Stuffed Animals

  • How to Name Your Stuffed Animals

    When we get a new stuffed animal, we automatically begin to form an attachment. As a result, we often like to give our stuffed animals names in order to feel closer to them. For some, this is easy, but for others it can be an agonizing decision, almost like naming a pet. So, if you or your child is struggling to come up with a name for a new stuffable friend, then read over some of these tips to finding the perfect name:

    Consider your toy’s features

    Take a good look at your stuffed animal. Is it fluffy? Does it have a big head? Is it a teddy bear or a dinosaur? The features of your stuffed animal will help you find some inspiration for finding the right name.

    Keep it simple

    You don’t want a long and complicated name for your stuffed animal—you might find yourself forgetting it—so keep it short and sweet. If you really do want a longer name, then consider using a nickname that you can regularly use.

    Name it after someone or something

    Do you have a person or something you admire? Then feel free to name your stuffed animal after them! It’s a touching tribute, plus it’ll ensure that you always remember the name. You can even shorten the name of someone. For example, if someone you know is named Michael, then name your stuffed animal Mike or Mikey.

    Don’t overthink it

    At the end of the day, it’s best not to overthink the name you give your stuffed animal. While you may want something special and unique, there’s nothing wrong with naming your stuffed animal “Fluffy” if that’s the first thing that pops into your head. Sometimes the names that come naturally are the best ones to use, so feel free to go with your gut when it comes to naming your stuffed animal.

    Looking for a new best friend for yourself or you child? Then take a look at the stuffable animals brought to you by The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we’re sure you’ll find the right friend—and the right name—for you.

  • The Best Stuffed Toys from the 80s

    Kids today have smartphones, tablets, and a whole array of fancy gadgets for them to fiddle with. Not so much for kids of the 80s. If you’re an 80s kid, you likely had a very different childhood—one that included toys like the Cabbage Patch Kids or Ruxpin Bears. Certainly not smartphones (unless playing with your parents’ Motorola counts). So today, we at The Zoo Factory are taking a trip down memory lane to see all of the different toys 80s kids grew up with.

    Cabbage Patch Kids

    We can’t talk about the 80s without including the Cabbage Patch Kids. While some people thought these dolls were ugly, the mass majority of Americans were buying them in bulk. Every kid in the 80s was dying to have a Cabbage Patch Doll, and parents caused riots in order to get their hands on one of them.

    Care Bears

    These adorable, colorful bears were originally designed for greeting cards in the early 80s, but by 1983 they were turned into teddy bears, followed by a TV series that ran until 1988. Each Care Bear had a symbol on its belly that corresponded to its name and ability from which it drew its powers. There were even Care Bear Cousins which could be other animals like lions, rabbits, or dogs.

    Pound Puppies

    Pound Puppies (and their kitten counterparts Pound Purries) were extremely popular in the mid to late 80s. They came in an assortment of colors and each Pound Puppy or Purry came with their own cardboard carrying case and adoption papers. Similar to Care Bears, Pound Puppies also had their own TV show featuring several puppy characters.

    Teddy Ruxpin

    For some, Ruxpin bears were adorable, for others, they were downright creepy. No matter your opinion on Ruxpin bears, though, no one can deny how popular they were in the 80s. They were so popular, in fact, that a legendary baseball player was traded for 500 of them.

    80s kids have grown up, and many of their favorite toys are no longer around, but that doesn’t mean your own children can’t enjoy a stuffed toy of their own. If you’re looking for the perfect stuffed toy for your child, then take a look at our selection here at The Zoo Factory. From teddy bears to dinosaurs, we have plenty of stuffable animals that your child is sure to love!

  • Buying the Best Stuffed Animals for Any Age

    Stuffed animals become well loved and treasured family members to a child. Even many adults still have their favorite stuffed teddy or kitty from their youth, and often these animals are passed down from one generation to another as beloved heirlooms. But all stuffed animals are not appropriate for all ages and there are a few things to take into consideration before gifting one of these childhood joys.

    Ages 0-2

    Very young children between the ages of 0-2 years of age require stuffed toys that have nothing that can be accidentally swallowed. This means no lights, noise makers, or clothing. The animal should be small enough to be comfortably held by the child, and brightly colored for attention and interest. The hair should be short so that it can't be chewed and swallowed, and it should also be washable.

    Ages 3-12

    For children ages 3 and up, look for some of the child’s favorite animals. Never get a stuffed toy that the child might be scared of. You should buy a stuffed animal that has some longevity, as this will likely be the toy that sticks with your child through most of their childhood. Also, keep in mind what kind of storage is available in the home where the child lives. Very large stuffed animals are unique and fun, but most children like to be able to easily hold and often sleep with the animal.

    Ages 12+

    Even adult’s love stuffed animals. Buying a dear friend a replacement for a beloved stuffed animal that has been lost or is in an irreparable state can be a very thoughtful thing to do. Not to mention that stuffed animals can help us relax and sleep better at night.

    If you're looking for a stuffed animal for your child, friend, or even yourself, then take a look at our selection here at The Zoo Factory. With plenty of animals to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect stuffed animal for your needs.

  • Why It’s OK to Bring Your Stuffed Animal to College

    Leaving home for the first time can be a scary experience. As a result, the first year of college is often one of the toughest there is. So when you’re packing your things for college, consider bringing your stuffed animal along with you. Here’s why:

    They help with homesickness

    Dropped in a new environment far away from the things and people you know, it’s completely normal to feel a little homesick. Bringing along pieces of home, though, can help ease those emotions and make them easier to handle. Stuffed animals are perfect for this, as they’re not only reminders of home, but also of all of the good memories from throughout your life.

    They’re great for emotional support

    The first year of college is tough. You not only have to deal with homesickness and a new environment, but also the everyday stresses that school can bring (exams, drama, etc.). Being able to return to your dorm and hug your teddy after a bad day will help you get through whatever you’re having to deal with.

    They’re cute dorm decoration

    Let’s face it, dorm rooms aren’t exactly the height of luxury. Therefore, filling your dorm with cute objects like stuffed animals will make your dorm feel more comfortable and homier (two things that will also help with homesickness).

    They’re conversation starters

    Cute or unique dorm decoration also make great conversation starters. It’s something that people will naturally gravitate to and ask questions about, so it can help if you’re struggling with making friends.

    So before you head out for college, be sure you bring along a stuffable friend to keep you company. And if you don’t have a stuffed animal on-hand, then be sure to check out the stuffable animals here at The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals for you to choose from that are sure to help you during those first few weeks of college.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Why Pets Loved Stuffed Animals Like We Do

    Growing up, our first best friend was likely our favorite stuffed animal. We all carried around our teddy bears, stuffed dogs, stuffed cats, and more. We all carried our treasured stuffed animals through life to help us tackle tough times and sleep through the night.

    As children, we really love and cherish our stuffed animals and we see similar patterns of behavior when it comes to our pets.

    It’s in Their Genes

    Different dog breeds exhibit different character traits towards stuffed animals based on their ancestors. Dogs traditionally used for hunting and carrying game, such as retriever breeds, enjoy carrying around stuffed animals in their mouth because the feeling is familiar.

    Dogs that are passionate about playing fetch or chasing things also enjoy the playful aspect of stuffed animals. Stuffed animals rip apart easily and many dogs enjoy it because it triggers that “hunting” instinct that they can’t help but satisfy.

    Pets Plays Favorites

    Both dogs and cats have “that one toy” that seems to be their favorite, but what makes a certain stuffed animal a “favorite” for your pet? Many different reasons could explain why your pet might like one stuffed toy the most, from the size and smell to the shape and texture.

    Your pet probably also enjoys how that specific toy makes them feel or they might believe they are taking care of the toy like they would care for a puppy or kitten. Pets create attachments to their favorite stuffed animals and associate them with mothering, playfulness, or relaxation.

    Our Pets Love Us

    Pets are intelligent and can make connection between special moments with their favorite toy and happy memories of you. Giving your dog or cat a new toy makes them happy with you, symbolizing a special moment that impacts your pet in a unique way.

    Perhaps because you gave your pet a stuffed animal and because they love and respect you, they choose to love and care for the toy as a result! This is likely why our pets attempt to play with us when playing with their toys!

    Stuffed animals bring a tremendous amount of joy to us and to our pets, providing everyone with comfort and love.

    Looking for a stuffed animal for a loved one? With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from,  The Zoo Factory likely has your child’s new favorite friend and toy.

  • The Healthy Aspects of Attachments to Stuffed Animals

    As a parent, it can become overwhelming to feel the judgements of other parents.  People will likely lecture you, specifically as your children grow, on what types of items your children should be growing out of.

    The Zoo Factory has highlighted how a child’s attachment to a stuffed animal is not as alarming as many parents believe.

    Children are Less Shy with Attachments to Objects

    When a child has an attachment to an object such as a teddy bear or blanket, they generally feel more brave and comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

    As children develop attachments to comforting objects, they will learn to interact in a comfortable manner. A child doesn’t receive any judgments from a teddy bear which is why children often view them as “friends” and gain a sense of security from them, regardless of their age.

    Increased Empathy in Social Situations

    As children establish bonds with comforting objects such as teddy bears, they learn how to handle transitions along with unfamiliar environments. When a child has the comfort of a stuffed animal, it usually increases their overall empathy and helps them to understand other people’s desire to feel comfort. Children care deeply about their stuffed animals which helps them develop a sense of empathy for people as well.

    As children grow into adolescence and adulthood, they will eventually let go of their beloved friend, but every child has their own schedule.

    Do you recall a stuffed animal or blanket that you were really attached to? You might still even have it somewhere! The Zoo Factory has a variety of stuffed animals that might just be your child’s new best friend for life.

  • 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.

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