They are adorable, calming, and easy to use at home, school, or on the go. Most importantly, weighted stuffed animals give kids a sense of control and empowerment in overcoming obstacles.
This post will take the stress and guesswork out of the equation and quickly match you with the perfect 2 to 5 lb weighted stuffed animal to meet your child’s unique needs.
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- The best weighted stuffed animals to help kids with anxiety
- What are weighted stuffed animals?
- Where should I buy weighted stuffed animals?
- The last thing you need to know about weighted stuffed animals
The best weighted stuffed animals to help kids with anxiety
- Best Adjustable Weighted Animals
- Best 2 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best 3 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best 4 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best 5 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best Wrap-Around Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best Heatable Weighted Stuffed Animals
- Best Weighted Lap Pad Animals
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Best Adjustable Weighted Animals
Best 2 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
Best 3 lb Weighted Stuffed Animal
Best 4 lb Weighted Stuffed Animals
Best 5 lb Weighted Stuffed Animal
Best Wrap-Around Weighted Stuffed Animal
Best Heatable Weighted Stuffed Animal
Best Weighted Lap Pad Animal
Weight: 3 lbs
Size: 20″L x 8.5″W x 9″H
Material: This adorable llama lap pad has a 100% polyester plush exterior (with polyethylene plastic eyes). The interior is stuffed with 100% polyester fiber filling, weighted glass pellets, and removable gel-filled PVC heating and cooling pack.
Why We Love It: Lap pads are an ideal calming tool for children to use while in a seated position (e.g., circle time). The additional heating and cooling options of this llama friend go above and beyond to help anxious children!
What are weighted stuffed animals?
Weighted stuffed animals are play-based sensory tools designed to provide pressure and comfort to children with anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or other sensory-processing needs.
Weighted stuffed animals are often made with plush material and filled with plastic (polystyrene) pellets, glass or ceramic beads, grain or rice, steel sand, or removable bean bags.
For years, weighted sensory tools, such as blankets, have successfully reduced anxiety in children. Based on these findings, weighted stuffed animals have emerged as a kid-friendly coping mechanism for anxiety and overstimulation.
How much should a weighted stuffed animal weigh?
Safety is essential when considering a weighted blanket or stuffed animal for your child.
A sensory tool should never be too heavy for a child to lift or remove on their own. The goal is for a child to feel safe and secure, not trapped.
Sleepfoundation.org recommends sticking with weighted blankets no more than 1-2 lbs over 10% of a child’s body weight.
Reputable weighted stuffed animal manufacturers, such as Fun and Function, echo 10% as the gold standard, noting a maximum size of 15% of a child’s body weight. You can read their full safety guide for therapeutic weighted products here.
Most weighted stuffed animals designed for children will fall between 2 and 5 lbs.
Always check manufacturer guidelines and actively supervise children when using weighted stuffed animals.
How do weighted stuffed animals help with anxiety in kids?
Research reviewed by the National Occupational Therapy Association suggests that sensory integration tools that use deep pressure, such as weighted blankets, may serve as an effective coping mechanism for anxiety.
Furthermore, another weighted blanket study conducted with families of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sleep problems revealed reduced anxiety and improved relaxation.
Weighted stuffed animals have emerged following the proven benefits of weighted blankets. They provide greater appeal for daytime use and on-the-go.
Benefits of Weighted Stuffed Animals
Weighted stuffed animals:
- Apply a similar pressure-based sensory experience as weighted blankets to relieve anxiety
- Come in soft, lovable characters that children naturally connect with
- Provide a great alternative to hugs (for children who do not respond well to physical touch or in professional settings where hugs are not an option)
- Provide an opportunity to teach developmentally appropriate coping and calming skills
- Can easily be incorporated into imaginative play or play therapy
How to choose a weighted stuffed animal for your child
When deciding on the most ideal weighted stuffed animal for your little one, you will want to consider the following factors:
Type of Animal/Character
For best results, select an animal your child is naturally drawn to or connects with.
Ensure your animal weighs no more than 10-15% of your child’s body weight.
Consider your child’s preferences such as long arms and legs that can wrap around them, or an animal that can be laid across their lap.
Weighted stuffed animals are typically filled with permanent or removable:
- Plastic pellets (typically polystyrene)
- Glass pellets
- Ceramic beads
- Grain or rice
- Steel sand
- Bean bags
Generally, plastic pellets are most popular among affordable, lighter-weight stuffed animals. Higher-end, heavier friends are often stuffed with glass microbeads.
To learn more about the pros/cons and differences between each type of filler, you can find a complete guide here.
Many weighted stuffed animals provide additional features, including:
- Removable weights that allow you to adjust based on your child’s growth
- Microwave-safe heating elements
- Cooling packs
Weighted Stuffed animals can range anywhere from $20-70.
A word of caution: You often get what you pay for when it comes to weighted stuffed animals.
Where should I buy weighted stuffed animals?
In my experience as a former professional schools counselor and parent, I have found the following companies are reputable, trustworthy, and provide high-quality weighted stuffed animals:
The last thing you need to know about weighted stuffed animals
Weighted stuffed animals are adorable, comforting, and often an effective tool for children with anxiety.
At the same time, these toys should enhance, not replace, the love and support of caregivers.
To build a foundation in effective positive parenting that supports healthy social and emotional development in children, I invite you to join me in Such a Little While’s free 30-day positive parenting challenge:
You’ve got this!