Gift Guide: Plush Stuffed Animals Offer Emotional Support for Tots & Tweens

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Whatsitsface, a plush stuffed animal toy, has become the gift of choice this holiday season as parents and guardians hope to bring more than holiday cheer as their emotionally struggling kids work through pandemic related issues.

Want to cry? Or do you have a wide-eared grin all the time? So many emotions are part of the new normal of being a student. Wouldn't it be great to have a comforting plush pal nearby? Luckily there's a puppy, kitty and teddy who emote what kids are feeling. Say hello to Whatsitsface ($24.99)!

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This just-what-we-need-now collection of stuffed animals boast six different facial expressions! Kids can turn the knob or flip the face to go from happy…to sad…to surprised…to angry…to laughing…to sound asleep. Available as Teddy Bear, Kitten or Puppy, the ingenious doll line was created by parents for parents to help kids have fun while improving their emotional intelligence. Educators are loving the concept too.

"Students and staff often use just four main emotions to describe how they are feeling," wrote the National Education Association in an August 13, 2020 online article, "happy, mad, sad and scared but the emotions

they experience are much more complex and nuanced. It is critical for us to help build our students emotional vocabulary during the reconnection process as well."

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Kids are reconnecting after the long summer break but for many, it is virtual. Most of the nation's school systems have started the school year completely online, but some educators welcomed students back to classrooms full-time. Then again, a handful of schools are doing a mixture of both. With Whatsitsface, educators, teachers and caregivers have a welcomed tool to help children express their feelings, especially when they don't have the words to say them aloud.

New to the toy market, these plush pals are getting rave reviews on Amazon from teachers!

"Love this and use it daily. I am on online teacher and it's a great fun toy to show different emotions." "I use it for a prop in class"

"Helps children convey feelings and is fun at the same time"

For students who learn differently, this is an ideal tool to boost a child's ability to express themselves.

"My granddaughter has autism and difficulty with expressions and emotions. This is one of the best feeling therapeutic tool I've seen. A must for all."

Kid Instagram infuencer @i-am-rimya wrote, "I received my emotional pets from @whatsitsfacetoys and they mean the world to me! As a child that has expressive and comprehension disorder, these help me understand my emotions a lot more. Especially during scary times like this it's a great tool to use to help express myself. We use them on a daily basis for my speech therapy and they also sleep with me every night!"

It's not just educators but toy industry experts who recognize the remarkable influence Whatsitsface dolls can have on children. Tillywig Toy & Media Awards just tapped Puppy, Kitty and Teddy Bear for its 2020 Parents' Favorite Products Award.

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In their glowing testament, they wrote: "Part of what elevates this ingenious concept to being truly special is the remarkable level of emotional expressiveness achieved and the ways in which youngsters powerfully and playfully connect with it. Regardless of the feeling conveyed, each face is perfectly suited to the plush toy's overall appearance and has an endearing appeal that goes a long way towards instilling the belief that there is no such thing as a bad emotion. Or maybe it's just hard not to want to hug something that's this darned cute. Kids have a blast creating companionable storylines and enacting rich role play scenarios with this diverse and cuddly plush toy, activities that strongly support the development of creativity, playfulness, self-awareness, emotional intelligence and more!"

Discover all three 8" plush pals at their online shop, or from Amazon. For a limited time save 15% and receive free shipping within the U.S. when you buy three or more toys at the company's website, , using promo code 3FRIENDS at checkout.

Puppy Dog • Ages Newborn+ • $24.99

This floppy-eared pal is always up for a cuddle or a non-verbal conversation. Like all Whatsitsface plush, little ones can rotate the knob on puppy's soft head to signal six different emotions. It's a great tool for grownups to communicate with preschoolers who may not have the vocabulary to express their mood of the moment.

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Kitty Cat • Ages Newborn+ • $24.99

Created by parents for parents, this purr-fectly sweet kitty expresses herself clearly without uttering one meow. Are you happy? Feeling sleepy? Six welcomed facial expressions that a child can control might mimic how they may be feeling at given moment of their unpredictable day. Take a cat nap with this fur-riend.

Teddy Bear • Ages Newborn+ • $24.99

Go ahead and give a bear hug to this snuggly friend. Unlike traditional teddy bears, this so-soft plush offers interactive play with six varying facial expressions. Feeling angry or surprised? Childhood play gets a boost of emotional intelligence with a pal who is welcomed from breakfast to bedtime.

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