehension and fluency while minimizing nerves. For editing help, have students write a few thoughts down and let them read these thoughts out loud to a stuffed animal to listen for writing mistakes. Reading with a non-judgmental stuffed animal causes an increase in confidence (and fun!) for young students.

    Offer Recognition and Reward

    Kids love positive recognition and rewards for appropriate behaviors and actions. Use stuffed animals in the classroom as a tool for rewarding students for following your classroom rules. For example, let a student that demonstrates good manners sit with a stuffed animal on their desk during class. If a student does a particularly good job with reading something out loud or mastering other course content, let them pick out a stuffed animal to carry around for the day.

    There is no shortage of fun ways to use stuffed animals in the classroom! Find teddy bears, unicorns, sea creatures, farm animals, and more at The Zoo Factory.

  • Surgeon Operates on Brave Teddy Bear

    Even young children can encounter life challenges, facing ups and downs as they go. From small disappointments to large growing pains, children too face many battles. However, going through difficult times feels easier when you have someone to go through it with.

    For many children, a favorite stuffed animal can help them get through tough situations, giving them confidence and bravery.

    For 8-year-old Jackson McKie that stuffed animal is “Little Baby,” a stuffed teddy bear bringing Jackson comfort in his battle with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus has resulted in a build-up of fluid in Jackson’s brain cavities, meaning he needs small tubes or shunts in his brain to drain the fluid and release pressure.

    As Jackson recently headed into surgery to get one of his shunts repaired, Little Baby was by his side ready to offer comfort after the procedure. However, Jackson noticed a small tear on Little Baby and asked his neurosurgeon, Dr. Daniel McNeely of IWK Health Centre, to fix up the stuffed animal during his own surgery. Dr. McNeely agreed and the little teddy bear was prepped for his operation.

    Little Baby remained brave, and on a small side table, Dr. McNeely, dressed in full scrubs, used leftover stitches to patch up Jackson’s friend. Both Little Baby and Jackson made full recoveries, healing side-by-side.

    Find your child their own brave companion at The Zoo Factory, where they can stuff, dress, and love a new lifelong friend.

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