The first soft toy was originally sold as an elephant felt pin cushion and was manufactured with a new technology meant for manufacturing upholstery. In 1892, we had our first mass-produced soft toy and since then, its popularity grew leaps and bounds with people even sewing handmade soft toys.
Soft toys are known by many other different names like plush toys, plushies, stuffed animals and stuffies as well as soft toys and cuddly toys.
Some famous soft toys are the Ithaca Cat which was sold as the Tabby Cat printed pattern on muslin. The teddy bear was inspired by a drawing of a bear cub with the president, Teddy Roosevelt and more recently, there have been the UglyDoll which has a unique concept of recognisable characters that are exaggerated.
There was also the Beanie Babies series of soft toys stuffed with plastic pellets and Pillow Pets which can be folded from a pillow into a soft toy. Other famous soft toys include Tickle Me Elmo, a laughing and shaking soft toy to the Furby and Zhu Zhu Pets which is a robotic line of talking soft toys.
Benefits of Soft Toys for Young Kids
Soft toys are great for developing multisensory skills. They encourage social and emotional growth even as young as infants who are beginning to understand the different colours, shapes and textures as well as sizes. This foray with soft toys allows them to start exploring the world around them.
When babies are perturbed, they tend to look for things to soothe them. Soft toys can be exactly that by providing them comfort in this world they do not yet comprehend. It helps put them at ease and fosters a sense of reassurance. They become familiar with a particular soft toy and it helps to create an atmosphere of feeling loved.
Another benefit of a soft toy is that it helps them play pretend which in turn increases their social awareness by mimicking actions like eating, talking or playing. This lays the groundwork for future interaction with peers, siblings or parents and begins to develop their verbal, reading and writing skills even before they enter school.
Soft toys are something that babies care about so they begin to learn concern and empathy at a young age. They also have an urge to take care of other people the way they do their soft toys and this helps them appreciate relationships better.
Soft toys are a beneficial transitional tool for toddlers as well. It helps them through changing situations as a constant to rely on when things get tough. It also coaxes them through separation when they enter school or move to a bed instead of a cot.
A good way to teach a toddler a task is to have them role-play on their soft toy, for example, the brushing of teeth or attending the first day of school. Once they go through the motions, they will be less likely to have adverse reactions. By eliminating the fear factor, children will be confident and secure in their daily lives.
Different Types of Soft Toys and Material
A soft toy is essentially a toy doll that can be stuffed with different types of material and is sewn with an outer layer of fabric. There are many different forms of soft toys however most of them are made in the likeness of real animals, legendary creatures, cartoon characters or objects.
They can also be homemade or produced commercially with materials like plush for the outer fabric and synthetic fibre for the stuffing. The earliest material ever used was made of velvet, mohair and felt and stuffed with straw, horsehair and sawdust. After World War 2, soft toys were produced to be washable which was a sought after quality.
Nowadays, modern soft toys are made of materials like plain cloth, terrycloth or sometimes socks while the stuffing commonly used is batting, cotton, straw, wood wool, and beans. Soft toys that are homemade are usually made of yarn or various types of fabrics which can be knitted or crocheted.
Teddy bears are a hugely popular soft toy for babies and adolescents alike. They are extremely comfortable and great for cuddling with. It also serves as a comfort and safety. Myrtille et Capucine Rabbit is luxuriously soft and irresistibly cuddly which makes for a great gift for any young child.
Stuffed dolls are appropriate as a companion and pretend friends. By playing make-believe, it develops a child’s cognitive, emotional and social skills. Little Nuage is an originally designed and ideal companion to take with your child anywhere.
Soft Baby Ball are fun to throw and kick around without the risk of getting hurt especially with babies and therefore are a preferred soft toy. They are great for the indoors or outdoors and build a child’s motor skills by learning how to pass or roll. It is also easy to grasp for those tiny baby hands.
Plush toys that resemble animals are a healthy development for a child during different stages of their growth, starting with recognising the different types of animals to more difficult play sequences and are quite vital as the child matures. Tout Autour du Monde Baby Turtle can be a companion from birth with its safety and care standards. It is also washable which keeps it clean and fresh for babies.
Soft design pillows are a great cuddle buddy and provide comfort to babies and children with their unique design like colourful cartoon characters. The Tree Leaf Cushion is inspired by childhood memories and is made of organic cotton and linen for that amazing sleep.
Safety Tips for Soft Toys
While soft toys are cute, cuddly and everything fun, we must take care to ensure they are safe for children before, during and after use.
Parents and supervising adults should always check that small details do not come off easily and become trapped in a child’s nose, mouth or ears.
It is important to feel if there are any protruding parts and take care that the stuffing is not made of any harmful products.
The seams should be sewn up well and no loose strings should be dangling. Synthetic material such as nylon can lead to strangulation and choking if left unattended.
Stuffing with beans should be secured so that the beans do not escape if there is a tear. Polystyrene beads are especially hazardous to a child if inhaled.
Foam toys are also not recommended for young children as they may pose a threat of choking if the material is bitten off by accident.