We all love a good shopping spree, case in point presents for your children, your nephews, nieces, siblings, godchildren and a kid special to you in general. But there’s more to shopping for toys and stuffed animals than meets the eye. The chore may sound simple but it comes with a whole lot of responsibility.
You see, safety must always accompany every item that’s given to a child. They are after all not the most practical of beings, at least at this point in time. You need to think for them. You have to be responsible. This is why we’ve made a rundown of the various reminders to take note of when shopping toys and stuffed animals for kids.
Keep it age appropriate. – There’s a reason why the items in shops are labeled. Oftentimes, you’ll see a tag that suggests the age bracket to which the toys are intended for. Just because something is labeled as a plaything doesn’t mean that it’s meant for everyone. Think about it this way, would an item for a ten year old be enjoyed by a two year old and vice versa? Will their size and weight be proportional?
Be aware of their interests. – Children can be quite the picky bunch. They’re pretty straightforward too so they’ll voice out their opinion regardless if it hurts your feelings or not. If you want your present to be appreciated, it helps to look into the child’s likes. For example, what colors do they prefer? What other toys do they already have?
See to it that they’re non-toxic. – Look for the label that says that the item has passed the safety standards and are toxic free. Some companies do not uphold quality and safety as others do so you need to be vigilant on your own. It also pays to research about the product as well. This shouldn’t be as hard anymore given the internet.
Avoid choking hazards. – Kids love to put everything in their mouths without any regard. This makes it all the more important to stay clear of stuffed toys that pose any choking hazards. For example, easily detached buttons and eyes and unsecured ribbons or laces that are six inches or more in length.
Always go for what’s durable. – Children aren’t the most careful of beings. They’ll drag, carry, hug, squish and pretty much do everything they can with the stuffed animals all day. Wear and tear is bound to happen but go for the toy that’s the most durable. They’ll last longer.
Collectible Steiff bears are all the rage and why not? They’re cute, interesting and have quite the story to match. You’d be surprised and really curious about some of these much coveted pieces. Have you ever heard of a toy that fought alongside a World War II survivor? How about a diamond and sapphire eyed bear? Or perhaps a $2.1 million teddy decked in a full on Louis Vuitton ensemble?
See, these collectibles have quite the punch to them. Sure some may be skyrocket pricey but others are quite reasonable and won’t cost a newbie collector a fortune.
Then a question bubbles up in your head. Where exactly do you buy them? We’ve rounded up some places for you to begin your search.
Toy Shops – It’ll be particularly difficult to impossible if you head to the mall’s department store. The bears you’ll find in there are the mass produced models. If you want a collectible then you’re better bet is at toy and specialty shops. Many of them carry rare and limited edition pieces.
Garage Sale – You’ll be surprised to know that treasures can be found in other people’s old stuff. Sometimes, people don’t know the value of the things they have or they’re simply not interested enough. It may take some patience and an ounce of luck but it’s not a bad place to look. Likewise, you might end up finding gold at flea markets too.
Antique Shops – The items you’ll find here may seem odd and mismatched but don’t be afraid to look. Ask if you must too. The shop’s caretaker could lead you to the teddy you’ve been looking for. After all, many collectible teddy bears are of the vintage kind.
Online Stores – With the power of the internet, what’s there to stop you from online shopping? It’s convenient and fast at a click of a button. Searching is easier too with the right keywords on your search engine. Just be cautious though and avoid transacting with shady sellers.
Auctions – If you’re in for the real deal then auctions are for you. Many of the best and most prized collectible teddy bears are auctioned off from all over the globe. Although others are still done the traditional way, online auctions have become a thing too. But if you’re not yet up for that much action, you can begin bidding at Ebay auctions.
Almost anything can be bought online nowadays and that includes toys. However, a lot of people still prefer not to buy teddy bears online no thanks to the various misconceptions that hound it. What are these myths you may ask? Here, take a look.
Misconception #1: “It’s not safe.”
Misconception #2: “It’s all a scam.”
Although it’s true that some sellers are bogus, not everyone is. If you think about it, even physical stores can still be counterfeit so at the end of the day it all boils down to being a smart shopper. Again, it is important to only buy from trusted websites. Come to think of it, buying online wouldn’t grow this big if it wasn’t effective or convenient.
Misconception #3: “It gets expensive.”
Most companies today actually maintain both physical and online shops to cater to the varying needs of consumers and customers. In majority of cases, the prices of items are the same regardless if you buy it at an actual store or online. The extra fees, if any, would be attributed to shipping costs. Would that hurt? Not really considering that you got the parcel delivered to your doorstep without going into all the trouble of commuting or driving and spending on gas and parking. Plus, online shopping makes it possible to buy from a seller from another city or country. Moreover, it makes it easy to compare prices from one site to another with only a few clicks of a button.
Misconception #4: “It’s not an avenue for rare finds and collectibles”
On the contrary, it actually is. You’d be surprised to discover that even auctions can be held online. A lot of vintage teddy bears and limited editions are being sold by virtue of the World Wide Web. With international sellers at the tip of your fingertips, the possibilities are endless.
Toys are often bought for purposes of play but apart from the entertainment they give, it’s the functional aspect of it all that truly separates the versatile from the not so. Today, we’re here to discuss about one of the highest selling toys in the world and what other benefits they render apart from fun. With the team at Steiffteddybears.co.uk, we give you the following perks of owning and playing with stuffed toys.
It provides for sensory introduction. For babies and toddlers, a lot has to be learned regarding mobility and the senses. Stuffed toys are not only soft and cuddly but they too come in various colors, patterns, sizes and textures which aid in a child’s being accustomed to smell, touch, taste, sight and sound.
They aid in word and sound familiarity. Since most stuffed toys come in the shape of animals, they help in making kids recognize words like dog, cat, elephant, bear and the like alongside the sounds they make. This is one of the early stepping stones to language development and education.
It practices empathy and helps develop values. Kids can be taught the value of empathy and certain values with the help of their favorite stuffed animals. Simple things such as not throwing them as well as acts of endearment like hugging can be introduced. Plus, they are able to develop and associate feelings and emotions. Remember how we all have a favorite bear that we talk to, dress up and hug every night?
They encourage role play. Humans learn through imitation. Take speaking for example. We imitate the sounds we hear from our parents and our surroundings. The same is true for walking, writing, drawing and the list goes on. These silent friends are a means for children to play pretend which enables them to learn not only motor skills but also foster imagination and creativity.
It’s a friend. Many children talk and share their day to their cuddly friends. Stuffed toys are like pets in a way. This makes them a really effective de-stressing tool for kids. Research even shows that many children are able to calmly and effectively release stress and negative emotion with the help of these items.
They boost IQ and EQ. Because these toys help foster imagination, creativity, empathy, healthy emotions and understanding among others, it helps give children develop better IQ and EQ levels as they grow up.
Shopping for collectible teddy bears, like Steiff, is quite a fun and therapeutic thing to do, regardless if you’re going for the vintage and limited edition pieces or the more modern designs. There’s simply something about the toy that’s purely captivating. If you’re planning to start your own collection or you’re on your way to buy a present, below are a few questions to ask yourself before you head on out and buy.
“What type of Steiff bear do I want?”
Limited edition, vintage or modern? Which among the three are you going for? It is important that you are fully aware of what you need and want because truth be told, it can get pretty overwhelming. With so many to choose from, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if you get flat out surprised and confused. So before anything else, make a mental and literal list of the toy you’d like to buy so we can cut the chase and save time.
“How much budget do I have?”
Depending on the type, age and exclusivity of the toy, the budget needed can vary. This makes it crucial that you establish your spending capacity and limits beforehand. You do not want to shell out more than you are supposed to. At the end of the day, it’s still about smart shopping.
“Where can I buy one?”
There are many places where you can buy Steiff teddy bears. There are the usual toy shops, gift shops and department stores. Online shops and even auctions are a thing now and if you’re lucky, you can spot some pieces in garage sales and vintage or antique stores.
“Is the seller trustworthy?”
This is one of the things that you have to make sure of when you transact. Because Steiff bears, especially vintage and limited editions, are quite the catch the attention they get is quite magnanimous as well. This is why you have to keep your guards up and only deal and buy from trusted sellers. Better safe than sorry! Research and ask around about the seller or shop. Read reviews and feedback.
“Are the toys authentic?”
Be knowledgeable enough about Steiff teddy bears so you can easily distinguish an authentic from a fake one. You wouldn’t want to spend your cash on something that is posing to be an original. Research and arm yourself well. There are so many articles all over the internet that can help you with this. Click here http://www.steiffteddybears.co.uk!
Are you buying any toys for your kids, a sibling or any child for that matter? If so then these reminders from Steiffteddybears.co.uk will surely come handy.
Check for age appropriateness. Not all toys are meant to be played by every kid. This is why checking for the age recommendation on the toy’s tag is necessary while you shop. Also, be sure that the toy is not too small for the kid to fit in their mouth or too big and heavy that it can pin them down.
Check for toxic materials and chemicals too. Read the labels and packaging properly. You want to make sure that the items are free from any toxic chemicals. Keep your eyes particularly peeled for lead as it is a dangerous chemical found in paint.
Avoid any choking hazards. You only want the best and by that you mean safe. Again, stir clear of anything that will go straight into their mouth. Kids especially toddlers are fond of putting things in their mouth as taste is one of the first senses that they encounter.
Stir clear of strangulation hazards. Toys with cords, strings and long ribbons are prone to such risks. As a rule of thumb, avoid buying an item that comes with four inch and longer strings and the like.
Be careful with sharp edges. Anything that has sharp parts to it must in fact be kept at bay. They are likely to hut children or worse cause some eye injury which would totally be painful and dangerous.
Check for any recalls. Do your own fair share of research and check if the toy you are buying has already been recalled. These are items that have been deemed and unsafe and you are to stay away from them at all costs.
Opt for educational pieces. Not only should they be fun but it would be great if they double up to teach children something. Do you agree? There are musical bears that teach children to count or to do their ABCs for example.
Choose toys that encourage motor skills and imagination. Go for pieces that require the use of their hands, fingers and feet such as building blocks. If they are big enough around the ages 8 to 10 then Lego pieces and puzzles would be ideal. For imagination and creativity, stuffed toys would be great as they encourage role playing.
You may have already heard of the Steiff Queen Elizabeth toy recently released as a commemoration of the British monarch’s milestone of achieving two huge feats on the 9th of September 2015.
During the said date, her majesty is deemed as the world’s longest living monarch and the longest reigning British ruler to have ever lived. She overtakes the late Queen Victoria of the well known Victorian era who ruled for a whopping period of sixty three years, seven months and two days.
As per tradition, Steiff, the renowned German company manufactured a bear in honor of the Queen. Just like most commemoration pieces, the toy is a limited edition release as seen and presented by its gold plated ‘knopf im ohr’ (button in ear) and white and red fabric tag. There are only two thousand and fifteen pieces manufactured of it.
Apart from its rarity, exclusivity and symbolism, the Steiff Queen Elizabeth toy boasts of a charm like no other which is highly attributed to specific design features that were manufactured and built into it.
Musical Bear – Probably its most special feature, the Queen Elizabeth bear plays the National Anthem “God Save the Queen”. Embroidery of a musical staff, a treble clef, a time signature and notes appear in gold thread, sewn in one of its lower paws.
Schulte Mohair – Dubbed as the ‘diamond fiber’, silk-like white mohair was used on the toy giving it a soft texture and a high luster and sheen appearance. The luxurious fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat is also both resilient and durable making it the perfect material for any stuffed animal.
Facial Features – Keeping up with its classic and regal aesthetic, the toy’s snout is a dark shade of brown. The eyes are a combination of brown and black.
Structure – The five jointed teddy bear measures about thirty centimeters in height or roughly twelve inches.
RoyalAttire – To complete the overall look, the toy is dressed with a deep blue royal coronation robe with spotted plush edging. On top of its head is a metal crowned bedecked with sparkling crystals.
If you happen to be a collector and find yourself hooked with the Steiff Queen Elizabeth toy charm, you better scour the online (steiffteddybears.co.uk) and physical shops for the said collectible. Given its rarity and aforementioned features, they are not bound to last long in the market.
The Steiff bear has long been renowned for its durability and classic designs. Its lengthy and interesting story spans long decades. It would not suffice to simply call it extraordinary. It is in its own a legend. Today, we still see a lot of Steiff bears sprawled across shelves upon shelves in toy stores, in our own rooms, in online stores like steiffteddybears.co.uk and even amongst collector shelves. Have you ever wondered what some of the most interesting Steiff bear models of all time are? If you did then you might find the following pretty interesting.
Cinnamon centre-seamed Teddy Girl became famous due to its very interesting story. The toy was previously owned by Colonel Bob Henderson of the Royal Scots Regiment back in 1904. It was said that he fought during the World War II with the toy by his side, particularly in his tunic pocket. Originally, the toy was referred to as “Teddy Boy” up until Colonel Bob gifted it to his daughter who dressed it up in a frock thus the name.
The Louis Vuitton Steiff Bear
Selling for a whopping $2.1 million in Monaco’s “Les Teddies de l’an” charity auction back in the 14th of October 2000, this toy fully clad in a Louis Vuitton ensemble is by far the world’s most expensive teddy bear to date. It is adorned with clothes, a beret and a mini suitcase adorned with the popular and ‘LV’ insignia. What makes this one interesting is the fact that the toy is not adorned with any other valuable material such as gemstones and precious metals but it still managed to rake up such a high bid. It is currently housed in the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju, Korea and owned by Jessie Kim.
The Black Titanic Bear
After the RMS Titanic disaster of April 1912, the company manufactured six hundred black mohaired mourning bears in five different sizes especially for the British market to show empathy for the loss of the ship’s passengers. One of these commemorative toys was sold in Christie’s Auction House in London, South Kensington on December 4, 2000. Such was its rarity and good condition that it racked up a price of $136,000.00.
The Diamond Eyed Bear
To commemorate its 125th anniversary, Steiff manufactured a rather luxurious and interesting toy. This twenty inch tall Steiff bear is made of luxurious and silky fur that is 70% mohair and 30% silk. The silk is in fact made of hand stitched gold yarn that took 20 hours to make per meter at a cost of £850/meter. It is richly stuffed with excelsior. Its eyes are breathtakingly made of sapphires surrounded by Russian cut diamonds set in 18 carat yellow gold. The nose and mouth and the button in the ear is made of 24 carat gold. It is also adorned with a 24 carat gold medallion. Its current value is $84,000.