Think back to when you were a little child and that favorite stuffed animal--that one you always had on your bed or somewhere in your room, even as you got older. Maybe it was a teddy bear, a pig or a little penguin that was adorable, warm, and cuddly. You probably had for as long as you could remember. Remember how much you adored it and how it comforted you? Now that you're a parent, I bet you can't wait to see your own child with a beloved stuffy. In fact, a plush toy can truly help your child and their development. I want to share all the benefits and positive experiences I've seen with my kids and their plush toys!
Plush toys have been around for a long time, originating in Germany in the 19th century. They grew in popularity for decades--did you know the classic stuffed bear was named "Teddy" after President Theodore Roosevelt? Early plush toys started off mostly being rabbits and bears, but as you know, today you can find plush toys in a wide variety of species and categories; there's something for each little kid's personality and preferences.
When I was a child, my favorite stuffed animals were a teddy bear and then an array of cats, especially one named Clover who was white and so soft!
Children (and even adults) can form special connections with their plush toys, often sleeping with them or cuddling with them for comfort.
Plush toys provide a number of positive affects in children:
- Reduce fear
- Reduce anxiety
- Provide a sense of security
- Release endorphins to improve mood
According to TheZooFactory, "Kids can feel calm and in control since they’re able to use their imaginations with their stuffed animals. When kids hug a teddy bear, it makes them feel like they are caring for their teddy as much as they believe their teddy cares for them."
Speaking about caring, this is also a way that kids learn how to care for someone, even if it is just their plush toy. They can also help teach a child how to socialize, how to share, and how to empathize with someone else. As your child interacts with their plush toy, that type of play can help them learn to speak better, learn how to express themselves more, and it can also teach them a lot about friendship.
You may remember that when you're a child, that beloved stuffed animal become your first best friend. My mom likes to tell me about how when I was little, I loved bringing my little teddy bear with me to the park, and I would often push it in the swings or even pretend to feed it when I was at home. I made so many memories with that toy, and now my kids are making those same kinds of memories with theirs.
Plush toys don't judge, they fun to dress up, and what kids love the most is that they will do anything they want them to do--they get to be the boss! And of course they are soft and cute to play with!
My oldest had a monkey as his first best friend plush, my daughter has a swan and now is obsessed with cats, with her own collection of different colored ones, and my infant adores his little lion! All of them love taking their furry friends with them in the car or on a trip, they help encourage their imagination during playtime, and they especially love to cuddle with them as they sleep. It's been adorable to see the connection they've made with their stuffed animals.
Here at The Baby Cubby, we have a wide variety of too-cute-to-handle plush toys from a number of different brands that will fit your kids little personality.
Jellycat - Whether it's a floppy octopus, a bashful dragon, or a big, bumbly teddy bear, Jellycat stuffed animals are my personal favorite thanks to their ultra softness!
Cuddle and Kind - How can you also say no to Cuddle + Kind plush toys? They come in two different size options and are adorably dressed. They are also handmade in Peru and provide 10 meals to children in need with each purchase!
- Mary Meyer has the cutest fuzzy friends that your kids will love. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and are incredibly soft!
- Maileg - These plush toys have a distinct, modern Scandinavian design that is super high quality. They are perfect for creating a fun, imaginative play experience for your kids, that also have a bunch of accessories to accompany each little character.
Maileg Mouse Plush Toy - Princess and the Pea
- Slumberkins is a favorite with kids because of their softness, they help kids sleep, and even include books to teach them life skills and word of affirmation cards with them. How adorable!
Slumberkins Otter Snuggler - Pebble / Grey
Those are some of our favorites, but we have even more adorable plush toys online and in store that we guarantee will get a 100% approval rating with your kids!
Isn't it so amazing the a plush toy can be such a powerful force in your child's life? The benefits of have been backed up by therapists, studies, and the personal experiences of countless parents and kids. Whether it's getting them through a tough time in their life, becoming a unconditionally loving friend, or helping them develop mentally and socially, a soft stuffy is a staple of childhood.
The best thing is watching your child take their furry friends on adventures and seeing all the wonderful memories they will make with them! And if you haven't thought of it already, these little friends make a perfect Christmas gift that will surely bring on a smile and lots of cuddles!
Be sure to tell us about a favorite memory or your child's favorite plush toy!