Last updated: 12/07/2019

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Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are adored by kids of all ages, although they are particularly appropriate for babies and toddlers. They come in a variety of shapes and colors which will delight young toddlers.  They are soft and cuddly and are also an essential part any child’s room’s decor.

The most famous stuffed toys, of course, are those in the shape of a teddy bear the famous first version being modeled after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, although these are only one of many types available. You can find stuffed animals which are not only in the shape of animals but also in the shapes of famous fairy tale characters, and cartoon characters. This shopping guide will give you some tips on recommendations on which one to choose for yourself or your child.

Key Facts

  • Teddy bears are usually the first toy any baby receives. They are soft to the touch, making them perfect even for newborns.
  • Among the benefits of stuffed animals is that they provide comfort, a sense of security and confidence to young children while being safe for the child to handle at even the youngest age. These toys help with the development of fine motor skills and as well as social and emotional development.
  • There is a huge variety of teddy bears and stuffed animals and toys available. You can find bears, rabbits, dogs and all kinds of animals. You can also find those representing famous characters like those from Disney or other television programs and movies.

Our Selection: The Best Teddy Bears on the U.S. Market

The huge range of teddy bears on the market can make it difficult to choose just one. For this reason, we have prepared a list of some of the best stuffed toys around. Here we also provide details on design, materials and suitability for various age groups of children.

The Best Teddy Bear for Small Budgets

For under $20, this large, appealing teddy bear is from one of America’s most trusted stuffed animal brands. You can rest assured that materials, design and safety are top quality with this “Slumbers” teddy bear. Slumbers is a big ol’ papa bear that’s as soft as they come. This original brown teddy bear design features bold paw pads for a realistic touch, as well as cuddly fur with tan chest accents. And at 17” tall, there’s a lot to hug! As always, high-quality and huggable soft plush ensures that GUND products remain loyal pals for years to come.Surface-washable. Appropriate for ages one and up.

About GUND: For more than 100 years, GUND has been a premier plush company recognized worldwide for quality innovative products. Building upon our award-winning and beloved plush designs, we continue to practice innovation by constantly developing new original and licensed designs to appeal to the next generation of customers. To that end, each one of our plush toys is constructed from premium materials for unparalleled softness and huggability. The price, design and safety of this product make it our #1 pick.

The Biggest Teddy Bear

If you are looking for a trusted brand, classic design, and SIZE, then this three-foot teddt bear from Vermont Teddy bears is for you. Vermont Teddy Bears is a relative newcomer on the teddy bear market, but is firmly established as a company that stands firmly for quality and service.

There’s nothing better than a big, soft hug! With a soft, huggable construction and charming design, it makes the perfect gift for kids, sweethearts and teddy bear lovers of all ages. Whether napping, reading a book or just lounging the day away, people of all ages just love having this cuddly companion to relax with. This big, classically designed ber is made with ultra-plush material, soft details and 100% recycled stuffing, and they’re right at home in any nursery, playroom, or bedroom!

The Softest Teddy Bear

This adorable Brumby bear has the design of a classic bear with the softness of modern plush. Measuring 17″ tall from head to toe, Brumby is the perfect size for cuddling and is sure to become a treasured companion. Hand crafted using the most luxuriously soft plush this posable bear is perfect for everyone from the collector to a special child in your life. Brumby teddy bear is from the award winning Bearington Collection.

Founded in 1997 Bearington caught on like wildfire with collectors and is the proud recipient of more distinguished design awards than any other teddy bear company. Over the years Bearington has received more than 100 industry design awards and nominations which include: 1 Canadian Collectible of the Year Award 2 NALED Plush of the Year Nominations 2 CIB Collector’s Choice Awards.

The Best Classic Teddy Bear

If you are looking for more of a collector’s item, the best in the world are Steiff Teddy Bears from Germany–they are safe, jointed, hand made, visually delightful and made only from the best possible materials.  This bear will set you back about $150 but these teddy’s retain their value if cared for and also make safe, wonderful toys for the lucky baby in your life.  If you’re looking for a Classic Teddy to give as an heirloom gift, look no further than this Steiff bear from 1920. Makes a wonderful gift to commemorate a birth, first baptism or christening, first communion, or first day of school.

Teddy bears are the start of wonderful friendships which begin on four paws. The 1920 classic teddy bear made of pleasantly fine, wonderfully soft mohair and high quality alpaca. This is no ordinary bear.  Some days can be so grey and cloudy, the turbulence of day-to-day life can challenge us: looking your favorite Steiff Teddy bear in the eyes always feels like coming home. It is nice that there are such valuable moments. He is brass colored, jointed and surface washable. He is approximately 10″.

The Best Teddy Bear from Disney

So soft. So fun. Stuffed with fluff. Every hug is sure to bring a smile. With authentic Disney sculpturing and embroidered details, Winnie the Pooh and his plush pals from the Hundred Acre Wood will always be waiting for you. Be sure of the best quality Pooh when you buy this teddy bear, which is a genuine, original, authentic Disney Store product.

It has adorable embroidered features, detailed plush sculpturing, soft stuffing and fuzzy velour fabrics for the Pooh you imagined from the bedtime stories. On happy customer wrote “My daughter LOVES this pooh bear – so we had to buy it again, in case something happens to the original. Its well made (the first one was been used for over a year and is still looks great), I wash it every couple of weeks and the colors haven’t faded or bled.”

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Teddy Bears

Stuffed animals have been enjoyed in many forms for generations and still remain one of children’s favourite toys. There are thousands of designs, materials, sizes and shapes on the market, so it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the main features of teddy bears. Here is what you should know about stuffed animals to make sure you make the best purchase.

One of the key characteristics of teddy bears is that they are soft to the touch.
(Source: Tatyana Tomsickova: 92852696/ 123rf.com)

What are teddy bears made of?

One of the main features of stuffed animals is that they are soft and cuddly. In addition to the material on the outside, the level softness is due to the material used to stuff the toy. One of the main materials used to make teddy beard is cotton, a natural fabric you’ll find in clothing and many household products, among other everyday items.  The softer the inside fabric, the easier the animal is to squeeze and grasp. This is especially improtant for the youngerbabies. As kids get older they do more role-playing with their stuffed animals than cuddling and may want a firmer plush friend. Some even have bean bags in the bottoms to help them stay standing up.

Another very common material used to stuff high-quality toys is wool, known to be quite fluffy. Polyester fiber fill can be found in all types of densities for different levels of “squish.” Other important materials include exterior fabrics such as plush, animal fur, velour, and polyester. The latter is a synthetic material that adds a certain texture to stuffed animals.

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Of course we cannot forget their soft texture which makes them so suitable for little ones.

Can teddy bears be washed in the washing machine?

Whether a stuffed animal can be machine-washed depends on the material it is made from. There are some stuffed animals that would not survive the spin cycle and the washing process in general. This detail is usually indicated on the label of the stuffed animal in question. Check the washing instructions on the label to confirm if it is suitable for the washing machine. It iwll usually say “surface wash only” if this is the case. If you are buying a toy for a child, it is better to get one that can withstand the rigors of actual play and can be popped into the washing machine following any teddy mishaps.

If the stuffed animal is damaged or comes unstitched, it is not recommended to put it in the washing machine, as this could end up making it come further undone. It is best to repair the toy first in those cases, then toss in the washer and dryer.  Of course, if the toy has some type of electronic mechanism it generally cannot be submerged in water. To protect the teddy bear in the washing machine, one option is to put them inside a cloth bag such as a pillow case when washing. A good brushing with a soft brush will bring it back to its original look if the fur becomes matted in the wash.

New York University Psychoanalytical Institute

“Teddy bears act as a transitional object, which act as a defense against separation anxiety. Additionally, they can be indicative of how children will interact with and maintain human relationships.”

What are the benefits of stuffed animals for children?

Stuffed toys, despite their simplicity, are some of the most important toys in a child’s life. First of all, they represent a source of peace and protection, which means that your child will feel safer with the toy than without it. If their parents are not around, just having a teddy bear will help your little one feel calm and relaxed.

Due to their texture, stuffed animals stimulate children’s sense of touch and are beneficial for the development of their fine motor skills. They also help children develop social skills and encourage their imagination and creativity. Teddy bears improve a child’s self-esteem and encourage their sense of responsibility–keeping track of teddy, and ability to provide comfort and peace to themselves.

Here are some of the many benefits that stuffed animals provide:

  • They are soft and endearing
  • They are safe even for babies
  • They are flexible and durable
  • They promote social skills
  • They provide a sense of security
  • They contribute to emotional development

How do I choose the right stuffed animal for my child?

When selecting a stuffed animal, the age and developmental stage of the child should be taken into account. For babies, these toys should be as soft as possible, with few if any hard parts such as plastic eyes, and, generally, small in size.

For very young kids, the best stuffed toys are those that are lighter and have a lower hair density. Soft stuffed animals are ideal. As they grow up, children start wanting toys which represent their favorite TV characters with various functionalities, such as music or lights. These are definitely much more interactive.

When choosing a teddy bear, you should keep the age of the childin mind .
(Source: Bualuang: 81650712/ 123rf.com)

What types of stuffed toys are available on the market?

Stuffed toys can be classified primarily, according to their appearance. The most common are those in the shape of animals, among which, of course, teddy bears are the most common. However, there are toy giraffes, dogs, cats, monkeys and countless other animals. In terms of size, they can be large, medium or small–some are as large as the children themselves or even larger and function more like furniture than a toy.

The largest are almost as tall as an adult (160 cm), while the smallest models range between 10 and 25 cm. You can also find stuffed animals linked to television characters: adventure animals, comic superheroes, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and many more. You can also choose between simple models and more interactive ones, with various functions such as lights, sound and movement.

Shopping Criteria

In order to choose the best teddy bear, there are some shopping criteria you should keep in mind. Every child is unique so it’s important to consider their age, preferences and other facotrs. Below, we talk about the most important factors to consider in order to choose the best stuffed toy which is in line with the needs of your little one.

Design

Design is one of the key criteria when selecting a teddy bear for a child. Think about the child’s tastes and preferences, or if buying it as a gift for a baby, those of their parents. There is an almost infinite number of models available on the market today. When it comes to color, there are pastel shades, as well as those which are more striking, and those which are simpler. You can match the baby’s room, the partent’s favorite sports team or just go with a classic baby bear.

Examine the softness of the stuffed toy. For a baby, it is not recommended to have a toy with dense fur, but rather a fabric with a soft fluffy texture that they can get thier little fingers into. You can select a teddy bear or one that is in the shape of any animal. You can also choose models related to famous characters such as Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog or Spiderman, among others.

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There are stuffed animals, such as homemade rag dolls, which have been used since 1830.

Dimensions

Another element to consider is the size of the stuffed animal. There are children who prefer XL models, as they have a lot of fun having an inanimate friend who is as tall as they are. Larger stuffed animals, in this sense, could measure up to 5 feet tall. They are ideal as decorations, although they are not the most manageable or transportable toys.

On the other hand, there are smaller teddy bears and other stuffed toys who are around 8-10 inches long. These are ideal for babies, since they will be able to safely sleep with them. We also find medium-sized models, perfect, perhaps, for older children. This size is ideal for hugging them and interacting with them.

Teddy bears can improve children’s self-esteem, encourage responsibility and be very comforting.
(Source: MaszaS: 668538/ 123rf.com)

Maintenance

Maintenance is essential when it comes to stuffed animals. Do not forget that these are toys that will be in permanent contact with the child, but also with dirt and dust. It is common for babies to put them in their mouths all the time, which is why it is essential to always keep them as clean as possible.

Depending on the individua toy, it is possible that they can be machine washed, between 65 and 120º. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. In the case of delicate materials, it is possible that the teddy bear may only be hand washable. On electronic models, contact with water should generally be avoided.

Design is one of the main considerations when choosing a teddy bear for a little boy or girl.
(Source: Evgeny Atamanenko: 54007523/ 123rf.com)

Age

Before buying a stuffed animal, you will have to make sure that the toy you select is suitable for the age of the child the toy is being purchsed for. Manufacturers usually indicate a recommended age range on the label or packaging. For example, it is important that a teddy bear for babies does not contain small, hard or painted parts, as they could be harmful and/or come off.

At an early age, it is advisable to opt for light and soft stuffed animals, preferably made of soft fabrics. When the child grows, the possibilities for features will increase. In this sense, accessories will be the key to greater fun. Gradually the child will become interested in toys that emit sound, talk or move.

Safety

Safety is a critical factor when it comes to children’s toys. This means ensuring that the product complies with official Government standards. In addition to Federal and State laws and regulations, U.S. toymakers follow a mandatory set of safety rules and regulations under ASTM F963 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, created under ASTM International. Since 1986, it’s been considered the gold standard in toy safety and is emulated around the globe. The Toy Association leads the multi-stakeholder committee that continually reviews the standard to ensure that it keeps pace with child development research, medical and toy-related incident data, risk assessment techniques, science, and manufacturing innovations. The standard was last revised in 2017.

Summary

Teddy bears, like any other toy, are designed for children’s entertainment. However, fun and safety are not mutually exclusive, and so it is essential to ensure that the toy meets the strictest safety standards. A good stuffed toy is one that, despite its prolonged use, accompanies the child throughout their childhood.

There is something about these kinds of toys that excites not only children but also adults. We’ve all had one that, though simple, was truly a companion to us. There are even those who still keep their stuffed toys well into adulthood. At the end of the day, teddy bears and stuffed toys transcend styles and generations.

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(Source of the featured image: Pawel Horazy : 96037702/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust us?

William loves kids of all ages and is a professional educator. In his professional career he has learned a lot about education and toys. Now he loves to blog about it and hopes to help young parents. It is important to Wiliam that he stays up to date, therefore he regularly informs himself about current topics in the field of education.
I am a professional writer, translator and marketing consultant with over seven years of experience working in the communications industry. I love to explore the world and always keep up to date on the latest technologies. I love to keep fit throughout my travels, be it through a healthy and balanced diet or through researching the latest trend in sports.