Stuffed animals are a universal staple of any child’s bedroom. In fact, if a child has only one toy, it’s likely to be a stuffed animal. From tigers to penguins to dogs to elephants, the fluffy dolls come in all shapes and sizes to suit nearly any taste. Even in an age of fancy LEGO sets and flashy electronic toys, stuffed animals haven’t lost their kid appeal. Here’s why your child is crazy for teddy bears and stuffed animals.
1. They encourage nurturing.
After being bossed around all day, children want a chance to play the adult. Stuffed animals make great recipients of a child’s pretend care and discipline. They’re small, lightweight, humanoid and perfectly compliant. Playing “mommy” or “daddy” to a stuffed animal makes children feel capable and in control. Some Child Development Experts suggest that such imaginative play is crucial to their mental and social development. Besides, when you’re three, nothing beats the sheer awesomeness of having a ‘baby’ with a kitty face or an alligator tail.
2. They’re always smiling.
Stuffed animals are immune to the letdowns of life. No matter how many times they are dropped, sat on or left alone, they always greet their owners with heartwarming, reassuring smiles. Those fuzzy, happy faces make the world seem like a nicer place, no matter what’s happening in the child’s life. Mommy, daddy or teacher may be disappointed, but Teddy is never disappointed.
3. They give the best hugs.
Nothing chases away the blues like a warm, squishy hug, and it doesn’t get warmer or squishier than a stuffed animal. Not only that, but stuffed animals will take hugs of the greatest length and intensity without gasping for air or rushing off to answer the phone. Hugging a toy robot or a Barbie doll, on the other hand, just doesn’t measure up to that irrepressible softness.
4. They’re easy to clean up.
For a child, nothing is easier than picking up stuffed animals from the floor after playtime. Their overstuffed bodies are gentle on little hands, and putting them away often means tossing them onto the child’s bed (with glee). When the stuffed animal itself needs cleaning, a quick run through the washing machine usually takes care of the job. Picking up a barrel of building blocks, however, feels like a real chore—plus they hurt when you step on them.
5. They’re dependable.
Stuffed animals last long after most toys have fallen to bits. Stuffed animals don’t bend, break or dent. They don’t have screens that crack, batteries that run out or parts that get lost. A child can pick up or put down a stuffed animal at any time with no fuss or muss. They’re great for taking along on a car ride or plane trip. If a stuffed animal happens to rip, it can be repaired with a needle, some thread and a little extra fluff. With their forgiving smiles, cuddly hugs and years-long durability, stuffed animals really are the perfect friends.