Stuffed Animals and Soft Toys Guide

Welcome to the Stuffed Animals and Soft Toys Guide. This site features a wealth of information on plush stuffed animals.

If you wish to purchase Stuffed Animals or soft toys we would highly recommend Stuffed Ark.

Before selecting a stuffed animal or soft toys you need to bear in mind your intended recipient. Are they young or older? Despite some logic about, it is entirely appropriate to give stuffed animals as a toy to older people (teenagers and older). However of course, you must ensure that the circumstances are appropriate and that the recipient will appreciate the gift.

The following chart is an indication of what different ranges are availabe:

Baby Toys
Bags & Backpacks
Favorite Characters
Plush Puppets
Teaching Toys
Teddy Bears
Walking, Talking & More
Other Stuffed Animals & Toys
Animal Alley
Barney & Friends
Beanie Babies & Buddies
Blue's Clues
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Disney Favorites
Dragon Tales
Elmo & Sesame Street
More Favorite Characters
North American Bear Company
Pooh & Friends
Russ Berrie

Stuffed animals and soft toys are quite unlike any other gift about - they are likely to spend their life in your recipients bedroom, most likely on a shelf or on the floor. However you can be sure the stuffed animal will be always appreciated when your recipient wants some comfort or just a plain old hug from a cuddly stuffed animal. Additionally these are a unusually robust gift. Even if the stuffed animals are handled on a regular basis, it will likely last many years (provided it isn't abused or handled roughly). Quality stuffed animals are manufactured from hard-wearing fabric, with strong seems to ensure their durabilty.

Every now and again your stuffed animal may need to be cleaned. This may be the result of an over-zealous toddler spilling food on the soft toy, or it could just be time for a regular cleaning. Even if the stuffed animal spends all its time in say a bedroom and isn't mishandled, it will still get dusty. Sometimes it pays to air stuffed toys out on a reasonably windy day. (Ideally you should avoid putting stuffed animals out on a sunny day - this can help speed the fabric fading process). If the stuffed animal wears clothes, these can also be cleaned.

Depending on the size of the soft toy, it may be able to be placed in your washing machine. However before doing this, ensure that there are no protruding eyes or other parts which could get damaged during the cycle. You will have to ensure there is an extensive amount of drying time available, if the inner filling remains damp this can cause odour problems.

Sometimes soft toys are too large to fit into a washing machine, or their care label recommends they should not get wet. In this instance you will have to be content keeping them clean at the outset. Often a gentle vacuum cleaning will freshen them up.

Licensed or not
Licensed stuffed animals are soft toys which are a version of (usually) a TV or cartoon character. For example Barney and Pooh Bear soft toys fall into this category. Often these soft toys are popular depending on the current craze. For example, now in the year 2002, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soft toys would be considered very uncool and old. Sometimes though, licensed soft toys don't date that much. The best example of this is the Pink Panther stuffed animal.

This is one of the major reasons why purchasing a non-licensed soft toy is the way to go. If you want the stuffed animal to last many years and to outlive all the changes in fashion, the best option is to go with a toy which isn't part of any existing fashion trends.

Big is beautiful
Despite increased shipping costs and an inability for them to fit into a washing machine, extra large or jumbo sized stuffed animals are undoubtedly a very much appreciated gift or buy. Very often large soft toys are not significantly more expensive than smaller licensed soft toys. The most common stuffed animals to be manufactured in a large format are Teddy Bears and dogs. As discussed below, this is due to these being the most popular type of soft toys about. When selecting large or jumbo sized plush stuffed animals, as always bear in mind your intended recipient. For example a oversized Teddy Bear may not be the most appropriate choice for a toddler, as the Teddy Bear could fall over and trap the child.

Which type?
There are a large number of stuffed animals on the market. There are a range of different animals to choose from, these include the more traditional Teddy Bear type soft toy, through to dogs, cats, farmyard animals like cows and pigs along with forest dwelling creatures such as gorillas and exotic birds. If you are unsure of the best soft toy for your recipient it is suggested to run with the good old standbys of Teddy Bears or stuffed toy dogs. These are by far the most common and popular soft toys on the market, and are always appreciated.

Not too formal
There are a number of more formal dolls on the market. The major differences between these and soft toys are of course, that soft toys are soft. Dolls manufactured from harder substances are designed as a more formal toy to be seen, but not played with. These types of dolls unfortuntely can't take the scrapes and treatment that soft toys can handle, and are more prone to breakages.

Getting what you pay for
As with many products nowadays, stuffed animals can now be purchased for very keen prices, often seemingly a little too inexpensive. You should always be entirely sure of the quality of the product you are purchasing. All to often on these cheaper soft toys, quality has been sacrificed in the pursuit of the keenest price. The best way to tell whether the stuffed animal you are considering buying is of inferior quality is to view the area around its eyes. Because of the way soft toys are sewn together, the face area is the most difficult area to construct. So naturally this will be the area which will display tell tale signs of a product not up to scratch.

In particular you should look at the distance between the eyes and the side of the face. This should be consistent on both eyes. Additionally the eyes should be pointing in similar directions and be at the same height on the face. You should also make a similar check with the mouth area. When ordering stuffed animals through the internet, you should closely inspect the picture of the soft toy which is on display. You can also look carefully for any additional features the stuffed animal may have. These may include different coloured paws sewn on, or separate fingers and toes (as opposed to just having a mit for a hand or foot). These features point to the manufacturer taking the extra time to create a quality product.

We recommend the extensive range of Stuffed Animals from Stuffed Ark.

plush soft toys