Read everything there is to know about stuffed animals and plushies! In this blog, you can read about the history of stuffed animals, find out how the teddy bear got it’s name, or explore one of the many other subjects regarding mankind’s fluffiest friends.
Sometimes, a simple stuffed animal just isn’t enough. Even if you’ve searched through the entire list of the most popular stuffed animals out there, you might still feel you haven’t exactly found what you’re looking for. To treat yourself, or that special someone you wish to surprise with a cuddly gift, you need to go bigger. So why not do so literally?
Browse Amazon’s full range of giant plushies:
Giant Teddy Bears
Teddy bears offer comfort and love, and are always in for a good cuddle. They come in all shapes and sizes: from tiny keychain-versions to gigantic, life-sized teddy’s. The giant teddy bear is one of the greatest and most popular teddy bear-related inventions since the days of the Roosevelt teddy bear. There are now hundreds of types of big teddy bears out there. These big bears come in a variety of sizes and colors. Some are made to look extremely adorable, while others are designed to look just like real bears.
Life-sized teddy bears became very popular as Valentine’s Day gift and Christmas gifts, but also as birthday gifts for children. Additionally, the giant teddy bears also became very popular with adults, as the enormous critters are able to lighten up their rooms and bring some warmth into their houses. And yes, even adults like to snuggle up against a big teddy bear every once in a while to read a good book!
Buy the Most Popular Giant Teddy Bears
We’ve taken a good look at the wide range of giant teddy bears on Amazon, and here are our picks for the most popular ones out there: check out this wonderful selection of huge teddy’s!
Of course, the teddy bear isn’t the only stuffed animal who’s allowed to go big! There are plenty of giant stuffed animals out there as well. Currently, the most popular big stuffed animal types are the unicorn, the elephant, the giraffe and the dog. The popularity of huge stuffed elephants and large stuffed giraffes is perhaps unsurprising: it seems there’s just something special about being able to cuddle these gentle giants in your own home!
Other popular large stuffed animals are horses, monkeys, sloths, llamas, bunnies, cats, tigers, lions, dragons, pigs and wolves. One of our personal favorites, though, is naturally the giant leopard.
Buy the Most Popular Giant Stuffed Animals
Are you looking for a cuddly, big plushie yourself? You can buy some of the best giant stuffed animal on Amazon. We’ve selected some of the most popular big plushies out there, which you can gift to your partner, friend or child to lighten up their days. Of course, you can also buy one for that other special someone out there: why not buy a huge plushie for yourself?
The Biggest Teddy Bear in the World
There are giant teddy bears, and there are giant teddy bears. On 28 April 2019, the residents of the Mexican town of Xonacatlán entered the Guinness Book of World Records: for over three months, they had worked together on creating the biggest teddy bear in the world. To create the huge teddy, the same materials were used as for the production of regular store-bought stuffed animals. The result was a 19.41 meters long teddy bear by the name of Xonita, with an approximate volume of 451.48 m³. The enormous teddy bear is currently the largest teddy bear in the world, which makes it the largest stuffed animal in the world by default.
Xonita was created as part of a publicity drive to bring the town of Xonacatlán to the attention of tourists. The event during which the huge teddy bear was revealed coincided with the celebration of El Día Del Niño (Children’s Day). Xonita was displayed at the local stadium of Xonacatlán.
The World’s Largest Sock Monkey
Sock monkeys are made from socks, and are often fashioned in the likeness of a monkey. They are very popular folk art toys, and most often homemade. Usually, they are mid-sized stuffed toys. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried to make one out of 66 calf-length socks? Jody Lewis, from Bridgwater, United Kingdom, did just that!
Lewis spent a full week cutting up socks and stitching them back together. After a lot of hard work, she completed her work, setting the record for the creation of the worlds’ largest sock monkey! Stuffed with 15 kilogram of hollowfibre, her gigantic stuffed monkey was brought to life in February 2015.
“I’ve got a big list of things that I want to do in life and breaking a world record was one of them,” Lewis told the World Record Academy. That, she certainly did! Lewis’ monkey is currently still the record holder for being the largest sock monkey in the world. It is 3.19 meters tall and weights 16 kilograms.
United by the Instagram account The Instaplushies, the Instagram plushie community counts roughly 20,000 accounts worldwide. Every day, thousands of stuffed animals use the platform to share their adventures with the world. Some travel the globe, others help their humans in the house, or serve as mascots for human programs or events, such as the space programme. But who are the most celebrated, most popular plushies out there? Which plushie accounts should you follow? We’ve constructed a small list, arranged by the amount of followers the accounts have.
So proud to be able to put Fluffy himself on this list! Fluffy has allowed us to travel with him for quite a few years, which earned him the following description: “a small leopard in a big world: from undiscovered Europe to the volcanic valleys of Sumatra, Fluffy has been travelling around the world for over a decade.”
Move over, Mr. and Mrs. Universe; there’s a new champignon in town! From early-December 2020 until late-February 2021, stuffed animal enthusiasts could cast their vote for which celebrity plushie would become the Plushie of the Year. The contest was hosted by The Instaplushies, who aim to unite all plushies who share their adventures in online communities. Through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers could cast their votes for their favorite stuffed animal. The Instagram “plushie community” counts over 20.000 accounts, and is still growing.
On February 19, 2021, the six finalists competing to become the stuffed animal of the year were announced: Austrian duck plushie Gustav von Schnabel, the ever-social Bear from the United Kingdom, banana-loving monkey plushie Lorenzo who currently resides in Paris, the celebrity plushie Fozzie Bear, the warm-blooded penguin plushie Mimi, and the globetrotting Kapten Fox. Each of these six enigmatic stuffed animals made it through the preliminaries with great ease, and beat out the competition in the semi-finals.
The Winner: Lorenzo the Great
One week after the final vote started, monkey Lorenzo came out on top as Plushie of the Year. Lorenzo was followed closely by Bear in second place and Gustav in third.
To celebrate Lorenzo’s win, we asked the adorable monkey king (and his humans) a few questions.
How did you feel about winning the Plushie of the Year contest?
I am going bananas with excitement from all the love and support I’ve received. It’s truly an honor to be representing the plushie community.
How long have you and your humans been active, taking pictures of you?
It all started in September 2019, when my humans were getting ready to move to my new home in Paris. They wanted to document my adventures for their family and friends back in America to see.
What inspires you when taking pictures?
I like to prove that plushies can do anything humans can do, but cuter!
Which of your own pictures is your favorite?
Ohhh, a hard question, I have so many great shots! But if I had to pick one, it would be the one of me hanging out and relaxing in the tree with my banana, on Île Saint-Marguerite off the Southern coast of France in the Mediterranean Sea.
What would be your Top 3 travel tips for other (plushie) travelers?
Belgium: they really do have the best waffles!
If there’s a boat ride tour take it! Even if it’s full of tourists, boat rides are an awesome way to take in the sites.
The best 360 view in Paris is the top of Sacré Cœur, and it’s cheaper than the Tour Eiffel.
What do you love most about the (Instagram) Plushie Community?
I love how positive, loving, supportive, and adorable everyone is.
Which other plushie accounts would you recommend?
@gaga_monkeys_ – a cool family of diverse monkey mechanics with an affinity for Lady Gaga!
Valentine’s Day has become the most popular day of the year to celebrate romance and love in many regions of the world. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14, by couples around the world. Though the feast started as a religious holiday, it became strongly commercialized over the past centuries. To express their love to one another, modern-day couples buy each other endearing Valentine’s Day gifts, such as confectionery, flowers, jewelry, or Valentine’s Day teddy bears, often accompanied by a bright-red Valentine’s Day card. But what, out of all these gifts makes the teddy bear – or any other stuffed animal made for Valentine’s Day – so special?
Browse Amazon’s full range of Valentine’s Day plushies:
The most popular Valentine’s Day bears
The most common Valentine’s Day teddy bears either carry a heart or wear one on their chest. The heart often carries a romantic message, most frequently the phrase “I love you”. There are plenty of varieties on the Valentine’s Day theme, though, combining different styles, colors, and sizes – including the incredibly popular giant teddy bear. We’ve selected some of the best examples of Valentine’s Day teddy bears for you.
How did Valentine’s Day start?
Let’s take a short look at how Valentine’s Day started. Valentine’s wasn’t always considered a feast of love. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius I established February 14 as an official religious feast in honor of the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, who had passed away 200 years before, in 296 AD. It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th centuries that the feast gained a connection to love. This concept of love was different from the idea of romantic love we share these days. Back then, courtly love flourished; the conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. This type of love, shared between knights and their ladies, originated from literature. Courtly love became more vividly expressed during early spring, due to the seasons association with love birds.
It would take several more centuries before commoners embraced the concept of expressing their love for each other by presenting gifts. In 18th-century England, flowers, greeting cards, and sweets became popular items to gift to a lover. Since then, Valentine’s Day has become the most primary feast of love around the world.
Why do we gift teddy bears for Valentine’s Day?
A Valentine’s Day gift is generally meant to be an expression of love and affection. Scientifically, the feeling of love is closely associated with the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the ‘love hormone’, as it is related to empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. When a child, or even an adult, cuddles something soft and comforting – whether it’s a lover, a pillow, or a stuffed animal – oxytocin is released. This is why stuffed animals, such as the Valentine’s Day bear, make for such great Valentine’s Day gifts: they are warm, durable, and positive reminders of love that can strongly remind us of the one’s who gifted them to us. Gifting a Valentine’s Day teddy bear is almost like gifting someone a permanent hug!
What other Valentine’s Day stuffed animals are there?
Though the teddy bear with the heart is the most popular type of Valentine’s Day stuffed animal, many other animals and objects come in a variety. From dogs and skunks to giraffes and dinosaurs, there are plenty of alternatives to the classic Valentine’s Day teddy bear.
Make your day extra special
When love is in the air, you want to make your special someone feel extra special. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to involve a grand romantic gesture; you can simply buy a wonderful, loving Valentine’s Day stuffed animal for your sweetheart, to remind him or her of your love. Additionally, these soft, cuddly toys also make perfect presents for close friends or family members. After all, Valentine’s Day has become the day of love; and love is all around! How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?
Did your sweetheart gift you a Valentine’s Day teddy bear? Read our tips for finding it a name!
Giving your plushie a name is the first step in creating its identity. Whether you are a child or an adult, naming your stuffed animal will help you develop a deeper connection with your stuffed friend. Some teddy bears and stuffed animals come with preValentine’s heart on its belly-given names. Though these names often suit these plushies well, they are rarely unique and don’t allow for much imagination. Its time to find a name for your plushie yourself!
Choosing a name for a stuffed animal is not always an easy task. Research shows that the most common name for a stuffed animal is simply “bear”. While this is of course partly due to the bear being the most popular type of plushie, a little inspiration won’t hurt. To help with naming your plushie, we’ve listed some practical and inspiring tips for you.
To truly stimulate your creativity, create a feeling of ownership and build a thoughtful relationship with your plushie, the plushie’s name should come from you. Dwelling in fantasy and imagination will help you continue to develop your brain and has a positive effect on your mental health. The best way to indulge in this little fantasy is by befriending a character of your own imagination – which is one of the reasons why some of the best plushies you can buy are not based on popular film and TV characters.
From a Name to a Character
Think of any common name; take the name Alexander, for example. Chances are, you probably know someone named Alexander, right? When you think of the name, you think of the person. This is often paired with either positive or negative emotions, based on how you relate to the individual you are thinking off. You might even attribute the characteristics of the person you know to the name itself. The same goes for plushies: what does a name feel like, and what characteristics do you attribute to it? In this way, your stuffed animal’s name will contribute greatly to its personality.
How do you find the most suitable name for your plushie?
Stuffed animals often have simple, one-syllable names. They range from the cute and cuddly to the odd and wonderful. Here are some tips on how to name your stuffed animals, with some great examples from within the the plushie community itself.
1. Base its Name on its Species
Most plushies in the world own their name to the (plushie) species they belong to. Classic names for teddy bears are Bear, Teddy, Ted or even Roosevelt. Simple, easy to remember and very much to the point. If you wish to be a little bit more creative, use the species as its last name, and add a matching first name to give it a stronger sense of identity. Great examples from the plushie community are Giles Bear, Bonnie Bunny and Mannie the Manatee, who were named after their species, but were granted cute first names as well.
2. Use a Play on Words
Another great way to name a stuffed animal based on its species is by using a play on words. Combine or alter the name species to come up with something new. Great examples from the community are Mika Coonington, a classy British raccoon; Giraffina, a sweet little giraffe; Miss Tipsy Cat Bose, an experienced traveling cat; or Rossofante, Instagram’s cutest red elephant. Another funny plushie name using a play on words is Gustav von Schnabel, which belongs to a cute travelling duck.
3. Base its Name on its Appearance
Does your stuffed animal have pink fur, scruffy hair, or an extremely long tail? Your stuffed friend’s defining feature can easily be used to define its name. Examples of plushies named after their specific features are Pinchie the Lobster, scruffy looking pup Scruff Cotterill and Snowy Bear, named after her white fur.
Does your plushie belong to a species which has a famous character connected to it? Honor them by naming your plushie after them. There are plenty of teddy bears – and other stuffed animals – named Winnie, after Winnie-the-Pooh. Other cool examples are Monsieur Renard, who’s name resembles that of the mischievous medieval character Reynard the Fox, or Private Penguin, who’s name equals that of the short and chubby penguin from Madagascar.
6. Get inspired by Cultural Heritage
Do you live in an exotic location, or a city with a rather cool sounding name? Or does your cultural background provide you with pleasant sounding words? Within the plushie community, Waikiki Bunny is named after a popular neighborhood of Honolulu, Hawaii. It has quite a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Otter Ohana‘s name equally inspired by the culture of Hawaii. Another beautiful example is teddy Hope her nickname ‘the Honey Grove Bear‘, who lives in Honey Grove, Texas… and we all know what bears like!
7. Use a Word or Name from a Different Language
Use an online translator to translate the name of your stuffed animal’s species or defining feature into a different language, and see if anything cool comes up. Did you known the German word for “bear” is “bär”? Both Bäri Bear and Bärchi derived their names from the German term. Another cool duo whose names are German are Maus and Elefant. In the Dutch Harry Potter books, Hagrid’s three headed dog goes by the incredible cute nickname of Pluisje, meaning Fluffy. Of course, there’s also inspiration to be found in the Latin language. Gato, for example, means “cat” in Spanish, Portuguese and Galician.
8. Name it after a Friend or Family Member
It might seem odd to some to name a plushie after a loved one, but it happens quite often! The names of our friends and family members often have a positive feel to them, due to our personal connection to the people who embody those names. If you have friends in Thailand, it’s worth checking what nicknames they go by: you’ll find a wealth of cute official nicknames in Thailand for sure! Some of our Thai friends have truly adorable names, such as Freshy, Kiwi, Omsin, Oki and Tiger!
9. Use an Alliteration
Do you have multiple stuffed animals that require names? Try matching them up using alliterations. Famous characters with alliterating names are Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Ed, Edd and Eddy. Within the plushie community, you’ll run into the adorable hamster family of Flinki, Flora and Fluxie. Sounds like a perfect match, doesn’t it?
10. Choose the Name of Someone Famous
Fame is the name of the game! Name your plushie after a famous individual. Whether it’s an actor, scientist or singer, it doesn’t matter! From Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt to Napoleon Bonaparte, granting your plushie the name of someone famous will automatically attribute some of that stardom to your stuffed animal. In addition, it will give your plushie a slightly pre-defined character. A great example of a famous plushie named after a scientist is the fluffy bunny Feigenbaum.
11. Circumvent Expectations by Choosing an off-beat Name
Nobody says your plushie’s name always has to be logical and on point! Don’t let your imagination be curbed by social constructions. Your stuffed animal’s name is your choice. Just ask Bear the Elephant or Chickens the Bunny; they can tell you a thing or two about unique names!
Examples of Stuffed Animal Names
Names for male plushies
Is your plushie a boy? There are plenty of options out there to choose from, but here are some names to get you inspired!
Names for female plushies
Is your plushie a girl? Make sure she gets a name worthy of her cute and cuddly nature – unless, of course, she’s a true rebel, like Rey from the Star Wars franchise!
There is no gallery selected or the gallery was deleted.
Names for teddy bears
What’s a good name for a teddy bear? Here are some great examples from the plushie community and beyond! Of course, many of these names are suitable for non-bear plushies as well.
Write down some ideas for names and go through your list with a friend or family member. Which name suits your plushie the best? Sometimes, the answer will come to you right away and sometimes it will require some time to come to a good decision. In the end, no choice is a bad one: if you realize you don’t really like the name you picked, or you’ve come up with a better one, it’s never too late to change it!
Since the origin of the teddy bear in 1902, a variety of plushies has been created resembling anything from legendary creatures to pop culture characters and from fruits and vegetables to planets and airplanes. If you are planning on buying a stuffed animal, it can be difficult to choose which of all the many fluffy creatures you should buy. When you have to buy the plushie as a gift, it can become even more difficult to choose. Which stuffed animals would be the best one to get?
To find out which type of stuffed animal is the most popular, Dutch content creation company PPJR Productions conducted an independent online research for The Bite-Sized Backpacker and The Instaplushies to find out which plushies are the most wanted. The research utilized a dataset of 174,382 “plushie” and “stuffed animal” related search terms used in online search engines, amounting to approximately 2,098,010 active monthly searches by users in the United States. It was determined that 526,580 of those monthly searchers actively sought out specific types of stuffed animals, such as a monkey, giraffe or elephant. These searches were grouped per plushie type, resulting in a list featuring the 150 most sought-after stuffed animals.
This list does not include popular plushies targeted by name, such as Mickey Mouse, Pikachu, or Marvel characters.
Which stuffed animals are the most popular?
The classic teddy bear is still the most popular stuffed animal out there, with 23.48% of all targeted plushie searches asking specifically for a bear. This figure does not include pandas, koalas or polar bears. Mankind’s domestic friends take the other two top spots: dog plushies and cat plushies respectively make up for 9.21% and 6.76% of all searches. The list continues with bunny plushies (3.39%), elephant plushies (3.20%) and non-specific monkey plushies (2.74%). This last category excludes all specific monkey searches, such as gorillas and orangutans. After the monkeys we see two mythological creatures, namely the unicorn plushies (2.68%) and dragon plushies (2.33%). The top 10 is rounded off by panda plushies (2.10%) and fox plushies (1.90%).
The Top 10 Most Popular Stuffed Animals
In list form, the top 10 best plushies for enhancing your life are:
It can be hard to find the best plushie for your child, friend, or partner, or even for yourself. Whether you buy the stuffed animal for a birthday, for Christmas, for Valentine’s Day, or for a different special occasion, there are many types of stuffed animals out there, and it’s not an easy choice to decide which one you’ll get. Based on the Top 10 most popular stuffed animals, we’ve selected the best plushies you can buy!
Plushie Facts: a Cuddly Infographic
The research revealed many wonderful details about popular stuffed animals, strange favorites and the popularity of several unique plushie designs. Did you know pets – such as our very own cats and dogs – are just as popular as plushies as they are in real life? Find out everything about the plushie research in our beautiful infographic!
The Top 30 Most Popular Stuffed Animals
Rounding out the Top 30 plushies are recognizable animals such as the tiger, giraffe, penguin and the lion, as well as the sloth, which was popularized as a plushie over the course of the last decade. A few legendary creatures appear, such as the monster (which included ghosts, demons, skeletons and other creepy creatures), the alien and the long extinct dinosaur. In terms of domesticated animals, the horse takes the top spot after the top 10.
In list form, positions 11 to 30 are taken by the following stuffed animals:
Not everyone is satisfied with buying a teddy bear, or a plushie elephant. The Top 30 highly diversifies your choices, yet still offers some amazing stuffed animal designs. Based on the Top 30 most popular stuffed animals, we’ve selected the best plushies you can buy on Amazon.com. From plushie horses to plushies cows, these are some of the best options out there.
The Complete Top 150 Stuffed Animals
Dipping below 1,00% of all searches, the sheep plushie at position 26 still receives 4,860 searches every month. Within the top 50 we also see some of the more obscure plushies popping up, such as the food-and-drinks plushies (including, among others, the beer plushie and the sushi roll plushie), the plushies shaped like a body part and the caterpillar, the platypus, and of course: the leopard plushie!
Going for the full top 100 stuffed animals, the list continues with non-specific bird plushies and bats. Here, the avocado plushie shines at number 59, which had a large enough amount of monthly searches to be separated from the “Foods and drinks” category at number 31. The avocado plushie became popular as a result of the large growth in avocado consumption since the 2000s. Consumption tripled, and the plushie thrived.
Other notable mentions within the top 100 are the classic zebra plushies, and alternative soft toys such as robots, blobfish, jellyfish, isopods and microbes. The snow men plushies at number 68 mainly earned their position thanks to Disney’s happy-go-lucky snowman Olaf from the Frozen franchise.
After the chipmunk plushies in position 100, the results showed another 50 plushie types which are frequently searched for, earning them an honorable mention on this list. The percentages here range from 0.05% to less than 0.01% which translates to roughly 310 to 10 monthly searches.
In this final list, we find many unique entries, such as pangolins, axolotls, quokkas, ants, moths, and creepy-looking anglerfish. Inspired by nature, plants, trees, flowers, and planets also appear. The inanimate objects at number 105 include U.F.Os, emojis, guns, and cable cars.
From the oddly shaped food plushies and celestial plushies to tiny woodland critters and giant mammals, in this section, we’ve collected some of the very best alternatives for buying unique stuffed animals!
One final entry: the shrimp plushie!
The final bonus entry on this list is the shrimp plushie, with 0.00002% of the total amount of targeted searches. That translates to roughly 10 monthly searches. The “top 150” might make for a nice round number, but why would we only leave out the little guys?
Nowadays, the social media influencer sphere includes anything from teachers and farmers to cats and dogs. A select few influencers can be found in Instagram’s most cuddly niche: the plushie community. Many of these toy influencers have more personality than most celebrity influencers: they share their daily lives, travel around the world and share their idyllic adventures with their followers.
The life of a Toy Influencer
Leopard plushie Fluffy has been traveling the world for over a decade. During his many adventures, Fluffy and his humans were lucky enough to engage with individuals from all walks of life, listening to their stories and learning about their daily lives. Over time, Fluffy built up a large network of travelers and toy influencers. Through his website and Instagram account, Fluffy hopes to share their stories with his followers, and share his own experiences of life on the open road. In between travels, the plushie influencer shares his daily life with his audience, which consist of both kids and adults with a passion for both traveling and for stuffed animals!
Outside of the toy influencer community, there are many other creative individuals who embrace the sweet and well-spirited nature of stuffed animals, by allowing them a feature in their posts. Some of them use their plushies to inspire a sense of wonder, while others use them to accentuate the cheeky nature of their pictures. We’ve selected a few of our favorite pictures of influencers who shared their feed with a stuffed animal.
Stuffed animals can be found in all layers of society. They have proven be extremely diligent, hard-working and universally skilled. There are stuffed animals working as mascots, comforters, influencers and even as astronauts. Some plushies, however, were born to act. We’ve listed a few of the most memorable plushie roles in films and TV.
Teddy (Mr. Bean, 1990-1995)
British sitcom Mr. Bean(1990-1995) featured Rowan Atkinson as the hilarious Mr. Bean, a clumsy “child in a grown man’s body”, who’s buffoonery gets him in all sort of problems. Bean is often completely unaware of the way the world around him works, and he often had serious problems in completing simple tasks. The plushie star of the show is Bean’s loyal sidekick, a knitted brown teddy bear with button eyes and sausage-shaped limbs. Teddy’s role in the show required some serious acting chops, as the little bear’s character has been decapitated, shrunken in the wash and used as a paintbrush. We just hope he got some good wages and a generous retirement package!
Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (Toy Story 3, 2010)
As with human actors, some plushies are frequently type-cast. Stuffed animals usually wind up playing cute background characters, such as the pile of stuffed animals in which the titular character in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) hid. Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear – Lotso for short – was one of those plushie actors who broke the mold and turned things around. The pink bear played the main villain in Toy Story 3 (2010), which allowed him to truly show how skilled some plushie actors can be. Still, even Lotso had to fight his way to stardom: Lotso appeared in Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Up (2009) before getting a starring role.
Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, 1966-Present)
In 1966, Walt Disney Productions created a short film based upon the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne, titled Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. The film was a major success, which sparked two sequels and a feature film combining all three stories in 1977. The franchise continued to expand with over a dozen films, tv series and spin-offs, all starring a fictionalized version of the world’s most famous plushie, Winnie-the-Pooh. The Disney franchise featured a host of over plushies: Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Tigger and Rabbit made the transition from the books to the media franchise and characters Owl and Gopher were added to the mix.
Fluffy Nijdam (Eight, 2008)
Leopard plushie Fluffy was discovered in the discount bin of a Dutch toy shop. He instantly landed himself the role of Fluffy H. Nijdam in the 2008 drama Eight. Fluffy earned his first name and middle initial to the film’s prop master, who purchased the plushie along with a set of fluffy pink handcuffs to be used in one of the film’s scenes. Fluffy went on to become an avid traveler, visiting over 50 countries and starting the Instagram account The Bite-Sized Backpacker.
Artemis Clyde Frog (South Park, 1998-2011)
The animated sitcom South Park(1998-Present) never been shy of profanity and satire. One of the shows’ most deprived characters is Eric Cartman, a loud, obnoxious, and amoral child with a bad temper. Still, like every other child, Cartman holds a soft spot for his stuffed animals. (Artemis) Clyde Frog lives with Rumpertumskin, Polly Prissypants, Peter Panda, and Muscleman Marc in Cartman’s home in South Park. Though Clyde Frog got to show of his acting abilities every once in a while, his character was killed off in Season Fifteen of the show after a dispute with Cartman. Cartman murdered the little frog to say goodbye to his childhood, framing Polly Prissypants for the deed.
Feigenbaum (Angel, 2004)
Fluffy bunny Feigenbaum was the second plushie actor in Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse, following up on the appearances of pig plushie Mr. Gordo in three episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer(1997-2003) between 1997 and 1999. Feigenbaum starred in the Season Five of the fantasy spin-off series Angel (1999-2004). In the series, he played the stuffed rabbit of scientist Winifred “Fred” Burkle. Fred affectionately referred to the little bunny as “the master of chaos”, due to him being named after Mitchell Jay Feigenbaum, a mathematical physicist and pioneer in the studies of chaos theory. In the series, Feigenbaum tragically survived his owner, after she was killed by an ancient demon. Feigenbaum’s short stint on the series was able to draw quite a few tears.
Muffin (The Dark Diamond, 2004 | Luke and Lucy: The Texas Rangers, 2009)
Luke and Lucy, previously known as Spike and Suzy in British and as Willy and Wanda in American, are a Flemish comic series duo. Together, they have starred in close to 400 comic book albums, a TV series and both a live-action movie and an animated film. Lucy’s best friend and “spiritual daughter” is the small female ragdoll Muffin (also knowns as Molly of Sawdust). Muffin plays a large role in many of the albums, serving as a catalyst for the main story arc, or coming alive through magic or science. She made her cinematic appearance in The Dark Diamond(2004) and is still standing strong since her first comic book appearance in 1946.
Ted (Ted, 2011-2015)
Ted, a large fluffy bear, landed a role in the titular film Ted (2011) by Seth MacFarlane. In the film, Ted plays himself as a character who was wished to life by his human friend. Unfortunately, Ted grew up to be a cheeky but crude and foul-mouthed bear with a drinking problem. Ted and his co-star Mark Wahlberg were able to pull in the masses of the box office, and were called back to do a sequel in 2015.
Pooky (The Garfield Show, 2008-2016)
In October 1978, the famously lazy orange cat Garfield discovered teddy bear Pooky in a cupboard. The little teddy quickly became Garfield’s best friend. Pooky made several appearances on the 3D-animated The Garfield Show (2009-2016), where he, much like other famous acting teddy bears, was subjected to some abuse. No worries, though: Pooky has his own stand-in stuntman, and was well taken care of during production.
Which famous acting plushie do you think should be added to the list?
Adopt a celebrity plushie
Most of the celebrity plushies from this blog were made available as real-life stuffed animals. From teddy bears Teddy and Pookie to the cheeky Ted and the full cast of Toy Story and Winnie-the-Pooh, you can add these famous cuddlers to your collection!
On Instagram, there’s a niche for everyone. Some are funny or inspiring, others are odd and off-center. One of the most lovable, cuddly niches on Instagram is the plushie community. Much like the traveling gnome from 2001’s French film Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, the accounts within the plushie community follow the quirky but wonderful trend of toys, trinkets and other objects to roam around the world, taking their owner’s place in every picture.
The ritual of Gnoming
Two of the first garden gnomes to have travelled were Harry and Charlie, who joined their human on a trip to the South Pole in 1977. In 1986, the Sydney Morning Herald documented what became known as the first incident of “gnoming”: stealing (or: borrowing) a garden gnome to take pictures of it around the world. The newspaper wrote about Bilbo, a garden gnome who has been traveling without its owner for several weeks.
Gnoming was further popularized in the 1990s, through the actions of le Front pour la Libération des Nains de Jardin (The Garden Gnome Liberation Front). The group “liberated” at least 150 garden gnomes, claiming that no human should ever own a gnome against his will.
Early birds Harry, Charlie and Bilbo were succeeded by Gnome Severson, who was stolen from a property in Redmond, Washington. Inspired by Amélie (in which the main character’s father stages a gnome’s globetrotting adventures), Severson was taken to travel California and Nevada. Severson became an instant celebrity when his abductors took a picture of him with Paris Hilton when running into the star at a gas station. The picture made it into People magazine and the gnomes story became news worldwide. It didn’t take long before other inanimate objects were granted a life on the road…
Travelling stuffed animals
While the hype of gnoming faded, the idea of traveling with an object remained popular. People came up with all sorts of variations, and it wasn’t long before the first touristic snapshots of stuffed animals appeared. As it is rather common to travel with a stuffed animal, the practice of taking pictures of one while on the road came natural. Travelers adapted the ritual for a variety of reasons. Some simply didn’t like taking pictures of themselves, others wanted to tell their stories through the perspective of a character of their own creation.
Plushies, and beyond!
Nowadays, there are traveling plushies in all shapes and sizes – from leopards and lions to monkeys and flamingoes, many stuffed animals lead a life of their own. Most of them are in some way connected to the plushie community, one of Instagram’s most lovable niches. Aside from plushies, there are many other traveling toys, stones and even carrots!
Some plushies get to dine in luxurious resorts, while others get to travel to Bali and beyond… but some stuffed animals really take home the price: they get to travel to outer space! Find out everything there is to know about these awesome space cadets and read about some of the most famous plushie astronauts…
Why do astronauts take stuffed animals into outer space?
The tradition of carrying stuffed animals into outer space is as old as space travel itself: even cosmonaut Yuri Gagarain, the first man to travel in outer space, was accompanied by a tiny doll on the Vostok 1 spaceship. Since then it has become a small tradition for astronauts and cosmonauts to take plushies on as passengers on their spaceships and have them accompany them on their journey into outer space.
The stuffed animals are not just there because of their cuddly nature: they have an actual job aboard the ship! The stuffed animals serve as so-called “zero-gravity indicators”: they signal the astronauts that they have escaped the pull of Earth’s gravity, by happily floating around the cabin.
Famous Stuffed Animals in Outer Space
Teddy Bears in Outer Space
In February 1995, Magellan T. Bear became the first teddy bear in outer space. Magellan was the designated “education specialist” of the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-63 mission. The little blue bear’s adventure in the great beyond was part of an educational project to stimulate interest in geography, science, and social studies. The bear’s journey had been arranged by the students and faculty of the Elk Creek Elementary School in Pine, Colorado. Magellan was an avid traveler, as he also visited the South Pole, attended U.S. Space Camp and flew on United Airlines’ first Boeing 777 flight. Magellan now resides in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Magellan was succeeded by Smokey Bear of the Soyuz TMA-04M in 2012. Smokey joined his human Joe Acaba on his second flight to the International Space Station. Smokey is a famous icon in the United States, reminding forest recreationists of the dangers of human-caused forest fires. Though the spaceship was of Russian origin, Smokey was welcomed by all crew members.
To Infinity and Beyond: Celebrities in Space
In 2008, Pixar’s famous animated astronaut Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story-franchise flew to the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-124. He was the first known Disney/Pixar character in outer space. In 2014, snowman Olaf from the Frozen franchise followed him “to infinity and beyond” on the Soyuz TMA-15M crew. Another celebrity plushie that made it into space was Red, the red bird from the Angry Bird video game series. Red boarded the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft in 2011.
At the Right Owltitude
The first plushie owl to be blasted into space was the little cosmonaut owl who accompanied Alexei Ovchinin on his trip to the International Space Station. The tiny space explorer was a great indicator for when the Russian cosmonauts had reached the right “owltitude”.
The First Plushie Created in Outer Space
Astronaut Karen Nyberg packed a few unusual items when preparing for her trip to the International Space Station: she took sewing needles, threads and small fabric samples. While onboard the International Space Station, she fashioned a stuffed dinosaur out of the velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers found on the International Space Station. Nyberg stuffed the plushie with scraps from a used t-shirt and launched him into fame by photographing him while he was happily floating around the space station. The young t-rex plushie most likely was the first stuffed animal made in outer space.
Earth Plushie to Earth
Perhaps one of the most out-of-this-world plushie experiences in outer space was when SpaceX’s celestial Earth plushie Buddy looked at itself from above. Buddy was chosen by Elon Musk to single-handedly man SpaceX’s first commercial spaceship the Crew Dragon Demo-1 in 2019. Buddy successfully docked his ship at the International Space Station, were he was received by the station’s astronauts. The Earth plushie became an instant hit after his launch into space, causing Celestial Buddies’ Earth stuffies to rapidly sell out. In May 2020, SpaceX launched their first fully manned spacecraft, which will retrieve Buddy from his outer space holiday.
SpaceX: the Dinosaur on the Crew Dragon
SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship launched into orbit in May 2020, manned by astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. During their flight they were accompanied by Tremor, a sparkly plushie apatosaurus, who was eager to meet up with Earth plushie Buddy, and soon rose to plushie stardom himself. The astronauts had taken the third passenger with them as a little tribute to both their sons, who are avid dinosaur lovers. The dinosaur, a plushie of Beanie Boo lineage, was neither the first plushie in outer space, nor was he the first dinosaur, but he was certainly the most sparkly one!
The Celestial Plushies: buy an Earth Plushie!
The now-famous Earth plushie is part of a series of adorable stuffed animals named the “Celestial Plushies”. Each of the plushies is based on a famous planet or celestial body. You can buy the earth plushie and his friends through Amazon.com, or through the website of the Celestial Plushies. Though your plushie might not travel beyond the stars, together you can still explore the universe!