Stuffed Animals

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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