The Zoo Factory

  • 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.

  • Teddy Bear Explores for Science

    Scientists are always working hard to find new ways to explore the world around us, and recently, a teddy bear got involved and bravely ventured out into the great unknown.

    A teddy bear named “Nugget” was launched into the stratosphere by the Museum of the Goldfields in Australia, equipped with a GPS and a camera in the name of science.

    The idea of this experiment was to use the teddy bear to study the local region, and for residents to have a better understanding of what’s around them. The faux animal’s findings will be used for educational purposes at the museum, which was established to promote science, math, geography, and other subjects to local patrons.

    “Nugget” was strapped to a helium balloon when taking off, and not too long after lift-off, the museum’s staff actually lost track of the teddy bear, as it floated to altitudes of 37 km. After nearly three hours of no contact, the teddy bear was tracked down as it began its descent, having gone some 50 km further astray than previously thought. According to some recent reports, the teddy bear’s landing location had been charted thanks to a recovery mission set up by the museum. What it saw along the way will be anyone’s guess, once the footage is viewed.

    We are looking forward to seeing what “Nugget” picked up along his journey, especially for scientific purposes. At The Zoo Factory, we love to see stories like this—where science is being used in a way to educate young minds. And with teddy bears, even better!

  • Little Teddy Bears Take a Big Adventure

    Teddy bears serve many great purposes. They give us a friend to hug and love, they are great sleeping partners, and often times, they can be used to raise awareness for a good cause.

    Students in Indiana recently raised a lot of money using teddy bears, and in the process, the teddy bears got to have a lot of fun.

    Forty students from the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) recently made headlines when they each jumped out of a plane with a teddy bear along for the ride, all in the name of boosting the spirits of the kids at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana.

    The plan was simple or so they say. The 40 students each took their own teddy bear and loaded into an airplane. Once they were in full flight (13,000 feet in the air), each student jumped out of the plane with a teddy bear in tow.

    Why you may ask?

    Well, they wanted to give the brave children at the hospital a brave teddy bear to keep by their side, and after jumping out of a plane and falling towards the ground at 120 mph, each bear was then considered the “Bravest Bear in the World.” These bears were then presented to the “Bravest Kids in the World.”

    This is the fourth year that these students have had this event and not only does it produce brave bears, but over the years, they have raised many millions of dollars for the hospital with 75 percent of that money going to research and 25 percent going to clinical care. All for a cause that is 100 percent for the children.

    It is so refreshing these days to have young people who are so compassionate about those in need, and these kids are really dedicated. As event organizer Matt Arnold has said, “Looking out of the door of the plane at 13,000 feet, knowing you are going to jump out is scary, but when you think about these kids are going through, it’s a lot scarier. This program puts it all in perspective.”

    At The Zoo Factory, we also take pride on putting smiles on children’s faces, and that is why we offer a comprehensive selection of stuffed animals and stuffable animal kits so each child can make their own customized best friend to accompany them through thick and thin. Check out our site to see our grand selection.

  • Stuffed Animals as Playmates for Babies and Toddlers

    As infants, we enter the world with no knowledge of it, and a few of the first things we grow attached to are our mothers, fathers, and in many cases, the stuffed animals that are presented to us on our birthdays in the hospital. We form bonds with these people and things almost instantaneously, and they shape our perceptions of the world as we wield these tools for learning and interacting.

    One of the greatest gifts we can give a newborn baby or toddler is a stuffed animal, and here’s why.

    Educational Tools for Teaching Emotion and Expression  Stuffed Animals as Playmates for Babies and Toddlers

    When you gift an infant a stuffed animal, you may not know it, but you are teaching them about the world. Stuffed animals can be used to classify different animals, such as reptiles and aquatic creatures. Not only do these toys introduce your baby or toddler to the animal kingdom, but they can also help them process and understand human emotion and sensory details such as texture and color.

    What to look for in your Baby's First Stuffed Animal

    When choosing your baby’s first stuffed animal, you will want to keep a few things in mind. Try to avoid animals with long fur or removable parts, as babies can easily choke on these. Also keep in mind that if the act is sentimental to you, you may want to opt for a stuffed animal that your toddler can hold onto once they are of preschool age. At this age, your child is beginning to develop more of an active imagination, and will most likely want to interact with their stuffed animal more, even simulating real-life scenarios and mimicking emotions.

    At the Zoo Factory, we encourage imaginative play, whether you’re 3, 15, or 67! We're never too young or too old to connect with our inner child.

    Enjoy our April promotional deal: Get a free pair of sunglasses with each 16’’ animal ordered today!

  • The Evolution of Stuffed Animals

    At the Zoo Factory, it’s no surprise that we love stuffed animals. We think they’re great for people of all ages as a safe, healthy, and fun toy that everyone can enjoy. And clearly, we’re not alone: stuffed animals have been loved by people for centuries.

    Let’s take a trip in time to see where stuffed animals came from, and how people came to love them in the first place.

    The Early Stuffed Animal The Evolution of Stuffed Animals

    Did you know that civilizations around the world have been making some form of a stuffed animal since the beginning of recorded history? Actually, it was the Romans in as early as 300 BC who are first credited with creating the rag doll, which were made with fabric scraps and filled with straw. These were mostly enjoyed by poorer children, who were unable to afford the pricier toys of the day.

    The Modern Stuffed Animal

    There are really two instances where the stuffed animals that we know came about. The first is the stuffed elephant created by Margarete Steiff in 1880, who first produced the toy based on a pattern she read in a magazine. She eventually started manufacturing thousands of these elephants, and Steiff’s company became one of the most popular in the world.

    The other is the most famous: the world-famous “Teddy Bear.” In 1902, toymaker Morris Michtom saw a cartoon in the Washington Post about how President “Teddy” Roosevelt had spared the life of a bear cub when out hunting one day. The story inspired him to make a toy replica of the bear cub, and he ended up calling it a “teddy bear.” Of course, Michtom’s toy shot to international fame, and Ideal Toy Company, Michtom’s company, soon was the biggest toy manufacturer in the country.

    Of course, stuffed animals have gone on to take a number of different forms, and appear in popular culture all over the world. But that history lends itself to their original creativity, and beloved comfort.

    At the Zoo Factory, we pride ourselves on continuing that history with the best selection of stuffed animals out there. If you have any questions about our selection, contact us today!

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