Stuffed animals aren’t just toys—they’re beloved companions that help children develop important skills from an early age. They can teach emotional autonomy, empathy and communication, and provide a sense of comfort and security.
Children often form strong attachments to stuffed animals, and they take their favorites with them everywhere—even on trips out of the house! Because of this, it’s essential to pick out toys that are durable and well-made. Look for plush animals with seams that are stitched tightly and securely, and make sure the animal’s head, arms or legs don’t dangle or fall off. If you notice loose threads, that’s a sign the toy is poorly made and should be avoided.
Kids use stuffed animals to play pretend and develop creative thinking skills. During their games, they often assign roles to their cuddly friends: a doll can become a teacher, a patient, a doctor or an astronaut. Moreover, children can engage in role-playing even if they have difficulty verbalizing their emotions.
Some adults—particularly Gen Zers and millennials—report that they still sleep with their childhood teddy bear or other stuffed animal. These people can find a great deal of comfort and peace in their familiar companions because the animals can help them calm down before sleeping and soothe their anxieties. Plus, petting a teddy or other soft toy can reduce cortisol levels in the body, which is known to increase stress and depression. These benefits can also extend to adulthood, where stuffed animals have been used by trauma survivors as a way to nurture themselves and ease feelings of loneliness or separation anxiety. stuffed animals