Where Did Teddy Come From?
Have you ever wondered where the original "Teddy Bear" was born? Well, for those of you who enjoy a little trivia, we'll indulge a bit. In 1880, in Germany, the first commercial production of stuffed toys was started by the Steiff Company, who used a new technology that was designed for upholstery to make stuffed toys. In 1903, Richard Steiff broke from tradition and instead of making rag dolls, designed a soft bear that he made from a plush, fur-like fabric. At the same time, across the ocean, Morris Michtom, an American, created the first teddy bear. His inspiration: A photo of Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt with a bear cub. So, there you have it - teddy bear plush toy history in a nutshell.
Still A Favorite
Even with all of the electronic and mechanical toys on the market, plush toys continue to enjoy great ratings and sales. The reason could be that they're cute, cuddly, soft, and usually have warm, fuzzy, feelings associated with them. One of the first gifts given to a new baby is a plush toy and of the plush toy manufacturers, plush toys by Gund are probably at the top of the list. Gund plushies are amazingly soft and huggable. They come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes and anyone who has received one will keep it forever.
Plush toy designs are varied and fun. These days, you can create your own designer plush toys and there are companies that help you put your ideas into fabric and stuffing. Custom plush toys are a big hit on the market today. You can design a special shape or creature, pick out the perfect fabric for it and sew it, stuff it, and give it as a unique, custom made plush toy for someone to treasure. Although we associate soft plush toys with little ones, many adults enjoy them as well. Teenage girls often boast a huge collection - something that was started when they were little and continued on from there.
What Inspires the Creation of Plush Toys?
Some of the inspiration for plush toys comes from the television and movie industries. Whenever a children's Disney movie is made, you can count on replica plush toys to be available as well. Little kids cuddle with Shrek, Donkey, and Nemo which are very popular as preschool toys. As well as Disney characters, there are the plush toys inspired by the video games that kids play. Pokemon plush toys, Super Mario and Nintendo plush toys are all favorites as preschool toys and toys for older kids as well. You will find plush toys often given out free at a movie premiere or at sports events, where wholesale plush toys are either sold or given away to create a memory link with the event.
From the Far East - Pokemon and More
Japanese plush toys are another hot item these days. Several years ago Japanese toys made their way to the American marketplace and, coupled with the cartoons and movies, they grabbed the affection and attention of North American kids. As a result, toy exports are the fastest growing business segment in Japan, mostly because the toys are very cute and very inexpensive. Again, these toys appear more in the hands of older children than they do in the chubby fingers of infants and toddlers, however, their size makes them easy for little hands to hold and as long as there are no small parts that can come off, they're just the right size for a baby to grab onto.
Babies Love 'Em, So Do Adults
Plush toys, like any other type of toy, can be used as a means of learning and development for babies and toddlers. Babies love to clutch and hold things close to their bodies. A plush toy affords them the ability to grab and hold tightly onto something that is soft. If there is a sound that the plushie makes, all the better. Babies learn cause and effect when they grab and hug and a sound is emitted. Often a favorite plush toy becomes a constant companion, going everywhere with the child (including to bed) and offering comfort when the child is upset.
It's no wonder plush toys remain a constant and well-loved toy for all age groups.