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== "Stuffed animal" redirects here. For the practise of stuffing and mounting dead animals, see Taxidermy.

[1][2]Lion stuffed animal puppet.[3][4]Soft toys are not necessarily animal shaped.[5][6]Boyds Bears stuffed animal A stuffed toy, stuffie, or plush toy is a toy sewn from cloth, plush, or other textiles, and stuffed with straw, beans, plastic pellets, cotton, synthetic fibres, or other similar materials. Stuffed toys are also known as plush toys (U.S. English) from plush, the outer material used, andsoft toys or cuddly toys (British English). They are made in many different forms, often resembling animals, legendary creatures, cartoon characters or inanimate objects. == Although stuffed toys were primarily designed to comfort children, these toys are also popular among adults. Their popularity has increased over the years to the point where there is basically no family which would not own at least one plush toy. The Steiff Company, founded in 1880 in Germany by Margarete Steiff, was the first to market the stuffed toy. [1][edit]Types and materials==

Genuinely, stuffed toys are made of plush. However, many of the modern plush toys are made of fabrics such as polyester, velboa, velvet,cotton, or fleece material. Microplush toys are usually made from brushed tricot. Polyester suede is one of the popular fabrics that create high-quality products. [2] Other soft materials included in the confectioning of plush toys are baby boa and kohair.
Although synthetic fibers are typically thought to be of low-quality when comparing to plush or cotton for example, many manufacturers prefer synthetics over natural fibers because the first are easier to wash than the latter. Therefore, the use of expensive materials is common and at the same time, a convenient way to increase the quality of a product without a high increase in cost.[3]
The most common types of plush toys are those designed for children. These plush toys are made of very soft materials, and come in very colorful designs in order to appeal to the children's eyes. The most popular plush toys are those representing different animals from dogs to hippos or anything else that could cross someone's mind. They come in various sizes from mini plush toys that have magnets attached and can be put on the fridge to plush toys more than 1 meter high. Perhaps, Teddy Bears are the most popular and the most widely produced plush toys, followed by the sock monkey. However, many cartoon characters can be found on the market as plush toys.
As this industry has developed, plush toys tend to be more and more realistic. Those that are meant to represent animals often look like a real animal. However, many other plush toys are not supposed to look like animals at all. There are, for instance, plush toys resembling a sun or cute insects and which have a musical box inside. They come with a rope which, when it is pulled, enables the musical box. These plush toys are more common for babies, as they come with calming and relaxing music and many parents find them useful for getting their babies to sleep.
Sock monkeys are children's toys made from socks, especially Red Heel Socks manufactured by the Nelson Knitting Company, later acquired by Fox River Mills. These toys have been around for nearly 100 years.[4]
The ugly dolls are also a type of plush toys manufactured by Ugly Doll Company, and they are primarily made of fleece materials. The Wibbles are tiny plush toys no more than two inches wide and across. The Wibbles are manufactured by the company with the same name and are commonly used on key rings. They are usually made of brushed tricot. The Douglas Cuddle Toys are another type of plush toys. They are primarily made of extremely soft materials such as baby boa and they are believed to be the softest type of plush toys.
There are also the zoobies, the multi-functional plush toys. Zoobie Pets are a functional type of plush toys as they are toys, pillows andblankets at the same time. These plush toys are made of very soft materials. They have the shape of different animals and come in various colorful designs. Zoobies come with Velcro latches which allow a fast and easy transformation of the animal into a pillow. The pillow can be unzipped and transformed into a blanket.
Organic Soft Toys are the latest step in modern soft toy culture. Many people think that any soft toy is suitable for a newborn baby or infant when these toys contain chemicals and dyes harmful if ingested. Organic cotton has been proven safe for an infant to ingest along with various eco dyes[5]. Many companies are picking up on this trend and are waiting for the consumer to catch up.

[edit]Pet plush toysEdit

As plush toys are so successful with children and are appealing even to adults, different companies have started manufacturing pet plush toys. The stuffed pet toys are constantly increasing in popularity among pet owners because of their accessible prices and durability. Many dog and cat owners prefer purchasing these toys rather than others because they are cheap, easy to find and quite resistant.
Pet plush toys come in many designs and are usually very colorful, to catch the eye of the pet. Depending on the type of animal it is intended for, these toys can represent anything from mice and little hamsters (which would be appealing to cats) to hamburgers or bones (for dogs).
The safety of the plush toys when used by pets is of great concern for the owners. Although they are generally fun and safe for the pets, low quality pet plush toys may contain or may have been washed with substances that could harm the pet. [6]

[edit]ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Teddy Bear Timeline". Retrieved 2010/05/27.
  2. ^ "Plush Materials". Retrieved 2010/05/27.
  3. ^ "Plush Materials". Retrieved 2010/05/27.
  4. ^ "History of the sock monkey". Retrieved 2010/05/27.
  5. ^ "Organic Soft Toys". Retrieved 2010/06/15.
  6. ^ "Pet Plush Toys". Retrieved 2010/05/27.

[edit]See alsoEdit

  • Teddy bear, a common type of children's stuffed toy.

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