Stuffed with love

Stuffed animals provide comfort and connection beyond childhood.

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Photo submitted by Cooper Olson

“Everywhere I went the stuffed animal went there too, my stuffed animal just made me feel calm and helped me fall asleep anywhere I went with it, especially in long car rides,” Olson said.

The physiological power of a childhood stuffed animal or doll is greater than one might think, often being a very influential figure present throughout a child’s earlier years. However, as the years progress and a child grows older, the stuffed toy becomes less of an extension to themselves as it once was, ultimately turning the once affectionate connection into a meaningful memory.

For ninth-grader Cooper Olson the interactions are no longer and the memories have faded, but like many he reflects.

“Everywhere I went the stuffed animal went there too, my stuffed animal just made me feel calm and helped me fall asleep anywhere I went with it, especially in long car rides,” Olson said.

The physiological powers of a childhood toy are very strong.

Stuffed animals can be associated with positive memories, with safety and security”

— Dan Strunk

“Stuffed animals can be associated with positive memories, with safety and security,” said Dan Strunk, associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

Junior Alice Duncan’s smallish brown plush dog that resembled Snoopy, Casey, had been an influential and calming figure in her earlier years.

“I remember bringing her to preschool for nap time, and when I did girl scouts in elementary school I used Casey to practice bandaging for our first aid badge,” Duncan said.

Similar to Duncan, Saffy Rindelaub had a quite similar relationship with her giant Costco stuffed bear.

“I got it on my birthday years ago from my parents so it kind of reminds me of my childhood, which I like,” she said.

Rindelaub still has the teddy bear named Ice Cream today.

“Ever since I got it, it has stayed in my room near my bed. I like having it near me because it offers a sense of comfort, and when looking at it, it takes me back,” Rindelaub said.

Do you have a stuffed animal story to share? Add it in the comments.