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3 Essential Tips for Traveling with a Stuffed Animal

happy little girl closing luggage suitcase in living room when she finishing packing and ready to travel with teddy bear

The summer season is a popular time for families to travel and take vacations. If you and your family are preparing for your next summer adventure, your little ones may want to bring their favorite stuffed animal along for the journey. Having a stuffed animal as a travel buddy is always fun for your child, but taking good care of them is important so they return home safe and sound!

Here are three essential tips for traveling with a stuffed animal.

1) Ensure They Are in Good Condition

Traveling can really take its toll, both on humans and on stuffed animals. Before you head off on your trip, you’ll want to check the condition of your child’s stuffed friend. If it’s seen better days and needs to be cleaned or sewn, then you should plan on fixing it up a few days before you leave.

2) Have a Separate Bag for Your Stuffable Friend

We’ve all heard the story of a child losing their favorite stuffed animal at the airport or on a road trip. While your kiddo may want to hold onto their stuffed animal at all times, keeping them in a bag while you’re moving about is often better. This will prevent your child from dropping it or accidentally leaving it at a rest stop. If you’re flying, you can keep the stuffed animal in a carry-on bag or checked bag, but it may be better to keep it in a carry-on if your child wants to play with it while on the plane.

3) Bring Clothes for Them

The best part of your child bringing their stuffed animal along for the trip is having them participate in the activities. To do this, bring some outfits fitted for your stuffed animal so that they can look the part. For example, if you’re heading to a beach resort, grab a swimsuit for the stuffed animal to wear by the water.

Looking for a traveling companion for your next family vacation? At The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable animals and outfits your child will love. From dinosaurs to sea creatures to custom t-shirts and accessories, we have everything your furry friend needs to participate in your child’s summer adventures.

Visit us online to browse our FAQ, view our current promotions, and place an order today!

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Upcycling Old Stuffed Animals into Spooky Halloween Décor

Halloween decorations on pastel pink background. flat lay, pumpkins, spiders and bats

As October’s chill sends delightful shivers down the spine and Halloween looms large, households are abuzz with preparations for the spookiest night of the year. This Halloween, instead of tucking away those old, beloved stuffed animals, why not breathe a second life into them? Transform your cuddly companions into eerie décor that adds a unique, personalized touch to the festivities.

Zombie Teddy Bears

Materials Needed: Old teddy bears, red and black fabric paint.

Instructions: Revamp your old teddy bears into spooky zombies. Use black fabric paint to create hollow eyes and red paint to add “scars” for a ghastly effect. Position them around your house or garden to create a creepy atmosphere.

Ghostly Stuffed Animals

Materials Needed: White fabric or old sheets, black marker, string.

Instructions: Cover your stuffed animals with white fabric, cutting holes for eyes and drawing them in with a black marker for that haunting effect. Hang them from trees or the ceiling to make ghostly figures floating in the air.

Stuffed Animal Bats

Materials Needed: Black spray paint, small plastic eyes, string.

Instructions: Transform your old stuffed animals into nocturnal creatures. Spray them black and attach small plastic eyes. Hang them upside down with string from trees or the porch to give an eerie bat cave feeling.

Conclusion: A Halloween Like No Other

Upcycling old stuffed animals into spooky Halloween décor not only provides an eco-friendly way to decorate but also offers a fantastic opportunity for family bonding. The process can turn into a creative family activity that is as thrilling as the celebration itself. This unique, personalized touch to the Halloween decorations will undoubtedly make your home the talk of the ghost-town!

If the nostalgic touch of revisiting old stuffed animals sparks the desire for new cuddly friends, explore The Zoo Factory’s eclectic range. Our stuffed animals are waiting to be infused with personality, ready to embark on autumn adventures with you and your family. Dive into a world where every critter tells a story, waiting to be part of your narrative and seasonal celebrations. Explore our collection and step into a world of imagination, creativity, and endless cuddles. Happy Halloween!


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5 Tips for Getting Your Children to Unplug from Screens

boy and girl playing on tablet

Every time you look over, it seems like your kid is burying their faces into another screen. Whether it be their cellphone, computer, video game, what-have-you, their entire lives seemed to be consumed by technology. This can be a serious problem, as several studies have proven that too much time staring at screens can have an adverse effect on our children’s health. So, if you find your child spends too much of their time with their computers, then here are some ways to get them to unplug:

Table of Contents

Set some rules

First thing’s first—if you want your child to stop using screens, you’ll need to establish some ground rules. Namely, make sure there’s a time limit on how many hours they can spend in front of a screen. You should also consider taking screens out of the bedroom or putting your phones away when dinnertime comes around.

Set an example

Our children learn from our actions, so if you spend most of your time staring at your cellphone too, your child is hardly going to change their habits. Instead, try and set a good example by following those house screen rules just as your child has to.


The more time your child spends staring at a book instead of a screen is time well-spent. The benefits of reading are endless, and a good book will ensure that your child doesn’t get bored and wander back to their electronics again.

Pick up a hobby or sport

A new hobby or sport is just the thing to get your kid active and engaged with the world. If you’re not sure where to start, try experimenting with different activities until your kid finds something that they enjoy.

Play some games

A lot of the time, when children are using electronics, they’re usually playing games. So, if you want to encourage them to step away from their video game for a bit, try to provide other sources of entertainment. Buy them a new set of toys or a new stuffed animal that they can use to play with their family members and friends.

Getting your child a new stuffed animal to play with is a great way to encourage them to put down their electronics for a little while. So, if you’re looking for a stuffable animal to give your child, then take a look at our selection here at The Zoo Factory.

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Importance of Donating Stuffed Animals

Kids volunteers sorting toys, clothes, books, donation goods in donate charity boxes indoors

Many children grow up with an abundance of stuffed animals, and all of them are their very best friends. Children acquire them from relatives, grandparents, holidays, festivals, carnivals, and more. However, many children that live in poverty don’t receive the large number of stuffed animals that others do, missing out on the benefits that come with having a stuffed friend to love.

Consider talking to your children about donating old stuffed animals, or stuffed animals that they don’t play with to children in need.

Donate to a Shelter

If you have a local shelter that struggling families can access, consider donating stuffed animals there. As hard as it is to accept, there are children that spend a lot of their childhood living out of local shelters. A simple stuffed animal can bring them comfort and joy during a difficult time and provide them with company when they feel alone.

Donate to Charities

If you’re not sure which local charities might accept your gently used stuffed animals, look for services like Donation Town. This website will match you with charities in your area based on your zip code and the items you want to donate. Many charities including Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Hope Services are likely interested in your stuffed animal donations to give them to a child in need.

Things to Keep in Mind

After a time of crisis, like right after a natural disaster, donation centers are often looking for necessities. However, if families have lost everything, they might be grateful for a stuffed animal that can serve as a comfort to their child. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local charities and see what types of items that they might benefit from. Always wash stuffed animals before you donate them.

Looking to create a brand new teddy bear or stuffed animal for your child or for a child in need? Make your own stuffed animal with Stuffable Animal Kits from The Zoo Factory, LLC.

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How to Keep a Large Family Christmas Celebration Simple

family having christmas dinner

We want to celebrate Christmas with everyone we care about. However, if you have a large family, Christmas gatherings can quickly become unwieldy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a simple celebration even with a large family. Here are a few tips to help:

Don’t buy a gift for everyone

In large families, it’s almost impossible to buy everyone a gift. Not only do you not have the time, but you likely don’t have the money as well. Nevertheless, you still want to do something. So, consider doing a gift exchange where everyone only gets a present for one other person. Games like Secret Santa or White Elephant are great ways to accomplish this.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

As much as this may bother your inner control freak, it’s important that you learn to delegate during this time. No one can host a large family celebration by themselves. Even if you’re the one hosting, make sure that everyone in the family has a job to do. This could range from bringing appetizers for Christmas day or helping set up the table for dinner.

Meet up together only once

Some families try to gather multiple times during the Christmas season, specifically on Christmas Eve and then again on Christmas Day. However, this can be hard on the host and difficult to arrange for everyone else. To keep things simple, only gather together once, and don’t stay all day.

Don’t buy a gift for everyone

In large families, it’s almost impossible to buy everyone a gift. Not only do you not have the time, but you likely don’t have the money as well. Nevertheless, you still want to do something. So, consider doing a gift exchange where everyone only gets a present for one other person. Games like Secret Santa or White Elephant are great ways to accomplish this.

Of course, rules will be different for the kids. You should always buy presents for the younger children in your family. For options, look through our shop today at The Zoo Factory!

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Top 3 Tips for Christmas Shopping with Your Kids

mother christmas shopping with her two daughters

Most years, you do your Christmas shopping alone. But suddenly your babysitter has the flu, and your spouse has a work commitment. It’s up to you, then, to both shop for Christmas and keep track of your kids. This is no easy feat, but it can be accomplished with fewer tantrums as possible. Read on to learn more:

Bring a backpack filled with essentials

Christmas shopping can take the whole day, and at some point during that day, your kids may get tired, thirsty, hungry, or bored. This is often where many of the tantrums and outbursts begin. So, make sure you’re prepared by bringing a backpack full of essentials while you’re shopping. This should include the following:

  • Snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Phones, games, toys, and/or video games for your children to play with

Share your expectations

Younger kids may not know the proper rules and etiquette of shopping malls. So, it’s important to lay down some ground rules and share your expectations with your kids. Remind them that they cannot scream, shout, or run around in a shopping mall. Additionally, they need to stay by your side at all times. If they understand this, then they’ll be less likely to act out.

Reward them at the end

Shopping can take a lot out of even the most well-behaved child. So, be sure to reward your kids at the end of the day with a trip to their favorite store or restaurant. You can even tell them in the beginning that if they behave well, then they’ll be rewarded.

As you’re shopping, keep an eye out for what your kids seem interested in, as this can help you shop for them as well! If you notice them wandering towards the stuffed animals, then be sure to get them a lovable, stuffed animal from The Zoo Factory! Look through our shop today to get started.

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What Is Phonics?

young girl reading to stuffed animal

Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds. In fact, you’re using phonics as you’re reading this blog post. But let’s break it down for you.

Think of the word “big.” How do you know what that word sounds like just by looking at it? Because at some point in your life, you were taught that “big” means large, but you probably didn’t yet know how to spell it. When you went to school, though, you learned that individual sounds are represented by individual letters. As such, you realized that the individual letters /b/ /i/ and /g/, when put together, create a series of sounds that equate to the word “big.”

If you’re the parent of a young child just starting school, then this is exactly what they’re learning when their teacher talks about phonics. But how is it taught?

How is phonics taught?

There is more than one way to teach phonics, and your child’s teacher will likely be using a variety of techniques. Some of the most common are as follows:

  • Analytical phonics: With this method, children analyze letter-sound relations to avoid pronouncing sounds in isolation.
  • Analogy phonics: This technique has children analyze unknown words and see how they compare to known words in order to figure out their pronunciation.
  • Synthetic phonics: This approach teaches students to convert letters into sounds, and then blend those sounds to form words.
  • Embedded phonics: With this method, phonics instruction is given while reading a text instead of as a separate lesson.

Here at The Zoo Factory, we know that children need a partner when they’re learning how to read and write. Stuffed animals can be the perfect partner. Look through our shop today to find your child’s new best friend today!

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How to Help Your Child Transition into a New School

mother talking to daughter as she waits for schoolbus

Our kids are likely comfortable in the school they’re in. They have friends there, they know the teachers, and they’ve likely been in that school district for several years. However, some kids don’t always stay in the same school district until they’re 18. They might end up in a new school because their family moved or because they can get a higher quality education at another school.

Whatever the reason for it, changing schools is never easy. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help your child transition into a new school:

Let them be anxious

As parents and caregivers, it’s never easy to watch our children get stressed or anxious. However, changing schools is a stressful endeavor, and trying to get rid of your child’s anxiety will just, counterintuitively, make it worse. Instead, it’s better to acknowledge your child’s emotions and to let them work through those emotions in their own way.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to reduce your child’s stress (more on that below), just that your child can be open about what they’re feeling and be comforted by the fact that it’s perfectly normal to be nervous.

Explain why they’re changing schools

Most children don’t want to change schools. They’re comfortable in what they know, and they enjoy spending time with their friends at their current school. So, simply telling your child that they have to go to a new school might make them resist the change even more. By explaining to them why they’re going to a new school, they may accept the idea more.

Take them to the school ahead of time

Children are often nervous going to a new school because they’re afraid of the unknown. Thankfully, you can help reduce their stress by making the school a more familiar place. You can do this by scheduling a tour and having your child meet their new teachers before the school year starts. Doing so will help cut back on the number of things your child has to worry about.

Changing schools can be a stressful time, so make sure your child has a few sources of comfort by their side. A lovable, stuffed animal may be just the thing to help your child through the transition. Look through our website to find the perfect stuffed animal for your child today!

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How to Help Build Your Child’s Vocabulary

parents talking to toddler at dinner table

Children are constantly learning. When they speak their first words, that’s the result of months’ worth of learning and observing. However, it takes much more time for them to get a full grasp of their native language. The rate at which children learn new words after they’ve begun to talk can vary, and much of that variation depends on what their parents do to help them learn. Here, we discuss some ways you can help your child build their vocabulary so that they can begin expressing themselves.

Narrate what you’re doing

Children learn new words by watching and listening to their caregivers. This doesn’t mean just when you’re directly speaking to them; children will also learn when they watch you going about your day. By narrating what you’re doing in the moment, you are introducing new words into your child’s vocabulary. For instance, if your child is sitting at the table while you’re setting the table, you can say something along the lines of: “And now it’s time to put down the plates. Next are the glasses, and then the napkins.” By using this technique, also known as self-talk, your child has just learned the words “plates,” “glasses,” and “napkins.”

Narrate what your child is doing

This is similar to what we explained before, but instead of narrating what you’re doing, you narrate what your child is doing. This technique is known as parallel talk. It’s best used when your child is fully engaged in an activity, such as playing with their stuffed animals. For example, if your child is placing a tea party set in front of their teddy bear, you may say to them, “Oh, I see you’re setting up a tea party for your teddy bear.”

Read to your child (and encourage them to read by themselves)

Reading is perhaps the best and most effective way of building your child’s vocabulary. By reading a wide variety of books, your child will be exposed to thousands of different words. Of course, it takes time for children to learn to read. That’s why it’s important for parents to read to them even when they’re infants. As your child gets older, you can instill a love of reading and encourage them to read by themselves.

Stuffed animals can be a great partner when trying to help your child build up their vocabulary. Look through our website to find the perfect stuffed animal for your little one today!

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What Is Sittervising?

young parents watching their children play in the living room

If you’re a parent on any kind of social media platform, you may have seen the term “sittervising” thrown around. But what does this mean? And is this a good parenting technique? Here, we go into the details.


The term sittervising may be new, but the technique is not. First coined by blogger Susie Allison of Busy Toddler, it describes how parents sit down and supervise their kids playing, but do not intervene. There’s a bit of distance between the parent and the children, allowing kids space to explore and become independent without feeling like their parents are hovering over them.

Of course, the term has the word “sitting,” in it, but you don’t have to sit and watch your kids. You can be off in another room, or doing some other type of work while your kids play. Kids should be in ear-shot, but you don’t need to be checking on them constantly.

Should you practice sittervising?

According to Allison, sittervising can benefit both parents and kids. “In sittervising,” she said, “children get the necessary time to play without adults interfering with the play-learning process. Adults get back the time they need to rest or complete jobs, helping to ease stress and burnout.”

Sittervising can also make your kids feel more independent and self-sufficient. Nevertheless, it can be nerve-wracking for parents to try at first. If you’re nervous, go slow. Start with actually sitting down and watching your kids play from a distance. Then, start doing some other work in that room while your kids are playing. Once you’re comfortable doing that, you can work yourself up to leaving the room for longer and longer periods of time.

Whether you’re sittervising or not, stuffed animals are the perfect play companions for your kids. Look through our collection at The Zoo Factory to find the perfect playmate for your child!