Teddy bears and other soft toys are beloved by children of all ages, although they are particularly appropriate for babies and toddlers. They come in a variety of designs and colours which will delight young children.  They are soft and cuddly and also an essential decorative element for any child’s room.

The most famous stuffed toys, of course, are those in the shape of a bear, although these are only one of many types available. You can find soft toys which are not only in the shape of animals but also all the most famous cartoon characters. This shopping guide will give you some tips on recommendations on which one to choose.

Key Facts

  • Teddy bears are generally the first toy of any baby. It is soft to touch making it perfect even for newborns.
  • Among the benefits of stuffed toys is that they provide comfort, a sense of security and confidence to young children. They aid with the development of fine motor skills and as well as social and emotional skills.
  • There is a huge variety of teddy bears and stuffed toys available. You can find bears, rabbits, dogs and all kinds of animals. You can also find those representing kids characters like those from Disney.

Ranking: The best teddy bears on the Australian market

The extensive range of teddy bears on the market can make it difficult to choose the best one. For this reason, we have prepared a list of some of the best stuffed toys around. Here we also provide details on design, quality of materials and suitability for children in this ranking.

No. 1: JOON Big Teddy Bear

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This Teddy Bear from Joon stands at a large 70cm, and is super soft, plush and tactile, making this massive bear ultra cuddly and enchanting for kids of all ages. It comes with a ribbon on his neck, making it not only a wonderful toy but also a great décor item for any kid’s bedroom or playroom.

This bear is made from extra-soft polyester fabric, with plastic eyes and cute paw printed feet. It is also to clean by spot cleaning with a damp cloth.

No. 2: GUND Hugs T-Shirt Teddy Bear

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This plush, tan bear from Gund is extra soft and huggable. Suitable for ages one and up, it is a high-quality and huggable toy that your toddler or child will love, and is sure to become their favourite in no time. It can also be easily cleaned by wiping or spot cleaning the surface with a sponge or cloth.

Gund is a well-known brand which has been making teddy bears and other soft toys for more than a century. They are known for their innovation and creativity, always releasing original, new designs.

No. 3: Adventure Planet Set of 2 Plush Sharks

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If you’re looking for something a little different to the traditional teddy bear, dog or cat stuffed animals, check out these toy sharks! Teach your little ones about marine life with this pair of soft toy sharks, which are cute and cuddly.

The toys, made by brand Adventure Planet, are made from a soft, plush fabric, perfect for cuddling and suitable for very young children to older kids. The set comes with two sharks: a hammerhead shark and a mako shark, each around 35cm long.

No. 4: GUND Cozys Dog Stuffed Toy

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This stuffed dog toy is from Gund’s “Cozys” collection, which is a series of stuffed animals made from ultra soft and cuddly materials, making them the perfect present for any young child. At 20cm, it is the perfect companion for a baby, toddler or child.

With a loveable puppy-dog face, your child is sure to love this stuffed toy, whether they are a baby or an older child. Being soft and snuggly, this toy is suitable for all ages.

No. 5: GUND Flappy the Elephant Stuffed Toy

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Another quality product from Gund, this cuddly elephant is called Flappy. An animated toy, it plays peek-a-boo and sings the song “Do Your Ears Hang Low”. Its ears flap along, which are sure to delight your little one!

AA batteries are included, and this soft toy can be surface washed to keep it clean and looking like new. Like all Gund toys, this stuffed elephant is made from premium materials to make it extra soft and cuddly, and you can be assured of high-quality manufacture.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about teddy bears

Stuffed animals have been passed down the generations and today remain one of children’s most favourite toys. Given the thousands of designs, materials, sizes and shapes there are on the market, it is worthwhile getting your head around the main aspects of teddy bears. Here is what you should know about stuffed animals to make sure you make the best purchase.

One of the key characteristics of teddy bears is that they are soft to the touch. (Source: Tatyana Tomsickova: 92852696/ 123rf.com)

What are teddy bears made of?

One of the main characteristics of stuffed animals is that they are soft to the touch. In addition to the material on the outside, the softness is due to the material used to stuff the toy. One of the main materials used to make teddy beards is cotton, a natural fabric you’ll find in clothes and many household products, among other everyday items.

Another very common material used is wool, known to be quite fluffy. Other important materials include calico, velour, and polyester. The latter is a synthetic material that adds a certain texture to stuffed animals.

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Of course we cannot forget their soft texture which makes them so suitable for little ones.

Can teddy bears be washed in the washing machine?

Whether a stuffed animal can be machine-washed depends on the material it is made from. There are models that would not survive the spin cycle and the washing process in general. This detail is usually indicated on the label of the stuffed animal in question. Check the washing instructions on the label to confirm if it is suitable for the washing machine.

If the stuffed animal is broken or unstitched, it is not recommended to put it in the washing machine, as this could end up breaking it. Of course, if the toy has some type of electronic mechanism it generally cannot be submerged in water. To protect the teddy bear in the washing machine, one option is to put them inside a cloth bag.

New York University Psychoanalytical Institute

“Teddy bears act as a transitional object, which act as a defence against separation anxiety. Additionally, they can be indicative of how children will interact with and maintain human relationships.”

What are the benefits of stuffed animals for children?

Stuffed toys, despite their simplicity, are some of the most impactful toys around. First of all, they represent a source of peace and protection, which means that your child will feel safer with it. If their parents are not around, just having a teddy bear will help your little one sleep.

Due to their texture, soft toys stimulate children’s sense of touch and are beneficial for the development of their fine motor skills. They also help children develop social skills and encourage their imagination and creativity. They are items that improve their self-esteem and encourage their sense of responsibility, providing comfort and peace.

Here are some of the many benefits that the stuffed animals provide:

  • They are soft and endearing
  • They are safe even for babies
  • They are flexible and durable
  • They promote social skills
  • They provide a sense of security
  • They contribute to the emotional development

How to choose the right stuffed animal for each child?

When selecting a stuffed animal, the age and developmental stage of the child should be taken into account. For babies, these toys should be as soft as possible and, generally, small in size. Also, it is important that they do not include smaller pieces that can get in the mouth in a moment of carelessness.

For very young kids, the best stuffed toys are those that are lighter and have a lower hair density. Soft stuffed animals are ideal. As they grow up, children start wanting toys which represent their favourite TV characters with various functionalities, such as music or lights. These are definitely much more interactive.

When choosing a teddy bear, you should keep in mind the age of the child.
(Source: Bualuang: 81650712/ 123rf.com)

What types of stuffed toys are available on the market?

Stuffed toys can be classified, in the first place, according to their appearance. The most common are those in the shape of animals, among which, of course,  teddy bears stand out. However, there are models of giraffes, dogs, cats, monkeys and countless other animals. In terms of size, they can be big, medium or small.

The largest are almost as tall as an adult (160 cm), while the smallest models range between 10 and 25 cm. You can also find stuffed animals linked to television characters: Disney, Peppa Pig, comic superheroes, Canine Patrol and many more. You can also choose between simple models and more interactive ones, with various functions.

Shopping criteria

In order to choose the best teddy bear, there are some purchase criteria you have to keep in mind. Every child is unique so it’s important to consider their age, preferences and other aspects. Below, we talk about the most important factors to consider in order to choose the best stuffed toy which is in line with the needs of your little one.

  • Design
  • Dimensions
  • Maintenance
  • Age
  • Safety

Design

Design is one of the key criteria when selecting a teddy bear for a child. Think about the kid’s tastes and preferences, or if buying it as a gift for a baby, those of their parents. There is an almost infinite number of models available on the market today. When it comes to colour, there are pastel shades, as well as those which are more striking, and those which are simpler.

Examine the softness of the stuffed toy. For a baby, it is not recommended to have a toy with dense fur, but rather a fabric with a soft texture. You can select a teddy bear or one that is in the shape of any animal. You can also choose models related to famous characters such as Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog or Spiderman, among others.

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There are stuffed animals, such as homemade rag dolls, which have been used since 1830.

Dimensions

Another element to consider is the size of the stuffed animal. There are children who prefer XL models, as they have a lot of fun having an inanimate friend who is as tall as they are. Larger stuffed animals, in this sense, could measure up to 160 cm. They are ideal as decoration, although they are not the most manageable or transportable.

On the other hand, there are smaller teddy bears and other stuffed toys who are around 25 cm long. These are ideal for babies, since they will be able to safely sleep with them. We also find medium-sized models, perfect, perhaps, for older children. This size is ideal for hugging them and interacting with them.

Teddy bears can improve children’s self-esteem, encourage responsibility and be very comforting.
(Source: MaszaS: 668538/ 123rf.com)

Maintenance

Maintenance is essential when it comes to stuffed animals. Do not forget that these are toys that will be in permanent contact with the child, but also with dirt and dust. It is common for babies to put them in their mouths all the time, which is why it is essential to always keep them as clean as possible.

Depending on the model, it is possible that they can be machine washed, between 30 and 40ºC. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions. In the case of delicate materials, it is possible that they can only be washed by hand. On electronic models, contact with water should generally be avoided.

Design is one of the main considerations when choosing a teddy bear for a little boy or girl.
(Source: Evgeny Atamanenko: 54007523/ 123rf.com)

Age

Before buying a stuffed animal, you will have to make sure that the model chosen is suitable for the age of the child. Manufacturers usually indicate this on the label or packaging. For example, it is important that a teddy bear for babies does not contain small, hard or painted parts, as they could be harmful and/or come off.

At an early age, it is advisable to opt for light and soft stuffed animals, preferably made of soft fabrics. When the child grows, the possibilities will increase. In this sense, accessories will be the key to greater fun. Gradually the child will become interested in models that emit sound, or that talk or moves.

Safety

Safety is a vital factor when it comes to children’s items. This means ensuring that the product complies with official Government standards. The Product Safety Australia, an Australian federal government body, defines the mandatory standard under the Consumer Protection Notice No. 14 of 2003.

The mandatory standard is based on certain sections of the voluntary Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002 ‘Safety of toys Part 1: Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties’. These standards are designed to ensure that toys are safe to use even by toddlers and babies under 3 years of age.

Summary

Teddy bears, like any other toy, are designed for children’s entertainment. However, fun and safety are not mutually exclusive, and so it is essential to ensure that the toy meets the strictest safety standards. A good stuffed toy is one that, despite its prolonged use, accompanies the child throughout their childhood.

There is something about these kinds of toys that excites not only children but also adults. We’ve all had one that, though simple, was truly thrilling to us. There are even those who still have stuffed toys well into adulthood. At the end of the day, teddy bears and stuffed toys transcend fashion and generations.

If you liked this shopping guide, we encourage you to share it on social media. You can also leave us a comment below.

(Source of the featured image: Pawel Horazy : 96037702/ 123rf.com)

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