The best stuffed animal can become a child’s trusty sidekick, being there for all the highs and lows in a little one’s exuberant life. But parents also know that sometimes stuffed animals miss the mark and end up spending their years at the bottom of the toy box.
Avoid adding clutter by giving your child a toy that sparks delight, trust, and friendship. Read to discover seven tips for choosing the perfect stuffed animal.
1. Avoid Toys With Hazardous Parts
As with anything you give a child, you want to avoid hazardous parts and remain aware of possible dangers. Avoid giving infants, babies, and very young children stuffed animals with long strings or ribbons since these parts create a strangulation risk.
Some stuffed animals have removable parts. Small removable accessories are a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. Avoid toys with small accessories, such as removable clothing, for these age groups.
For babies and toddlers, stitched eyes are safer than plastic eyes since they won’t fall off. Beaded eyes don’t present a problem for older children.
2. Buy a High-Quality Toy
The next tip for choosing the perfect stuffed animal is to buy a high-quality toy. From snuggles to roughhousing, a well-loved stuffed animal goes through a lot. A well-made toy will last longer, look better, and be safer to play with.
Children form strong attachments to loveys or comfort objects. A favored stuffed animal often accompanies a child on errands outside the house. Parents and children alike appreciate durable toys that can go along for the ride.
Higher quality toys have more durable seams, with more stitches per inch that help keep the toy’s parts together. The stuffed animal should not have loose seams. When you tug on an arm, leg, or ear, the seams should not separate. Torn seams can become hazardous since the stuffing can fall out.
3. Choose Comfy Material
When it comes to choosing a cuddly, comforting toy for a child, you want a toy made with fabric that’s fun to stroke and squeeze. The feeling of a soft, plush toy can soothe a child’s frustration, stress, or anxiety. Choose a stuffed toy with a soft outer fabric and ample stuffing.
The toy’s shape can also affect how a child cuddles or plays with it. Whether a child lovingly tugs on a toy rabbit’s ear or gives a round teddy bear a hug, plush toys provide tactile amusement and engagement. Over time, grabbing, carrying, holding, and petting the toy will strengthen a baby’s motor skills.
The toy’s material also affects its durability. For example, polyester retains colors well, so toys made with this fabric stay true to the original color for a long time.
4. Think of the Size and Weight
Stuffed animals come in a range of fun sizes. If you know the child’s selection of stuffed animals already, consider giving a smaller or larger stuffed animal than their typical toys to help your gift stand out.
Large animals can feel especially comforting to hold, and small stuffed animals are easy to tote around. Similarly, lightweight toys are easy for a child to move, and heavier toys can offer a greater amount of calming pressure.
While babies cannot have a toy in the crib, a larger stuffed animal will make an excellent toy for older children to snuggle with at bedtime. Before giving a toy, consider the amount of storage space in the child’s home.
5. Consider the Toy’s Personality
With their expressive faces and soft bodies, stuffed animals exude so much personality! The toy’s personality can spark your child’s curiosity, excitement, and enduring affection. Some animals have bright, happy expressions that invite children to feel joyous, too.
Other stuffed animals have calm, soothing features. Children love to look at these sweet expressions for assurance.
Other features that help to create the toy’s personality include its body posture, colors, patterns, and outfits. Toys in neutral colors and softer outlines encourage serenity, while toys with brighter colors and more angular body lines encourage more activity.
Accessories and outfits also contribute to the toy’s personality. And when it comes to stuffed animal book characters, kids can enjoy reading about their toy’s adventures while playing, too.
Ultimately, your little one will play with the toy in a variety of imaginative ways. These adventures will continue to shape the toy’s personality.
6. Support the Child’s Interests
One of the best ways to choose a great stuffed animal for a child is to consider the child’s interests. What kind of animals does your little one like? What are their favorite colors?
You can also consider giving gifts that fall in line with more general interests. For example, if the child has an interest in aquatic animals and environments, consider giving them a stuffed octopus, whale, or crab. Thoughtful toys such as these will win over the child’s heart and become special treasures.
Keep in mind that some children love to have a collection of similar toys, whereas other children want more variety in their toy boxes. If your little one already has teddy bears, consider if they would prefer to receive another one or a different stuffed animal such as a cat, lamb, or fox.
7. Consider the Season or Occasion
Finally, considering the season or occasion for the gift can help you give a very special stuffed animal. During the fall and wintertime, when children bundle up, it’s fun to give a toy that also looks ready to take on the cold weather. The toy might wear a hat, scarf, or mittens.
If you’re giving the stuffed toy as a gift on a special occasion, consider personalizing the present with an embroidered message. The embroidery might appear on the animal’s limbs or ears. And when the child outgrows the gift, the custom message makes the stuffed animal a special keepsake.
Each of these tips can help you to select a meaningful stuffed animal for the precious baby or child in your life. Consider safety, durability, softness, dimensions, and the toy’s unique characteristics to give a meaningful gift.
At Bunnies by the Bay, we’re proud of our selection of cuddly stuffed animals for babies. Our menagerie of toys includes stuffed bunnies, chickens, foxes, bears, sea animals, and more. Shop with us today for a plush toy.