The Stuffed Animal Phenomenon

Submitted by: Brittney Foster

Tomb paintings in Egypt and Mesopotamia depict pictures of stuffed animals that were used for both religious and play purposes. These early animals were stuffed with various items that were found around the area. The popularity of stuffed animals has never waned and has instead grown in popularity throughout the centuries. The development of stuffed animals has been refined. It started out with the toys being stuffed with straw, cotton and beans. Today, stuffed animals are commercially produced and come in every imaginable creature both real and fantasy.

Children love stuffed animals. They provide a sense of comfort and children can cuddle with them and play with them for hours. They are also educational and can lead to wonderful conversations with parents and older siblings about various species. It can also help children enact emotional situations to help them communicate with adults and come to terms with issues alone. The stuffed animals can become like close friends to children. The imagination will expand when children use stuffed animals in play.

Safety is always a concern for parents when buying any toys for children and stuffed animals are no exception. Stuffed animals, like any toy, should be age appropriate for the child. When buying stuffed animals for younger children, make sure the quality of the workmanship is sound so there are no easily breakable parts or loose seams that may pose a choking hazard. Eyes, nose and mouth that are embroidered as opposed to glued on are much safer for younger children because there is less of a chance of these items coming off. The stuffed animals should be easily washed and soft for cuddling. Younger children should have lighter toys that will be able to be manipulated easily and moved.


Stuffed animals for infants can be black and white such as a panda. As they grow, you can get more colorful ones so the children can develop tactile sensations and vision acuity. Older children enjoy the larger animals that spark the imagination. They can get lifelike animals they can play with and climb on. The stuffed animals prove educational opportunities, comfort and play.

Often parents can use a favorite stuffed animal to explain things to a child who may be afraid of it. For example a trip to the doctor can be acted out with the stuffed animal to show them exactly what will happen and show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. Saying it s teddy s bedtime and he d like some company can divert a child who does not want to go to bed on time. The parent can tuck in the bear or other stuffed animal and the child will be more prone to go too just to be helpful. It instills a sense of responsibility and discipline in the child.

A child can learn about various types of animals. Although the teddy bear and sock monkey are among the most common types of stuffed animals, you can find every animal in a stuffed version. Your child can have a zoo in their room that can be used for imaginative play and education about animals. Parents can begin conversation, incorporating play with the stuffed animals, on origin, habits, care and feeding.

Fine motor skills can also be learned with stuffed animals. There are various animals that have clothing that you can tie, zip button and clasp so the child learns all about how to do those things for himself. This is a great way to play dress up with both the stuffed animal and the child. Children who have impairments can find stuffed animals with similar issues that can often provide comfort for the child. You can find them with hearing aids or in wheelchairs. Children can relate to these toys and use them during difficult times for comfort.

Most children have some stuffed animals in their toy collection and love them. They can be a great comfort when upset or when sleeping. Parents can interact with their children using stuffed animals that will bring a variety of various educational and communication opportunities. Always make sure when buying stuffed animals that there are safety precautions that are met so that no choking hazards are presented and that the child will be able to enjoy the toy without harm. Also when buying stuffed animals, choose a variety of different types so that the child is exposed to different species of animals. The teddy bear is the most popular stuffed animal but you can also buy lions, tigers, ducks, snakes and just about any animal you can imagine.

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