Stuffed Animal Fun
Stuffed Animals: Happy or sad? Ugly or pretty?
What types of stuffed animals make good comfort objects for kids (or teens or adults for that matter)? Will the child feel sad if his stuffed animal has a sad expression? Is it possible the child will develop unrealistic ideas of beauty if all his stuffed animals are pretty? What if all the stuffed animals are ugly or funny-looking? Are there certain types of stuffed animals one should avoid?
Happy, sad, sleepy, or laughing stuffed animals?
Will the apparent personality or facial expression of the stuffed animal make a difference to a child? Of course it will. But I believe it can make a positive difference. It's great for a kid to have lots of happy looking stuffed animals to accompany him on his wonderful, happy childhood adventures. But what happens at bedtime? A favorite "sleepy" stuffed animal may be just what the child needs to settle into bed.
As for sad-looking stuffed animals, I owned a very cuddly dog stuffed animal with droopy eyes and droopy ears who looked perpetually sad. But that sad dog stuffed animal got me through a lot, from elementary school and even all the way through high school. The stuffed animal seemed to "understand" me better when I was upset and was always there for me to hold.
Beautiful, ugly, normal, strange stuffed animals?
Just like happy stuffed animals, attractive or pretty stuffed animals make great friends, but sometimes it's the weird or ugly stuffed animals who make even better friends. This is not to say that children should or do identify more with ugly stuffed animals. But strange-looking stuffed animals can subconsciously (or quite consciously if their parents wish to use the stuffed animal as part of a play lesson) teach kids that it's okay to be different or unique. All stuffed animals belong to the greater stuffed animal world, as do all kids.
Stuffed animals to avoid
Whether or not there are actually stuffed animals with certain appearances which should not be given to kids depends very much on the specific kid in question. If the child is still little and easily spooked, it might be a good idea to save the grimacing or scary-looking stuffed animals for an older age. Other than that, as long as the stuffed animal is made in an age appropriate way (doesn't have easily removable parts that a three year old could swallow, for example), they're fair game. Any stuffed animal, happy or sad, gorgeous or funny-looking, can find space in someone's heart.