Earlier this year, the world was fascinated by the nightly rituals that developed in response to the current lockdown and the worrying uncertainties of the consequences. Italian citizens threw open their windows at the same time each night and joined together in a song. In NY City, people gathered on rooftops to applaud the workers who take care of those who are ill. There is another approach to dealing with these difficult times – with teddies and other stuffed animals.
A Challenge That Involves Teddies and Other Stuffed Animals
Before spreading worldwide, the “teddy challenge” started in Finland in March 2020 as a great way for people to cheer up people passing their homes by displaying teddies in their windows. It was a challenge for people to compete with others to see how many plush animals they can spot, keep count, and then take pictures of the most unusual ones and the ones they liked best.
The toy play during lockdown is understood. It’s a strategy for survival and coping with the difficult world situation. The toy researcher Katriina Heljakka at the Finland’s University of Turku, notes that plush or soft toys are recognized in many parts of the world as being precisely designed to invite imaginative play and comfort. The teddy bear, being the world’s first mass-marketed toy, is one of the most universally popular of them all.
Ayden and Billy
Earlier this year, pre-pandemic, a 9-year-old boy named Ayden, talked about how he had relied on his teddy bear to help get him through a two-year ordeal with a rare form of leukemia. His mother, Samantha Jones, shares that Ayden kept a smile on his face and kept chugging along like nothing was wrong.
Ayden didn’t focus on how he looked when he was undergoing treatment and lost a lot of weight and hair. Asked about his teddy bear Billy; the stuffed animal was given to him by the Billy Bear Hugs Foundation. Ayden shares that Billy is his best friend in the whole world.