Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

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.


Posted on Leave a comment

Helping Your Child Return to School After COVID-19

Helping Your Child Return to School After COVID-19

School districts around the country are taking steps to safely return kids back to school. Some schools are bringing kids back completely, others are doing a hybrid model, and there are a few that are opting for completely digital learning. While schools are doing everything that they can to keep your children safe, there are some things that you, as a parent, can do as well to better prepare your child for the new school year. 

Talk to them 

Older kids likely understand the risks that are involved and the precautions they need to take when going back to school. Younger kids, meanwhile, may struggle to understand why they need to wear a mask or why they’re not going to school five days a week. Before the school year starts, take some time to sit down and talk with your child about why this new year will be different and how important it is for them to practice good social distancing.  

Check their temperature each morning 

One of the first signs of COVID-19 is a high temperature. Catching it early will help ensure that your child doesn’t spread the disease to other children and families. Check their temperature every morning to determine whether or not they should go to school. If their temperature is ever higher than 100.4 degrees, then they should stay home. 

Get them a mask and hand sanitizer 

It is more than likely that your school district will require children to wear masks. Even if they are not required, it is still a good idea to wear them. Be sure you have at least two masks for your child, as chances are, they’ll lose their first one eventually. You should also equip them with some hand sanitizer to further limit disease spread.  

If you can, avoid the bus 

Buses can be a prime spot for the coronavirus to spread. If you can manage it, try and drive your kid to school yourself, or have them carpool with a trusted friend. If the bus is your only option, then make sure your kid wears their mask and stays six feet away from other kids at all times.  

These are stressful times for both parents and kids. That’s why we at The Zoo Factory want to do everything we can to make things easier on families. Our stuffable animals can be a great source of comfort to kids, and our blog is an excellent resource for parents. Have further questions? Then don’t hesitate to reach out today! 

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Work From Home With Kids

How to Work From Home With Kids

As much as we love our kids, they’re not great for productivity. Working from home can be hard on its own, but working from home while also caring for your kids is a whole other ballgame. Many parents are struggling to meet the expectations put upon them, and while this time in our lives will not be easy, there are ways to ease the burden. 

Create a schedule 

With so much going on in our lives, it really is important to structure our day so that we can at least try to get everything done that we planned for. Set “office” hours for when you can work (mostly) undisturbed. It doesn’t have to be one big block of time, instead you can break it up throughout the day (for instance, if your child has just gone down for a nap, you can run off to do some work before they wake up). If there are two parents in the household, alternate your work hours so that one parent is keeping an eye on the kids while the other is working. 

Talk with your boss 

Even if you create the most efficient schedule in the world, there will be times when you just can’t stick to it. Maybe your child is sick, or maybe they’re having a temper tantrum. These things need to be dealt with first, and your work dealt with second. This can cause you to work fewer hours or be less productive during work hours. Instead of scrambling, hoping that your boss doesn’t notice, be upfront with them about your current situation. Most will likely be understanding, and they’ll find ways to help you cope. 

Find activities that don’t require supervision 

If you want to get any work done, you will have to let your kids fend for themselves for a few hours in the day. The best way to do this is to find activities that don’t require adult supervision. Here are a few ideas you can try: 

  • Reading 
  • Playing video games 
  • Watching TV shows, movies, or YouTube videos (keeping it educational if you can) 
  • Playing with their dolls or stuffed animals 
  • Naptime 
  • Arts and crafts 

Of course, one way to keep your children occupied throughout the day is letting them play around with their stuffable animals. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable animals that we’re sure your child will love. Look through our website or contact us today with any questions or concerns! 

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Support Your Kids During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The coronavirus has completely upended our lives, causing stress and anxiety for everyone, no matter their age. As parents, however, you have the extra responsibility of not only keeping your anxiety in check, but also the anxiety of your children as well. You don’t want them to worry, but you also want them to take things seriously. 

If you’re not sure where to begin, then here a few ways you can support your kids during the COVID-19 outbreak: 

Talk to them honestly 

If you keep your kids in the dark, they’ll only grow more anxious. As such, you should speak honestly with them, answering any questions that they have. You don’t want to make them more nervous, and some details they may not be able to understand, so only answer the questions that they have, and try to keep your answers short and simple. The CDC also has guidelines that you can follow on how best to speak with your children about the coronavirus outbreak. 

Stick to your normal schedule as much as possible 

Children take comfort in routine, especially during times of crisis. While you won’t be able to stick to the exact schedule you had before the pandemic (after all, most children are not going to school at this time), you should still have them getting up and going to bed at the same time. Other daily traditions such as family dinners should also take place to give a sense of normalcy. 

Don’t let them get bored 

Without school or sports, our kids will likely run out of things to do pretty quickly. With so much time to themselves, they will likely get bored, which will only stress them out even further. So, try to keep them distracted with board games, video games, arts and crafts, books, or pretend play activities with their dolls and stuffed animals. 

Here at The Zoo Factory, our selection of stuffable animals can be a great source of comfort to children during these stressful times. Take a look through our inventory or contact us with any questions or concerns.