Being soft, warm, and cuddly are just a few of the reasons your kids love stuffed animals. Their favorite stuffed sidekicks provide protection to keep bed-time monsters at bay, and these comforting companions build courage to tackle going to school, especially on the first day. That's why choosing the right plush pal to aid in keeping your kiddo feeling confident is key.
Below you'll find video reviews of all types of popular plush toys. We cover everything, from how much play you can expect from a stuffed animal to how well they may stand up to tough washing machine cleanings. From the huggability of Care Bears to everlasting laughs from stuffed friends that can 'talk', you'll find a favorite fluffy friend to keep your child happy when you use TTPM reviews.
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Finding the Perfect Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals are one of the classics of the toy business. Like dolls, these are toys that children love and love to cuddle with. From the original Teddy Bears to today's animatronic pets that seem almost alive, these animals have been best friends, confidants and snuggle buddies for children for generations.
When you're shopping for stuffed animals these days, there are four main sub categories, all of which are considered stuffed animals, but have different types of play patterns. While there may be some crossover between these categories, they are: big soft and huggable animals, animatronics (where the toys move and interact independently), character stuffed toys (such as those based on movies and entertainment), and collectibles.
The fastest growing category is the animatronics, which includes electronic features to make the soft toys more lifelike. The two toys that really changed this category were Tickle Me Elmo and Furby. There two toys spurred a new generation of toys that you could hug, or interact and play with. Both of these toys triggered fads in their respective years as frantic consumers tried to get their hands on them to make holiday wishes come true.
One of the most popular collections has been Hasbro's FurReal. Launched in 2002 as FurReal Friends, the cat was a runaway hit for that first holiday season. Since then, each year has seen its FurReal hit, which have included Go Go My Walking Puppy, Starlily the Unicorn, or Torch the Dragon. These newer toys are really about engaging kids and fostering imaginative interaction. Some of them even have apps that go along with them, but for the most part it's all about taking classic stuffed animal play to a new level.
The success of this category has inspired the introduction of many more options. The Little Live Pets line from Moose features everything from mammals to reptiles to amphibians, all designed to delight and entertain.
The animatronic pet category has been so successful that it has moved beyond the traditional toy categories as well. Knowing that pets can help reduce stress for seniors as well as people with other disorders, Hasbro introduced a line of animatronic therapy pets Joy For All Companion Pets. Research with these pets has shown that therapeutically they can be as effective as live pets but without the care requirements and expenses of living creatures.
Characters from entertainment as stuffed animals have been popular for decades. One of the first stuffed toys from the early 20th Century was The Yellow Kid, based on a comic character. In the years before TV, comics were a major source for such characters, including Mutt and Jeff and, yes, Mickey Mouse. For today's kids, characters drawn from Dr. Seuss, Paw Patrol, Disney Characters, Care Bears (of course), Teletubbies (back again), Power Rangers (never left) and many more. In fact, many toys that exist in different forms, such as action figures or playsets also prove to be popular as stuffed animals. Even Thomas the Tank Engine has been popular in stuffed form, and that's not how one normally thinks of a train. But sometimes kids just want a friend to take to bed and cuddle with.
Collectible Stuffed Plush has been around for more than fifty years in different formats, and Teddy Bear collecting is a huge hobby with fans all over the world with magazines and web sites devoted to collecting. Sometimes, collecting can even become a craze, as in the mid-1990's with Ty's Beanie Babies. Over a short period of time, over a billion dollars of these small stuffed collectibles were sold. They created demand by having limited editions, so if you weren't quick to buy it, the only way you could buy it was through an after seller like eBay.
Neopets and Webkinz, both stuffed animals that had a website component, were also big hits. What helped drive sales of these were that each one came with a special code that would open up a new experience on their websites. This proved to be a fairly short-lived trend, demonstrating that play patterns like online and snuggling don't always mix.
The most recent hot trend has been Tsum Tsum, which was based on a hit Japanese video game, became a hit for the Disney Store in Japan and now are sold worldwide by Disney, Jakks Pacific and Just Play. What makes these toys unique is their capsule-like shape that allows them to be stacked. First kept wanting more. Disney has responded to the enthusiasm with an ever-growing collection that includes characters from many Disney properties like stars from Star Wars, Marvel Avengers, and Finding Dory.
And no look at stuffed animals would be complete without talking about Build-A-Bear Workshop. Introduced as a concept store where kids could create their own friends, the line of basics has grown to include all kinds of great characters form movies and TV and an online store where you can buy collectible stuffed animals already complete.
There's so much more to discover when you're shopping for stuffed animals. Scroll back up to the top and start finding your new best friends!