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Crafty Halloween: DIY Decorations Your Kids Will Love Making

Above view many different Halloween pumpkins made of felt or paper placed on wooden surface. Handmade halloween style bookmarks.

October is synonymous with the excitement of Halloween – a time where creativity comes to life, quite literally. Ghosts, goblins, witches, and their mystical companions adorn neighborhoods, but there’s something uniquely satisfying about handcrafted decorations. Engaging children in DIY Halloween crafts not only fosters creativity but also builds anticipation for the spookiest night of the year. Below are some whimsical, kid-friendly decoration ideas to make your home the talk of the town.

1. Ghostly Lanterns

Materials Needed: Old jars, white paint, black marker, and a tea light.

Instructions: Have your kids paint the outside of the jars with white paint. Once dried, draw ghostly faces using a black marker. Insert a tea light, and voila, you have a collection of eerie yet adorable ghost lanterns to light up the spooky night.

2. Pumpkin Painting

Materials Needed: Pumpkins and colorful paints.

Instructions: Carving can be a bit complex and messy for younger children. Instead, lay out a plethora of paint options and let your kids’ imaginations run wild. Monsters, witches, or even their favorite superheroes can come to life on the pumpkins!

3. Spider Sacks

Materials Needed: White yarn, small plastic spiders, and balloons.

Instructions: Wrap the yarn around inflated balloons, creating a web-like effect. Insert small plastic spiders in between the spaces. Once dry, pop the balloon, and you have a creepy-crawly spider sack to hang around the house.

Conclusion: Making Memories

These craft ideas are not just about adorning your home with Halloween decor but also about the experience and memories created during the process. Children’s pride in their creations and the joy of witnessing their artistry displayed fosters a sense of accomplishment and excitement.

While your kids are diving into their artistic pursuits, why not add an extra touch of magic with cuddly friends from The Zoo Factory? Our stuffed animals can be the cozy companions your children need during their creative escapades. Each critter is waiting to be brought to life with imagination, making the Halloween experience even more memorable. Discover our enchanting collection today, and let’s make this Halloween a fusion of spooky and snuggly!

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3 Tips on Choosing the Perfect Stuffed Animal for Your Little One

smiling girl playing with teddy bear

The holiday season is quickly approaching and soon, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will be searching for gifts for the children in their lives. In most cases, you can never go wrong with a stuffed animal. But how do you choose the right one for each of the special children on your list?

Classic Style

Think back to the childhood stuffed animal you shared all of your greatest adventures with. Chances are it was a classic teddy bear or another soft and snuggly animal like a rabbit or a dog. We recommend choosing a similar stuffed animal friend for your little one.


Sure, all of our children love the fun characters they watch on T.V., but it is unlikely that their adoration for this particular character will last. This is why a classic stuffed animal makes such a perfect gift. They will never go out of style, giving them the potential to remain your child’s best friend for years to come.

Neutral Color

Not sure what color stuffed animal your child will love most? Instead of choosing a bright color or wild pattern, opt for a neutral, natural color like brown or tan. This way, your child will be able to make their own choices with the stuffed animal, dressing then in fun costumes and clothing that match their own personal style.

Cuddly Soft

Another important factor when it comes to finding the perfect stuffed animal is how soft it is! Your child will want a stuffed animal friend that they can hug and snuggle when they need some extra support. And with a Zoo Factory stuffable animal, you will be able to choose exactly how much stuffing you use to create that cuddly feel!

As the holiday draw near and you start your shopping, head to The Zoo Factory to select the perfect stuffed animals (and outfits) from our online selection. We have everything you need to make this holiday season a special one for the children in your life.

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids

mother and daughter holding up valentines day hearts

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. You can also plan some special activities for your kids. So, before you head out on your romantic dinner with your partner, check out some of these Valentine’s Day activities you can enjoy with your kids.

Craft valentines together

Who doesn’t love getting a valentines on Valentine’s Day? Hand-crafted one from your children are especially thoughtful, both for other kids and adults in your life. Plan out a short list of who your children want to give their valentines to, collect some crafting supplies, and let them at it.

Bake some chocolate goodies

The hallmark of Valentine’s Day is, of course, chocolate. While you can always get chocolate from the store, it’ll mean that much more to people if it’s homemade. Plus, you can make some extras and enjoy them yourself! Just make sure your kids are staying safe in the kitchen as you bake.

Decorate the house

If you’re making valentines, you can save some extra supplies for Valentine’s Day decorations around the house. Hand-made paper hearts are always a classic. You can hang them over entryways, or you can tape them to the walls throughout your house.

Plan a special treat for when you’re out

You and your partner will likely want some time away from the kids on Valentine’s Day. For many parents, this means going out for a romantic dinner. But don’t just leave your kids home alone with the babysitter. Instead, plan something special for them while you’re gone for the night. For example, you could rent their favorite movie so they can watch it while you’re away, or you can get them a stuffable animal kit from The Zoo Factory.

Get them something special

Everyone loves getting gifts on Valentine’s Day. It’s the perfect way to express your love. When it comes to your kids, consider getting them some of their favorite candies or an adorable teddy bear.

Here at The Zoo Factory, we have many teddy bears and other stuffable animals that your children will adore this Valentine’s Day. Look through our website today to get started!

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How to Donate Old Baby Items

stuffed animal sitting next to donation box

The holidays are the season of giving. That doesn’t just mean giving gifts to our loved ones; it also means giving back to the community. One way we can give back is to donate old baby items we are no longer using. As parents, we understand how expensive raising children can be. So, donating your old baby items can seriously help some families that have fallen on hard times.

Here we explain how, where, and what old baby items you can donate this holiday season.

What to donate

Before you start throwing everything you have into the donation bin, stop for a moment to see what you’re actually donating. First off, there are some items you may want to keep for sentimental reasons or if you’re planning on having another child down the road. Secondly, there are some items that donation places will not accept. Used bottles, expired car seats (yes, car seats have an expiration date!), or used crib mattresses are a few items that should not be donated.

Below are items that you can donate to your local charity:

  • Baby clothes
  • New diapers and/or wipes
  • Car seats that are not expired
  • Cribs that are safety compliant
  • Unused baby food or formula
  • High chairs
  • Bouncy seats
  • Walkers
  • Baby toys

Where to donate

Now that you have set aside some items to donate, it’s time to pack them up. But where exactly can you take them? Here are a few ideas:

  • Thrift Stores: Community non-profits such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take your old baby items and sell them at a deeply discounted price.
  • Baby Banks: These are non-profit organizations that are basically just like food banks except for baby items.
  • Religious Centers: Many religious organizations, no matter their affiliation, will take old items and donate them to people in need.
  • Social Media: Many parenting groups on social media will help spread the word on organizations or individuals in need of baby items.

Here at The Zoo Factory, we hope all kids and families have a happy holiday season. For more child caring tips, read through our blog today!

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How to Buy the Perfect Gift for Your Niece or Nephew

adult handing christmas present to young girl

Buying a gift for your niece or nephew can be challenging. Kids are not afraid to tell you when they don’t like something, and as soon as they rip open your gift, their face will let you know right away whether you hit the mark or not.

Here are a few ways to ensure you nail that present and leave your tiny relatives grinning from ear to ear.

Pay Attention to Their Interests

When you spend time with your niece or nephew, what are they talking to you about? What show do they keep quoting or what superhero is on their T-shirt? To guarantee a perfect gift, you need to know their interests. Many people blindly roam the toy aisle and have no idea what character or sport their niece or nephew likes. Keeping a mental note of what they are currently obsessed with will save you a good amount of time on your hunt for the best gift.

Get Interactive Gifts

Instead of getting your niece or nephew a toy car or something they will play with once and forget about, get them a gift they must put together and interact with. Kids appreciate the toys that they helped bring to life and create. Gifting your niece or nephew their favorite stuffed animal that they get to help build is a great way to guarantee a genuine love and appreciation for your gift.

Take Them Somewhere

Make their present an adventure. Kids love going places, especially with their favorite aunt or uncle. For their gift, explain that you are taking them to their favorite place. It could be the zoo or aquarium or maybe even a toy store. You can make a whole day out of it and let them pick out their gift. Kids know what they want. If you surprise them with a trip to a toy store, they will pick out exactly what they desire, and both parties leave happy.

When buying a present for your niece or nephew, you need to put thought into it. You can’t just buy a generic child’s toy and expect to get a standing ovation. The best way to nail the gift is to make it something you can do together, whether that’s giving life to a stuffed teddy bear or taking them to their favorite place. If all else fails, asking them what they want will guarantee an informative answer.

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Kids and Gift Giving: How to Help Your Kids Buy Gifts for Others

kid giving christmas gifts to mom and grandma

During the holiday season, one of our top priorities as parents is to get the best gifts for our kids. But what about the gifts that our kids give to others? If you have young children at home, chances are they’ll need a bit of help buying and giving gifts to their friends and relatives. So, to make things easier, we’ve listed out a few tips on how you can help your kids with gift giving.

Let them get creative

As adults, we often think the most useful gifts are the best gifts. But often, a hand-crafted gift from our child or grandchild is even more thoughtful. So, if your child wants to get creative with their presents, let them. Plan a special shopping trip where your child can gather supplies, and then set aside a day (or several) where your child can work on their gifts. Don’t try to intervene too much, only when your child needs help.

Give advice, but don’t tell them what to buy

If your child doesn’t want to create a gift, buying one is always perfectly acceptable. However, before you pull out that list of Christmas gifts, try brainstorming with your kids about possible gift ideas. Let them be the ones to come up with the idea by posing questions that may trigger something. For example, ask your child what someone’s favorite color is, or what their favorite thing to do on the weekends is to help get them thinking.

Set monetary limits, or let them pitch in

Many kids don’t understand how money works yet. So, they may come up with a great gift idea only for you to find that gift costs a few hundred dollars. As such, be sure to enforce some monetary limits. And if your kid gets an allowance, ask them to pitch in with some of their own money.

Whether you’re buying gifts for your child or for someone else in your family, consider a stuffable animal from here at The Zoo Factory. Look through our website today to get started!

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Holiday Activity Ideas for Kids

child making handcrafted christmas trees

Thanksgiving turkey, Hanukkah candles, Christmas trees…there’s nothing quite like the holiday season. As adults, we remember how much fun we had with our friends and family around this time. So, why not recreate those happy memories with your own children? Here, we discuss some of the best activities you can do with your kids this holiday season.


If you have kids who are old enough, consider having them help make something for Thanksgiving dinner. Cookies, potatoes, or anything else that is relatively simple to make can be a great bonding moment between you and your kids. If your kids are too young or uninterested in cooking, opt for crafts instead. Sit down in the days before Thanksgiving and make turkey handprints that you can hang around your home.


Unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, Hanukkah is spread across eight days. This means eight days full of fun activities celebrating Jewish history. You can make hand-made dreidels to play with, or decorate the house with the paper Star of Davids and menorahs. You can also teach your children about the story of Hanukkah by hiding candles underneath plastic cups and shuffling them around. Have the kids guess which candle is hidden under which cups, and then have an adult light them to re-enact the story.


From baking Christmas cookies to decorating your tree, there is plenty of things to do to celebrate the Christmas season. Make an advent calendar to count the days, and then plan small activities every few days. You can make hand crafts one day, and then bake Christmas treats and cookies the next. You can also decorate your house (both inside and out) with Christmas decorations or send out hand-crafted Christmas cards to friends and family.


Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday starting on December 26, celebrated by Black Americans. To learn about Kwanzaa, the children’s book “The Story of Kwanzaa” by Donna L. Washington is a great place to start. You can then sit down and have your kids create their own crafts, such as necklaces, bracelets, and more. They can even write their own stories about Kwanzaa and bind it into a book!

As you’re searching for gift ideas for your kids this holiday season, consider getting them a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. Look through our website today to get started!

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How to Set Up a Holiday Budget (And Stick to It)

How to Set Up a Holiday Budget (And Stick to It)

The holiday season may be a bit different this year, but there are some things you can always count on. Specifically, buying lots of presents for your kids and family members in the last few weeks of the year. While we love getting the perfect gifts for the people we love, our bank accounts say otherwise.

With a holiday budget, you can get those perfect gifts without breaking the bank. Here’s how to get started:

Project your income

To understand how many gifts you can buy, you first need to know how much money you’ll have on-hand. Calculate your total net income (your income after taxes) until the last possible date you can buy presents. Then, subtract all of your necessary expenses. This should include your rent or mortgage payment, food expenses, utilities, gas, and other monthly necessities. The amount you have left is the amount you can spend on your gifts.

Make a list and check it twice

Next, it’s time to make a list. Start by listing out everyone you’re buying a present for. Then, take a look at the projected income you calculated earlier to see how much you can spend on each person. The amount you spend on an individual will depend on your relationship with that individual. For example, you’ll likely spend less money on your mother-in-law than you would on your kids.

Look out for sales, coupons, and rebates

The holiday season is full of sales, so use this to your advantage! Keep an eye on your potential present to see if the price drops anytime during the holiday season. Additionally, be sure to check other sites and stores to see if they have lower prices. You can use one of the many Chrome extensions that automatically search for sales and coupons to make this process easier.

Keep track of your expenses

As you start buying presents, keep track of how much you’re spending. Take the list you created earlier and subtract the expense from the total budgeted amount you have for each individual. For example, if you’re setting aside $50 for your husband, and then you buy a gift for him that costs $25, subtract the 25 from the 50. You can save the extra 25 for another gift, you can spend that extra on someone else, or you can save it for later.

Are you looking for the perfect holiday present for your kids or loved ones? Then take a look at some of our stuffable animals here at The Zoo Factory!

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How to Celebrate the Holiday Season During COVID-19

How to Celebrate the Holiday Season During COVID-19

For many of us, the coronavirus has derailed many of our holiday plans. All of those big dinners and fancy Christmas parties are now taking a back seat as we strive to protect our family’s health. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean the holidays are completely ruined. There are still ways to celebrate with your immediate family and to let your kids have fun as well.

Have a video chat with other family members

We may not be able to spend time together in person, but we can spend time together virtually. Schedule a video chat with friends and family members outside of your household to spend quality time together this holiday season. You can even do this on Christmas Day as you’re opening each other’s presents.

Bake Christmas cookies with the kids

Who doesn’t love Christmas cookies? Not only will you have a tasty treat, but baking Christmas cookies is also a great bonding moment with your kids. Put on their favorite holiday movie and get to work baking their favorite Christmas cookies.

Do outdoor activities together

Socializing outdoors is much safer than socializing indoors. While you should still be social distancing with individuals outside of your household, there are still plenty of safe, outdoor activities you can do. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cut down a Christmas tree
  • Go sledding
  • Drive or walk around with your kids to look at your neighborhood’s holiday decorations
  • Go ice skating
  • Build a snowman in your yard
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Hang up your outdoor decorations

Here at The Zoo Factory, we want everyone to have a happy and safe holiday season this year. For more holiday tips, read through our blog today!

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4 Need-to-Know Tips for Black Friday Shopping During COVID-19

4 Need-to-Know Tips for Black Friday Shopping During COVID-19

During any other year, you spend Black Friday perusing store shelves and hunting for the best deals. But with a global pandemic, things are bound to change. You still want to get your loved ones that perfect gift, but you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way as a result.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to navigate Black Friday shopping during COVID-19 safely. Here’s how:

Don’t shop only on Black Friday

Ten years ago, Black Friday was the only day to get a great deal. That’s not the case anymore. Thanksgiving week is full of sales for Brown Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Many stores are also extending their Black Friday deals, allowing shoppers to avoid the crowds.

Do curbside pickup

Do you want your gifts as soon as possible but don’t want to brave going into a store? Then opt for curbside pickup. Many stores such as Target and Lowe’s offer curbside pickup for their customers. Some local businesses are offering it as well. This may be the ideal choice for your holiday shopping, as many are expecting shipping delays from now through December.

Shop online…but early

No one says that you have to go to the store to shop. You can do much of your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home. However, if you plan to shop online, do it early. As we said before, shipping delays are expected for the holiday season. If you want to get your gifts in time, start buying them now.

Ship items directly to the recipient, not your home

If you buy your items online, don’t ship it to your home. Instead, ship the items directly to the intended recipient. This will reduce the risk of getting lost or delayed in the weeks leading up to Christmas or Hanukkah. Some stores will also gift wrap your item, though this will cost you extra.

To get started on your holiday shopping, check out some of our stuffable animal kits here at The Zoo Factory. We will ship your items in a quick and timely fashion, ensuring they get to their intended destination before the holiday season ends.