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The Benefits of Dress-Up Play

Halloween is coming up, so you know what that means—it’s time to take out our costumes and dress up as our favorite heroes and animals. And, as it turns out, playing dress-up can actually be extremely beneficial to our children. Here’s how:

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.

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Outfits: The Ultimate Accessory for Playtime

denim shortsWhen people think of the month of October, one of the things they also think of is Halloween. Of course, this will make us think of candy, but this is also a great time to dress up!

Everyone loves getting to pretend that they are someone else. Whether the costume is a pirate, or an animal, or a superhero, or even a fairy princess, Halloween is a time to play pretend and have loads of fun. But you know who else really loves to dress up? Your stuffable animals!

And this isn’t just during the month of October. The Zoo Factory has outfits that fit both the larger and smaller stuffed animals, and they work for any occasion!

For those casual days when it’s time to down with some playtime fun, we have options like denim shorts, plain colored T-shirts, frilly dressand even some pajamas too! These articles of clothing will allow your best friend to feel comfortable while playing with you!

And for those days where they need to look a little spiffier, we have dressier options as well! From frilly dresses to sequined shirts to tutus, we have everything that you and your stuffable animal could ever need for a fun night out on the town.

October as we mentioned before is a great time to dress up, there are just so many possibilities! Just like you, your stuffable animals have a personality all their own, and wouldn’t it be nice to have outfits that expressed that for them as well?

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How to Care for American Girl Dolls and Other 18″ Dolls

Most little girls love to play with their dolls. They imitate their mothers and things that they see portrayed in family TV shows. What little girl hasn’t fed her “dolly” real food and drink, and loved her almost to death?  So there is bound to be a certain amount of wear and tear and the occasional stains and grime. Caring for your American Girl doll is not difficult, and if you perform regular maintenance, your doll will stay “healthy” for years.

Caring for the skin

The skin of your American Girl doll is made of a soft, porous vinyl, which will absorb stains, so follow these cleaning tips.

  • Cover the doll’s eyes so they do not get wet and remember to protect the soft, fabric body and the hair as well as you can.
  • With a damp, lukewarm cloth, wipe down the doll’s skin
  • Make a paste with warm water and baking soda and gently apply the paste with your cloth, in a circular motion
  • After you have removed the stain or grime use a clean damp cloth to wipe off the paste, and pat the skin dry with a towel.
  • NEVER submerge the doll in water.


Caring for the hair

For styling, never use human hair care products such as mousses, shampoos or styling gels, and never use hot rollers, curling irons, hair straightening irons, or blow dryers. Just lightly mist the hair to make it more manageable for styling and, for best results, use our Doll Hairbrush and Sparkly Hair Pick. For a detailed how-to, refer to our earlier blog: How to Wash and Style Your American Girl Doll’s Hair.

Caring for clothes

Know beforehand if the clothes are color fast. As washing machines are not gentle for doll clothes, hand wash them in the sink using either a mild soap or equal parts water and vinegar. Don’t wring the clothes dry, but pat them dry with a towel and then lay them flat to finish drying.  For wool clothing always hand wash in cold water and use a wool cleaner like Woolite or a mild baby shampoo.

Caring for your American Girl doll can be a fun activity for you and your child, and with just a little love and care your American Girl doll will last for years.

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Five Great Ways to Spoil Your Birthday Boy or Girl

By the time your son or daughter is in the tween years, you’re bound to start running out of creative gifts. To continue your reign as “parent of the year”, you’ll have to outdo yourself every year (which can get exhausting).

Gather ideas from Pinterest, meet with friends, or hit up eHow for an array if handmade DIY gift ideas. They’re sentimental, cost effective, and fun to make. Or, you can look at a few ideas that other parents love on forums and online communities

 Go Feral

cat purse gift for young girls birthday party
Animal prints and character purses are hot items with the pre-teen crowd. Opt for something like a stuffed animal purse, or an animal print clothing item.

Let the Customization Begin

Younger kids love to create things, especially when it comes to personalizing their toys, clothes, and living area. Red Envelope has fun, interactive pillows where kids can create characters and dress them, right on the pillow. Our guess is, this gift would take the fight right out of bedtime; it’s play-until-you-fall-asleep fun!

Get fun Props for the Party Theme

Photo Props from Paper Source always make for a silly and exciting time! Look for things that match the theme of the party. For example, if you were doing pirates, this Captain Hat & Beard would make a great party favor for guests to wear around!

Friendship Bracelets

Kids, particularly girls, love to honor and celebrate their friendship with matching bracelets, necklaces or scarves. Consider something like DIY projects where everyone can make two bracelets; be sure to tell everyone to give their item away after the party, to avoid any hurt feelings.

American Girl Dolls and/or Accessories

american girl doll clothing items and knockoff accessoriesA few weeks ago, we went in depth about our new collection of clothes that fit American Girl Dolls and other 18” dolls. These dolls are huge with younger girls, preteens, and girls often keep them as collectables when they outgrow them.If your intended has an American Girl Doll, a unique outfit, sports uniform, or cute sundress would be a wonderful gift.


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Best Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids – INFOGRAPHIC

Yes, we said Holiday. Wait! Before you do this:

online holiday shopping for kids toys

Read this:

Okay, we know it’s only September, and we know that feeling of nausea we all get when we hear holiday music in fall. We get it, it’s too early, and we want to hold on to thoughts of summer break, but did you know that most people start their holiday shopping in September? It makes sense if you think about it, there are a lot of reasons to start the holiday shopping as early as possible. The only reason you don’t want to start shopping too early (like May) is that wants and trends change. Moreover, if the anticipation gets the better of you, you may give in and give the gift early.  Fall is the perfect time, because it gives you enough time to shop at your convenience, and it gives you an insight into what’s cool at school this year.

Six Reasons to Start Your Holiday Shopping in September:

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”― Rita Mae Brown

  • You’ll Save Time – With more time and less people, you’ll be able to shop like it’s any other day of the year (because it is). Avoid long lines, volcanically hot stores, and grumpy people by shopping months ahead of the ‘crazy season’.
  • You’ll Minimize Stress – This ties in with the above points; there’s nothing more frustrating than shopping for fifteen minutes, only to wait in line for forty-five.
  • You’ll Choose Better Gifts – You’ll have a wider selection and more time to decide. This results in better, more thoughtful gifts
  • You’ll Earn Bragging Rights – When someone invites you shopping, you’ll have the rewarding experience of saying “I’m already done!”
  • You’ll Protect your Income – Wouldn’t it be better to spread your holiday budget over four months instead of four weeks?

Okay, so you’re ready to go shopping, but what if you have no idea what is “big” with kids this year? Stuffable animals are always safe, but for a few more ideas, check out this infographic below!

140 Most Popular Christmas Toys since 1900

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


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Why Girls Love American Girl Dolls & Their Accessories

american girl doll clothes and knock offsPleasent T. Rowland, a retired teacher and writer, founded the Pleasant company in 1986. Operating out of Middleton, Wisconsin, the company produced three dolls, each from a different era of American history. American girl dolls open up the imagination, filling a child’s eyes with wonder, and the doll comes with an educational benefit as well.

Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly were the first three original American girl dolls, each with her own set of historically accurate accessories and outfits. Their popularity exploded in the 90’s and kids still go crazy for them today.

American Girl Doll Nostalgia

The girls who grew up with American girl dolls are now having kids of their own, and parents love to give their children the same things they loved. Subsequently, the popularity has grown even more in the last few years.

Collecting American Girl Dolls, Clothes, and Accessories

When a child has one of these dolls, it opens up a world of options for gift-giving occasions. With a myriad of outfits and accessories available, you can appeal to a youngster’s personality and give “The. Best. Gift. Ever.”

What Makes them Awesome?

In addition to collecting and playing dress-up, girls are getting even more creative with the American Girl Dolls now. Check out this adorable dance video, featuring six American Girls. The impressive part? This was all done by a 9-year-old, with minimal help from an adult; looks like someone has a career in choreography or video production!!

 Which American Girl are You? Click Here to Find Out!