stuffed animals

Stuffed Animal Activities to Try on National Family Day
Stuffed Animal Activities to Try on National Family Day 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

With September comes two of our favorite holidays – National Family Day and National Teddy Bear Day! Having a caring and loving family is extremely important when it comes to a child’s development, as it allows them to work on their skills in a supportive environment. Further, stuffed animals are also an incredible support system for kids, as they are a source of comfort for many children during therapy and in challenging times.

A child’s family and their favorite stuffed animal play such a pivotal role in their development, which is exactly why we love celebrating these two holidays throughout the month of September. For this year’s celebration, we wanted to share some activities that you can try together as a family. Not only do these activities allow you to enjoy some quality family time, but they also incorporate your child’s favorite stuffed animal and work on developing your child’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance, and speech. 

Ready to get started? From having a stuffed animal race to participating in a stuffed animal freeze dance and more – here are some great stuffed animal-based activities that your family can try on National Family Day and beyond.

Have a Stuffed Animal Race

Get ready to burn off some energy with a stuffed animal race! To begin, you and your child will need to come up with some obstacles they can complete while holding their favorite stuffed animal. For example, your little one can walk across a tape balance beam, stack three blocks on top of each other, and toss their stuffed animal friend into a basket. Time your child and see how long it takes them to complete the course, and then have them try to beat their time during their second run-through!

Paint Your Stuffed Animal Friend

Another great activity your little one will love is painting their favorite stuffed animal friend. Gather some paintbrushes, paint, and paper, and get ready to be creative! Set your child’s favorite stuffed animal in front of them where they can see it, and ask them to paint a picture of their furry friend. Once they are done and the painting has dried, sit down with your little one and have them use their imagination to create a story about their stuffed animal!

Try Stuffed Animal Freeze Dance

The final activity we recommend trying is stuffed animal freeze dance! Turn on some of your child’s favorite tunes and get ready to move. Your child will need to show off their favorite dance moves while holding their stuffed animal friend. But they’ll need to be careful! From time to time, you will need to pause the music, and your child will have to stop dancing and freeze. If your child can successfully freeze each time the music stops, they win!

Stay tuned and follow our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all September as we continue to share fun activities, tips, toys we love, and so much more. Further, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime to discuss if your child would benefit from pediatric therapy. Our team is here to support you and your child in any way we can.

Celebrate National Teddy Bear Day and Stuffed Animals With These Fun Learning Activities
Celebrate National Teddy Bear Day and Stuffed Animals With These Fun Learning Activities 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Each year National Teddy Bear Day is celebrated on September 9th. This is one of our most beloved holidays because we know how important stuffed animals are to children. Stuffed animals can turn bad days into good days and help soothe your little ones in their time of need.

To kick off the celebration this year, we wanted to share some fun therapy-based games that include your child’s stuffed animal. These activities can be done together as a family and will allow you to work on your child’s developmental skills. Enjoy!

Hide and Seek: Get ready to go on a hide and seek search! Move around the house and look for a spot to hide your child’s fuzzy friend. Try to hide it in a place where your child will have to use their gross motor skills to find it (in a high or low place, for example). Then, send your child off on their hunt! If they are struggling to find where you hid their stuffed animal, they can work on their speech therapy by asking you questions to help them find it. For example, they could ask, “is it in the room where we eat dinner?” or “is it in the room where I sleep?”.

Guess the Stuffed Animal: If your child has multiple stuffed animals that they love, this is an excellent activity for you to try together. Place the stuffed animals in a row in front of you and your child. Now, ask your child to use their speech and language skills to describe the features of one of the stuffed animals. They could describe the color, shape, texture, size, etc. Now, you will try and guess which stuffed animal they’re talking about. Once you guess correctly, it’s time to reverse roles, and you’ll now have to describe a different stuffed animal to your child.  

Stuffed Animal Fashion Show: The last activity you can partake in with your kiddos is having a stuffed animal fashion show. First, gather some craft pipe cleaners and design colorful clothing for their stuffed animal. Your child will have to use their imagination and fine motor skills to bend and twist the pipe cleaners into some fun fashion pieces. They could make glasses, hats, bracelets, and so much more. Once the outfits are complete, have your child walk their stuffed animal down the runway and show off their creations.

Want even more ideas on how you can help your child play, learn, and grow by using stuffed animals?  Check out our social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) throughout the month of September as we’ll share even more ideas and imaginative activities. 

At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal
At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

When you were a kid, what was the one item that you always had to have with you? Was it a blanket? A toy? Well, for a majority of our staff here at PTN, our special item was a stuffed animal. It’s very common that children have a favorite item, and more times than not, you’ll notice that this item is indeed a stuffed animal. This is because stuffed animals bring on a sense of comfort and joy, and they make it easier for children to express themselves, which makes them the perfect learning tool during therapy sessions.

Using your child’s favorite stuffed animal during at-home therapy can be extremely beneficial as it will keep your kiddos motivated and excited to develop their skills. The best part? Your little one will be ecstatic to be learning with their best stuffed animal friend, by their side.

With that said – and in honor of September 9th being National Teddy Bear Day – we wanted to share some of our favorite at-home therapy activities that use your child’s favorite stuffed animal. Enjoy!

Create a Story 

This activity gives your child the opportunity to be creative while working on their speech development. Sit down with your kiddo and ask them some questions about their stuffed animal such as, “What’s your stuffed animal’s name? Where does your stuffed animal want to go? What’s your stuffed animal’s superpower?”. 

As they’re telling you the answers to the questions, write each answer down on a separate sheet of paper. Once you’re all done asking questions, get ready to help your child create their very own book. Your child will be able to work on their grip strength by coloring each answer page with an image that fits the text, and once they’re done, they’ll have their very own book based on their stuffed animal!

Partake in Sensory Play 

Another great way to use your child’s stuffed animal is for sensory play. Kids (especially toddlers and babies) love to explore different textures, and most stuffed animals have numerous textures on them. For example, if the stuffed animal is a cat, it may have prickly whiskers, soft or fuzzy fur, and hard eyes. Let your child touch each texture one at a time while you ask them to describe what it feels like – soft, hard, fuzzy, rough, bumpy, etc. 

Play Dress Up

Your child will absolutely love being able to use their imagination while dressing up their stuffed animal, and you’ll love this activity because it works on your child’s fine and gross motor skills. You and your kiddo can make up stories about where their stuffed animal is going, and then, they’ll dress up their stuffed animal to fit the story. For example, if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a ball, your child could dress their furry friend in a dress or suit, and if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a beach, your child could dress their furry friend in shorts and a t-shirt. Your child will have so much fun looking through all of the clothing options and will be entertained for hours on end.

You can find dress up clothes that will fit your child’s stuffed animal on Amazon, at toy stores, or, you can make them yourself!

Let Your Child Be a Caretaker

Allowing your child to take care of their stuffed animal will bring out their nurturing side, and will allow them to work on their fine motor skills, speech, and gross motor skills. You can have your child feed their stuffed animal, give them a pretend bath, place a bandaid on any owies they may have, or put their furry friend to bed – the possibilities are endless! The best part about this activity? Your child will learn responsibility and compassion in the process. 

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) all month long as we share additional activities.

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