Bear plush toys are just so cute, cuddly, and sweet that kids cannot help wanting them, and even adults feel the same way too. In fact, it is the older ones that love to own a number of this toy for collection purposes, whereas a child would normally be content at having one or two.
There are two known creators of bear plush toys, and both invented it at the same year, in 1902. One is from Germany, Richard Steiff of the Steiff toy company. Although their company had long been producing stuffed toys, it was only then that they made ones that look like bears. Their version had a long snout and humped back, so much like how real bears look like.
That same year, the famous teddy bear we know of today was invented in the USA as inspired by a cartoon strip showing President Theodore Roosevelt with a cub. As the story goes, the president went on a hunting trip in Mississippi but when it was time to shoot the bear, he declined. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew the incident and published it on the Washington Post.
Morris Michtom, a Russian immigrant who owns a candy store in Brooklyn, saw the cartoon strip and got inspired to make a stuffed toy based on the bear. Since the bear as depicted in the story was pitiful and was shown compassion to, his version was different in appearance from real bears. The stuffed bear he made had a small nose and kind eyes. Sending one of his creations to the President, he also took the opportunity to ask permission to use the president’s nickname, Teddy, to name the bear. Roosevelt agreed and the first teddy bear came to life.
Due to the popularity the stuffed bear gained after that, more toy manufacturers started producing their own versions to meet the public’s demands. Soon after, bears started being used in cartoon series, story book characters, in literature, and in movies.
Some popular bears worth mentioning are those we have read in story books, like the three bears with Goldilocks – Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. On television, there are the Care Bears who taught children good values and virtues. Of course, in the world of animation we have Winnie the Pooh, Yogi Bear, Gummi Bears, and the latest addition that has become so popular, Po of Kung Fu Panda.
The bears we know in cartoons and television are very different from the real bears that live in the wild. These animals are dangerous, fierce, and can be very menacing. Except for the panda which only eats plants, all other species of bears are carnivorous. These animals walk like humans, have short legs, and have small eyes and ears. They also are very large.
All in all, there are 8 types of bears, and if you want to learn more about each, having bear plush toys designed after each type can be helpful. Kids would love the activity of describing each type and knowing more about how they differ from one another. The Brown Bear, for instance, has a shoulder hump that is unique to its kind. This is caused by the muscles they form from digging.
Polar Bears are carnivorous and are very patient in hunting their prey, the seals. The Sloth Bear has floppy ears, while the Asiatic Black Bear has a V patch on its chest. Sun Bears have a yellowish crescent-shaped patch on their chests, and the Spectacled Bear has distinct markings all over its body. Of course, the Panda Bear is very easy to recognize with its black patch on each eye, ears, and some parts of the body.
Aside from the learning kids can get from bear plush toys, they are also a great source of comfort and security. They can help calm down a frightened child and make it easier to bring them to sleep. Also, stuffed toys can double as a great display items in your rooms, especially if you have a vast collection of them.