Stuffed toys like dolls and animals as well as any other real-world object are a huge hit not only during Christmas. For adults, stuffed plush teddy bears are a mainstay in courtship and even in anniversaries. For kids, it’s the plush stuffed animals and dolls that are such an important part of their repertoire of comfort toys. Technically, there’s a general confusion whether to call these as toys or as comfort tools.
Regardless, in preparation for Christmas you may already be making a shortlist of the retail shops or specialty stores where to buy stuffed animals. Let us help you by sharing with you our very own shortlist of the 15 most popular and most amazing plush teddy bears and other stuffed toys you may want to watch out for this holiday season.
Criteria Used to Evaluate The Best Stuffed Animals
The first thing we do is to research each toy, its purpose, and the manufacturers of them. We research a lot of toys to come up with the best ones to offer to you. The plush toys are pretty consistent on their purposes. They aim to keep your child comforted and assist them in learning about various phases in life such as language, speaking to others, creating relationships, dealing with emotions and talking about them, getting parents to interact and play with their kids, and helping kids to have confidence in making decision and having success in their lives.
We choose plush toys with safety in mind. We choose a variety of toys for a variety of age groups. Babies and toddlers under 3 need embroidered eyes and facial features. Older toddlers, who know not to swallow small pieces, can have sewed on or glued on eyes and noses. We also try to choose toys that are not able to be destroyed by stronger kids who might play rough.
We want snuggie toys that kids will like and ask questions about so they can learn how to have conversations about the animal, what its environment is like, what it eats, and any questions they may think of. As they grow older, their questions will increase, and as they develop, parents can ask question and get more mature answers. Kids can grow up with their stuffed animals and spend many hours of playtime with them.
We also check each manufacturer’s’ reputation. We make sure they have a high number of good reviews and few complaints. We want them to have a reputation for safety so that your child has the least possible chance of getting hurt from playing with the toy. We do try to add new manufacturers that have high markings so that we offer you enough choices. Of course, parents have to do their own due diligence, but we try to handle most of the load. Our list of 15 toys meets our criteria standards, or they wouldn’t be there.
How We Chose the Top Plush Toy Animals in Our List
We asked the moms and ladies in our team if they can come up with the top 10 really plush and huggable toys for kids for this year’s gift-giving season. Everyone giggled and said that they could make it 15 since there are simply a lot to choose from. With the target finally set at 15 instead of 10, our dedicated researchers went to work and in just a couple of days, they were able to present to us a tentative list of the top 30. We then had to scrutinize which of these 30 will make the final cut.
To get to the 30, our team focused on the strength of each fluffy, comfy, and super soft cuddables’ ratings. We believe that, all things being equal, we had to look closely at the number of people who have high regard for these toys. We had to scrutinize every remark or feedback from very satisfied parents who report that their kids – and teens – actually adore the plush stuffed toys given to them.
We then considered the manufacture of the product as it must be made of kid-safe, non-toxic materials. If there’s certification coming from reputable agencies or organizations, then we considered these, too. If there is some kind of award or recognition given to the product, then we knew that it should receive a point from us.
Our team also tried to look at the developmental appropriateness of the products. However, given that almost every single one of these plush stuffed animals essentially have the same developmental benefit to kids, we had to look at the recommended age of the product and determine whether it really is appropriate for a certain age of children. For example, if the product was intended for young babies, then it should not have tiny removable parts that babies might choke on.
The result of all of these activities? Our top 15 stuffed animals for kids in 2016.
Stuffed Toys and Children’s Development
Stuffed toys are beneficial in the development of kids particularly in terms of their sensorimotor skills, their cognitive abilities, and their social and emotional growth.
For very young children such as babies and infants, stuffed toys can play an important role in their sensorimotor development. Plush toys that come with different patterns, colors, and textures can all help the brain recognize and interpret these sensory signals to be integrated into formal knowledge when the right time comes.
Stuffed toys are not only beneficial for the psychomotor development of young children. They are important in the development of their beginning emotions. For example, while babies cannot verbalize how good “soft” feels, they can nevertheless show this appreciation through their behavior. You can see them smiling while hugging and cuddling their “soft” stuft animals. It is their way of telling you that the plush toy makes them very happy.
For older children, stuffed toys can provide an excellent tool for role playing. You can see them playing the role of parents for these toys, giving them a bath, preparing meals for them, and even grooming and dressing them. For us adults, it may all seem kids’ play but these role playing activities help motivate children to use their imagination as well as creativity. Studies show that the more opportunities children get to use their imagination, the greater is the chance of them expanding on their cognitive abilities, most especially their divergent cognition.
Divergent thinking is one of the foundations for logical, scientific, and critical thinking. This kind of cognitive ability is what differentiates highly successful individuals from the not. That is why stimulating a kid’s imagination is crucial to the development of his or her divergent thinking capabilities which, in turn, fuels his or her critical and logical thinking.
As we have already said, children use their stuffed toys for pretend play. This greatly improves their social skills. They are also able to build more lasting friendships as well as establish new ones when they are given the opportunity to explore different scenarios using pretend play or role play.
The Bottom Line
This Christmas, get your child a stuffed animal he or she will care for. You will find that our top 15 stuffed animals are all highly recommended by parents like you. All you need now is to choose one. Or, you can just get all 15.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I clean my stuffed animal?
A: There are several answers to your question. The best answer is to contact the manufacturer. The label may have cleaning information on it. Some stuffed toys can be put into the washer, but some should not be machine washed. These can often be surface washed or cleaned with a lint roller.
Q: How do I know the stuffie I want to purchase for my child is safe?
A: Well, we never know for sure because of possible manufacturing mistakes. So parents need to examine any toy they purchase to see if there are any problems. But, depending on where the toys are sold, there should be standard safety standards that each must meet. There are tests for thread safety, toxins, a pull test for the eyes and nose, and others. You can contact the manufacturer for specific tests. There is also a link for US toy safety in the resources below.
Q: How are stuffed toys made?
A: This depends on the manufacturer and whether or not the stuffies are hand made. There are many sources online that describe the process, but it’s somewhat different for each company. The general process is: product development and submission of design to manufacturer, creation of samples for the client, ordering and testing raw materials, cutting fabric, silk screening, sewing, and more.
Q: My daughter is 3 years old. Shouldn’t I be buying more educational or electronic toys for her?
A: Of course the types of toys you purchase is totally up to you. Many experts in child development have suggested that babies and young children will be more attracted to a soft toy that they can hug and play with than any hard educational toys. Educational toys may not be relatable at a young age. The truth about stuffed animals is that kids relate to them, are comforted by them, and there are lots of learning opportunities with stuffed toys, more than are first apparent. And in many cases, stuffed animals are much more reasonably priced than building blocks or electronics. As children grow older, by all means add in more educational toys, but kids of all ages love their plushies.
Q: How can I find out if my child’s stuffed animal has been recalled?
A: You can go to the Consumer Product safety commission website to find recalled toys. https://www.cpsc.gov/
Q: How can I have a conversation with my son about his plushie puppy if he can’t talk back?
A: You don’t have to wait til your son grows up to converse with him. True, he may not talk back, but he can hear and even see your lips moving at an early age. Talk to him, anyway. Show him his plushie puppy and speak to him about what is a puppy, what is a dog, what dogs do, how to groom the dog, and anything about dogs. Include vocabulary words about the puppy’s world, like food, water, chew, toy, tail, nails, mouth, etc. Even little babies seek out stimulation within their worlds. Their mission is to grow, learn, and mature. Parents engaging their kids by talking to them and showing them how to do things, is one of the best ways they can support that mission of learning, even if they can’t speak yet back.
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