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The Top 3 Most Popular Fictional Bears

little girl reading to her teddy bear

Each of us remembers when we were young and had a stuffed animal that was our best friend. We also remember the many fictional bears that we read about in books or saw on the TV. Many famous fictional bears were a crucial part of our childhood, establishing our love for teddy bears for years to come. Below are three of the most popular fictional bears from years’ passed.

Winnie the Pooh

Why do we continue to love Winnie the Pooh so much? Maybe it’s his boyish charm, or his innate ability to love his friends (Christopher Robin, Piglet, even Eeyore) no matter what. Or maybe it’s the chance that he’ll likely fall into a jar of honey at least once while you’re watching. Since he premiered in the 1920s, Winnie the Pooh has captivated young audiences. And for good reason. In fact, a movie titled “Christopher Robin” was just released in theaters highlighting Winne the Pooh and his friends in 2018.

Paddington Bear

We recently found out that one day, a man named Michael Bond took shelter from the snow, and laid his eyes on a teddy bear at a store nearby Paddington Station, in London. He purchased the bear for his wife and was then inspired to write his first book featuring the character, Paddington Bear, a duffel-coat-wearing teddy who migrates from Peru to London to start a new life. He also loves marmalade sandwiches. The books written about this beloved bear eventually sold over 30 million copies.

Yogi

Ayyyy, Boo-Boo! A Warner Bros. classic, we had to give a mention to Yogi the Bear, who, along with his sidekick Boo-Boo, are on the hunt for picnic baskets, and fun. Yogi first appeared in 1958 on a show titled “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and his success spiraled from there. He was known to be “smarter than the average bear.”

These are just some of the fictional bears that we’ll remember forever, many of which continue to create new audiences with feature films, cartoons, and books alike.

At The Zoo Factory, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of make-your-own stuffed animals. With dozens of fun, soft animals to choose from, your child can pick out his or her new favorite friend and toy.

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How a Teddy Bear Might Help Your Child Sleep

Little boy sleeping with teddy bear

Dreaded are the nights your child doesn’t sleep, whether they are flat-out refusing to go to bed or waking you up often because they simply can’t sleep at all. Establishing a bedtime routine often becomes a nightly battle with little ones. Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can extend from the night well into the morning, following your child to school which can contribute to trouble retaining information, a lack of concentration, and even behavioral problems.

However, recent research shows that there are a variety of ways to remedy these problems, some of which might surprise you!  A healthy sleep routine should be encouraged by both parents and educators.

Creating a bedtime routine

Research has shown that teddy bears can be effective when demonstrating a sleep routine to a child. Parents and educators alike have been using the teddy bear to teach children how to develop a bed time routine. By having a child instruct a teddy bear on how to get ready for bed, much like a parent would instruct a child, a child can learn to model and mock the behavior.

A source of comfort

Teddy bears can not only help create a bedtime routine, but they can also provide a source of comfort. After all, who wouldn’t feel at ease curling up in bed with their favorite teddy? This is especially helpful for kids that deal with nightmares, as a teddy bear can keep them calm and hopefully keep the nightmares away.

Interested in incorporating a beloved teddy bear into your child’s bedtime routine? Visit The Zoo Factory today and choose from dozens of fun and soft teddy bears and animals.

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How Teddy Bears Help with Alzheimer’s and Childhood Trauma

How Teddy Bears Help with Alzheimer's and Childhood Trauma

Teddy bears are used in children’s hospitals, senior living homes, and by psychologists as therapeutic tools which help our minds cope with life events and circumstances. These soft and cuddly animals make for great collector’s items and even cute decorations, but they can also impact people’s lives for the better. Research has shown that teddy bears can help individuals cope with Alzheimer’s and childhood trauma. Learn more below:

Healing Childhood Trauma

If a person struggles with their worth or feels unlovable, it’s because something created these core beliefs very early. Childhood trauma is usually the culprit and when left ignored, it festers into a broken adulthood.

So how do you deal with childhood trauma in adulthood? You must first deal with the inner child, which a teddy bear is representative of. Adults can use their new companion to represent how they wanted to be treated as a child.

This behavior of treating the teddy bear as an actual child should be on-going for changes to take effect. This may feel strange at first, but it helps the adult learn how to nurture others, feel less alone, and realize that self-care is important.

Therapy for Alzheimer’s

Sometimes the simplest things can bring pleasure to someone. Teddy bears give Alzheimer’s patients something to love and cherish and even take care of. It’s a great tool to help the patient connect with their world and feel a part of it.

If the patient has trouble relating with other people, dramatic play is a great way to foster that connection and relate in a meaningful way. For some, the teddy bear alone is helpful and gives them something to “talk” to.

Others like to care for the bear as they would a baby and give it a lot of affection. For some seniors, this fulfills their day and gives them a sense of responsibility.

We hope the next time you look at a teddy bear, you’ll see that it can be used as more than just a child’s toy. At the Zoo Factory, we have a wide variety of 8 and 16 inch bears and other stuffed animals for bulk sale. We also have a selection of outfits that can enhance the therapy experience for you.

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The Story Behind ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ Song

“If you go down in the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today, you’d better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic…”

If you find yourself singing along to these lyrics, then you’re certainly not the only one. “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” has been a hit with all ages for over 100 years. First written in 1907, this song represents the love each generation has for our stuffed teddy bears.

“The Teddy Bear Two-step”

The very first teddy bear was made in 1902, and they soon took the nation by storm. They were so popular, in fact, that they became inspiration for books and, eventually, songs. In 1907, John W. Bratton, an American composer, wrote “The Teddy Bear Two-step.” This version had no lyrics, but it nevertheless gained traction among the American public. In fact, one of the first recordings of the song occurred in 1907 by the Black Diamond Band.

The Lyrics

It took nearly thirty years until lyrics were added to “The Teddy Bear Two-Step.” Written by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy in 1932, this is the version that we know and love today. It was renamed “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” and it was first recorded by Henry Hall and His Orchestra, with the vocals done by Val Rosing. The song went on to be covered by several other famous singers including Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Anne Murray.

So, if you plan on going down to the woods today, make sure you bring along your friend teddy bear. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of teddy bears that are sure to enjoy their teddy bear picnic. Look through our inventory or contact us today for more information.

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The Teddy Bear That Travels the World

We all dream of leaving our normal routines and traveling the world someday. Well, as it turns out, one adventurous teddy bear is doing just that. As the travel companion of travel writer Elaine Warner, Fuzzy has traveled from Spain to Norway to the Americas and back again. Read on to learn more:

Society of American Travel Writers

The Society of American Travel Writers is a networking organization for travel writers, journalists, photographers, and other content producers. It sponsors journalists like Warner to travel the world and write about interesting places and people. About 15 years ago, the SATW started a traveling teddy program where their travel journalists would bring teddy bears along with them. These teddy bears would be assigned to classrooms where they would write to students about where they’ve been.

Teddy’s Travels

Unfortunately, the program quickly dwindled. Travel journalists have to carry a lot of equipment with them, and it became difficult to constantly keep a teddy bear with them at all times. However, one teddy bear continued with his travels. Fuzzy, the teddy bear companion of Warner, continued to travel with her on her many trips. In the past 15 years, Fuzzy has been to the Grand Canyon, Madrid, Cornwall, and more. In 2008, Warner began a blog for Fuzzy called Teddy’s Travels where she documents what Fuzzy did at their most recent destination, even sharing some pictures of Fuzzy at famous places around the world.

A Learning Tool

Teddy’s Travels isn’t just a cute blog for people to follow, it has also become a learning tool for many classrooms around the country. “It’s very hand if you have five minutes between subjects or when it’s almost time for lunch or recess and you don’t want to start something new,” said Warner. “Teachers can take it as far as they want, or just use it for that. I once had a teacher who kept track of where the bear was going on a map in her classroom, and if the children were taking a trip themselves, she asked them to journal their stories.”

Looking for a travel companion of your own? Then check out some of the stuffable animals we have here at The Zoo Factory.

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That Time Luis Tiant Was Traded for 500 Teddy Bears

In baseball, a player is typically traded for one of two things: another player, or a prospect. It’s not usually teddy bears. Usually. But in 1989, the three-time All-Star pitcher Luis Tiant was traded for a whopping 500 teddy bears (as well as outfielder Ralph Garr). Here’s how the trade went down:

Luis Tiant and the Senior Professional Baseball Association

Luis Tiant was a starting pitcher in the MLB for 19 years, pitching primarily for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. During those 19 years, he was a three-time All-Star, a 20-game winner for four seasons, and he ended his MLB career with a 229-172 record. He retired in 1982, and 7 years later he joined the Senior Professional Baseball Association, a short-lived winter league for some of the MLB’s former stars.

The Trade

Tiant entered the SFBA as a player for the Winter Haven Super Sox, but just before the season began, he was traded away to the Miami-based Gold Coast Suns for, you guessed it, 500 teddy bears and outfielder Ralph Garr. However, these weren’t just any ordinary teddy bears—they were Ruxpin bears, mechanical teddy bears that 80s kids will likely remember. If you put a cassette tape inside the bear, he would read to you, his eyes moving in a slightly disturbing fashion.

Why 500 Teddy Bears?

There were two reasons why a legendary pitcher was traded away for 500 Ruxpin bears. The first reason was because the Gold Coast Suns’ owner, Russell Berrie, was in the novelty-toy business. The second reason, and likely the main reason, was because the Suns wanted to use some of the bears as part of a giveaway to entice fans. However, it wasn’t particularly successful. The game drew fewer than 300 fans.

But what did Tiant think of the trade?

“It’s okay. I don’t mind. I just wanted to go closer to Miami.”

In that, it was 500 teddy bears well-spent.

We may not be able to offer you 500 teddy bears for your star pitcher, but we at The Zoo Factory have plenty of teddy bears for you to choose from, no baseball players required. Take a look through our inventory to find your new best friend today.

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How Children Benefit from Playing with Teddy Bears

Girl Hugging white Teddy Bear

Whether your child is just learning to walk or is conquering their first year of elementary school, they are sure to have a favorite toy. It may be a doll or an action figure, but more likely than not it’s a stuffed teddy bear.

Why? It may have to do with the many benefits that a stuffed teddy bear friend can provide. From word recognition to emotional discovery, these benefits begin when your child is a baby and continue on throughout their school years.

Practice life skills

Playing with teddy bears and other stuffed animal friends allows our children to practice life skills. They are constantly learning, role playing with their stuffed animals and teaching them how to perform tasks like brushing their teeth and getting dressed for school.

Socialization

Teddy bears also provide an early form of socialization. Whether your child is having a tea party with all their favorite stuffed animals or is the teacher in a school filled with fluffy rabbit, dog and teddy bear students, there are endless opportunities to learn good behavior. And if your child is particularly shy, a teddy bear can help them make new friends.

Teaches them about other animals

Even as our children get older, introducing them to wild and exotic stuffed animal friends – like crocodiles, hippos and gorillas – is a way to inspire learning. When they have a new and unique animal hanging out with them every day, they are sure to want to learn more about the creatures and its habitats!

If we’ve convinced you of the real benefits a stuffed teddy can bring to your child, then be sure to check out all of the stuffable teddy bears that we at The Zoo Factory have to offer. If you’re not, convinced, however, feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns!

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How Teddy Bear Clinics Are Changing Doctors’ Appointments

Playing Doctor with Stuffed Animal

Many children hate going to the doctors. Adults don’t like it much either, but for children the doctors’ office is filled with a lot unknown, scary things. Unfamiliar faces, strange equipment, and painful shots are just a few of the things they have to deal with at their annual checkup. No wonder, then, that our children often scream and cry throughout their appointment. However, a recent trend is aiming to change that.

What are teddy bear clinics?

Across the country, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and children’s programs have started hosting annual “teddy bear clinics”—a place to take your favorite teddy to get their annual check-up, just like you or your child would.  They go through the usual routines, talking with nurses, getting their shots, and checking their heart all with the child standing beside them, even helping. Some clinics even have the children perform the procedures themselves, and once it’s over, the teddy bear gets its diagnosis and heads home with any recommendations on how to improve their health.

How do they help?

So what’s the point of these clinics? Part of it is to have fun, another part is about the general health and safety of your child.

They ease the fear of doctors’ appointments

Teddy bear clinics offer a chance for children to get familiar with what happens at a doctor’s office.  All of those scary people and shots don’t seem so scary anymore when children see them up close in a friendly environment with their favorite teddy bear at their side.

They teach healthy habits

As their teddy gets their check-up, the children will also learn more about exercise, proper nutrition, and other healthy habits that they can practice in their daily lives. The more they learn, the better off they’ll be in terms of their health.

Here at The Zoo Factory, we care deeply about the health of our children and our teddies. And if your child is looking for a new best friend, then take a look at all of the teddy bears—and other stuffable animals—that we provide. Just be sure they get their annual check-up!

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The Story Behind the Real Winnie the Pooh

Bear Stamp

We all grew up on the tales of Christopher Robin and his beloved Winnie the Pooh, but did you know that Winnie the Pooh was based off of a real-life bear? Meet Winnie, the bear cub that joined a Canadian brigade and met Christopher Robin at the London Zoo.

Winnipeg Bear

Harry Colebourn was a veterinarian tending horses in the First World War. He was on his way to Quebec to join his fellow soldiers heading overseas when, while waiting for his train, he came across a young bear cub for sale. Buying the cub for a grand total of $20, Colebourn named it “Winnipeg Bear” after the town he grew up in—although most just called the cub “Winnie” for short. Winnie went with Colebourn to Quebec, and later to England where Colebourn was stationed.

The Brigade’s Mascot

Upon arrival in England, Winnie soon fell-in with the rest of Colebourn’s troop, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. She became the mascot for the brigade, and soldiers often played with her whenever they had downtime. However, when word came that the brigade was heading to France, Colebourn was ordered not to bring Winnie with them. As such, Colebourn loaned Winnie to the London Zoo.

Winnie Meets Christopher Robin

Winnie became a popular animal at the London Zoo. She was so tame that children would ride on her back and feed her sweets. This was where the young Christopher Robin and his father, A. A. Milne, first met Winnie. They soon became frequent visitors, and Robin named his own teddy bear after Winnie, combining it with the name of a friend’s pet swan, Pooh, to come up with the name Winnie the Pooh. Inspired, A. A. Milne would publish Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, basing the character off of his son’s teddy bear.

Teddy bears, and other stuffed animals, are wonderful sources of inspiration, both for you and your child. Get yours today at The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals for you to choose from!

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How the Teddy Bear Got Its Name

Teddy Bear with Ribbon

We all love our favorite teddy bear, but why exactly do we call them ‘teddy bears’? And why did people start making them in the first place? Turns out, it’s all thanks to a certain U.S. President and a hunting trip gone wrong.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Hunting Trip

On November 14, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, went on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi. The trip didn’t go well. The group of hunters had spent three days in the wilderness tracking bears, only to come up empty. Finally, on the fourth day, Roosevelt’s hunting guide, Holt Collier, managed to track down an old, tired bear. Tying it to a tree, he went back to the President and encouraged him to shoot it. Finding this very unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused, and went home empty handed.

A Political Cartoon and a Candy Shop

News spread about the incident, prompting Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, to draw a cartoon satirizing Roosevelt in the Washington Post. Two candy shop owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, saw the cartoon and had an idea. Rose had been making and selling stuffed toys in their shop for years, but she had never made a stuffed bear. The cartoon inspired her, so Rose made two stuffed bears and put them in the store window. Morris even asked for Roosevelt’s permission to call them “teddy bears,” since the President was often called “Teddy” by friends. Roosevelt loved the idea, as did the public, and they became an instant hit.

Over a hundred years later, teddy bears have become a staple of American culture, and no child should be without one. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable teddy bears to choose from, so take a look!