Stuffed toy

Stuffed toy
Different types of stuffed toys

A stuffed toy is a toy sewn from cloth, plush, or other textiles, and stuffed with straw, beans, plastic pellets, cotton, synthetic fibres, or other similar materials. Stuffed toys are also known as plush toys (U.S. English) from plush, the outer material used, and soft toys or cuddly toys (British English).

Stuffed toys are made in many different forms, often resembling animals, legendary creatures, cartoon characters or inanimate objects. They are often used as comfort objects, for display or collecting and given as gifts, such as for graduation, Valentine's Day or birthdays.

History and types

A teddy bear from around 1954

The first commercial concern to create stuffed toys was the German Steiff company in 1880. Steiff used new technology developed for upholstery to make their stuffed toys.[1] In 1903 Richard Steiff designed a soft bear that differed from earlier traditional rag dolls because it was made of plush furlike fabric.[1] At the same time in the USA, Morris Michtom created the first teddy bear, after being inspired by a drawing of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt with a bear cub.[2] The character Peter Rabbit from English author Beatrix Potter was the first stuffed toy to be patented, in 1903.[3]

A pair of homemade sock monkeys

Sock monkeys are handmade stuffed monkeys made out of socks that first appeared during the Great Depression.[4] Amigurumi is a Japanese type of handcrafted knitted or crocheted stuffed toys. Amigurumi are typically made to look cute with over-sized heads and undersized extremities. Beginning in 2003, they are collected and sold on crafting websites like Etsy.[5][6]

A Beanie Baby beanbag toy

There are many brands of stuffed toys, including Beanie Babies, a line of stuffed beanbag animals, that was started in 1993. Several marketing strategies, such as keeping them at a low price, introducing a wide variety of Beanie Babies, giving them names, birthdays, and personalities, and retiring certain Beanie Babies after a while (thus giving them collector's value) made them widely popular for years after they were introduced..

Several brands of electronic and robotic plush toys were fads when they were first released. These include Tickle Me Elmo, a laughing and shaking plush toy based on the character Elmo from the Sesame Street television show, released in 1996,[7] Furby, a robotic talking plush toy with its own language, released in 1998[8] and Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of robotic plush hamsters released in 2009.[9][10]

Webkinz stuffed animals were created by Ganz in 2005. Each Webkinz toy comes with a unique "Secret Code" that gives access to the Webkinz World website and a virtual version of the toy for online play.[11][12] Disney's Club Penguin and Build-A-Bearville from Build-A-Bear Workshop are other online worlds with content that can be unlocked from codes found on associated stuffed toys.

Pillow Pets are a brand of folding stuffed toys. These types have straps that open to transform the toy from the stuffed toy position to pillow position, and close to restore it back to a stuffed toy.[13]


  1. ^ a b Gary S. Cross (1999). Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Harvard University Press. pp. 93–94. 
  2. ^ "Teddy Bears". Library Of Congress. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ Beatrix Potter's Life -]
  4. ^ Boschma, Janie (2007-11-05). "History of the sock monkey: Stuffed animal created during the Great Depression". The Spectator. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  5. ^ Mary Beth Temple (2009). Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot. Andrews McMeel. pp. 40–41. ISBN 9780740778124. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  6. ^ Mary Belton (2006). Craft, Volume 1: Transforming Traditional Crafts. O'Reilly Media. pp. 41–42. ISBN 9780596529284. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  7. ^ "Just Tickled". People, January 13, 1997.
  8. ^ "New toy an interactive fur ball". CNN. 1998-10-05. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  9. ^ Vicki Mabrey; Kinga Janik (November 20, 2009). "Zhu Zhu Pets: Hamsters to Save Christmas?". ABC News. 
  10. ^ Anderson, Mae (November 27, 2009). "Robotic hamsters are holidays' unlikely new craze". Denver Post. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ Pardo, Steve (2007-04-11). "Kids hooked on Webkinz world". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  12. ^ Barakat, Matthew (2007-07-13). "Review: Webkinz pleases parents and children". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  13. ^ My Pillow Pets - About Us

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • stuffed toy — stuffed toys N COUNT A stuffed toy is the same as a stuffed animal. [AM] (in BRIT, use soft toy) …   English dictionary

  • stuffed toy — /stʌft ˈtɔɪ/ (say stuft toy) noun a small imitation of an animal, cartoon character, etc., made by filling an outer covering with padding …   Australian English dictionary

  • stuffed animal — stuffed toy n AmE a toy animal covered and filled with soft material British Equivalent: soft toy …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • stuffed animal — stuffed animals N COUNT Stuffed animals are toys that are made of cloth filled with a soft material and which look like animals. [AM] Syn: stuffed toy (in BRIT, use soft toy) …   English dictionary

  • stuffed — [ stʌft ] adjective 1. ) INFORMAL someone who is stuffed has eaten until they feel full or sick: No more, thanks. I m stuffed. 2. ) a dead animal that is stuffed has been filled with a substance so that it looks alive a ) stuffed meat or… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Stuffed animal — A stuffed animal is toy animal sewn from cloth, plush, or other textiles, and stuffed with straw, beans, plastic pellets, cotton, synthetic fibers, or other similar materials. Stuffed animals are also known as plush toys (U.S English) from the… …   Wikipedia

  • stuffed — UK [stʌft] / US adjective 1) informal someone who is stuffed has eaten until they feel full or ill No more, thanks. I m stuffed. 2) a dead animal that is stuffed has been filled with a substance so that it looks alive a) stuffed meat or… …   English dictionary

  • stuffed animal — noun count AMERICAN 1. ) a soft toy in the shape of an animal 2. ) a dead animal that has been stuffed …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Toy — This article is about playthings. For other uses of the term, see Toy (disambiguation). A toy is an object used in play. Toys are usually associated with children and pets, but it is not unusual for adult humans and some non domesticated animals… …   Wikipedia

  • toy — toyer, n. toyless, adj. toylike, adj. /toy/, n. 1. an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with; plaything. 2. a thing or matter of little or no value or importance; a… …   Universalium

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