The benefits of plush toys for kids of all ages.

Almost everyone has a teddy bear. Even once you are an adult, there is a teddy bear somewhere, stuffed into the back of your cupboard or packed away in a box. You will take this teddy bear within you no matter how far you go and one day you will show your children, grandchildren or nieces and nephews this bear. This bear has been with you since childhood. In fact, you can’t remember when you got it but know that it has always been there. Such is the power of those fun plush toys.

Plush toys are soldiers and actors and fire fighters and astronauts. They join together in gangs and discover the jungle and traipse through the backyard in search of pirate treasure. They sit together around a table and drink tea and gossip and they are confidants that never once spill important secrets. Toys have entire worlds that spring up around them, created by the vivid imaginations of the children who own them and play with them and create intricate stories of trips and adventures with them. This function of the toys, to encourage play and imagination and interaction, is one of the most important benefits of owning a stuffed toy.

Plush toys are also for cuddling. When you are small and the world is big, going to sleep while cuddling your toy is the most wonderful comfort in the world. Even once the toy is ratty and torn, the memory of that softness and the relationship remains and you still continue to fall asleep with that comfort close by. The security of hugging your toy is indescribable when you are small, the combination of softness and the memories of the adventures you have been on together and survived combine to make the experience soothing. For a child, having one of the many realistic stuffed animals close by when you are nervous can give a sense of security that few other things can match.

Plush toys have also been found to have great benefits for children with disabilities. Aside from the comfort and security of these toys, they can have an educational benefit that helps children with disabilities learn important interpersonal and mechanical skills. Plush toys can act as confidante to young children, as well as being an effective prop for learning games played with parents in which the parent takes the role of the toy and guides the child through scenarios meant to practice important skills. Children with disabilities can also practice mechanical skills by using their hands to position toys for games and other interactions and by enacting more involved scenarios.

Plush toys are an integral part of almost everyone’s childhood. They are playmates and comfort and security. They remain treasured objects long after childhood is over and we have relegated childish things to a cupboard, remaining with us long after those stages have passed. Choose your child’s plush toy carefully, because you are choosing far more than a fluffy animal with a huggable body.