Why Hugalongs Are the Perfect Emotional Support Buddy for Your Kid

Hugalongs is a brand that believes young children learn best by actively experiencing the world through imaginative play and every day adventures, however, this can feel pretty scary in the eyes of a small child. Hugalongs Wearable Wellness Plush Toys are designed specifically for preschool aged children who need the "hug" of a friend to help encourage them to get out into the real world and play. Our signature Papap Pony wearable stuffed animal attaches to the child around their waist with a calming deep-pressure "hug" to combine imaginative play with the therapeutic benefits of deep-pressure stimulation. But what is the science behind Hugalongs? Let's dive in. 


1. Papap Pony is a stuffed animal.

Many scientific studies have concluded that stuffed animals are vital to a child's growth and development. They are a source of comfort for kids and are widely known to reduce separation anxiety, improve sleeping habits, and assist in developing a child's sense of imagination. According to a 2013 study published in Pain Management Nursing, the power of the stuffed animal even extends to reducing children's pain after surgeries. 

Papap Pony is, first and foremost, and cuddly stuffed animal. This means Papap can be hugged, squeezed, squished, and petted to the child's content, and the toy will bounce back good as new! 


2. Papap Pony offers a secure hugging sensation. 

According to Applied Behavior Analysis Edu, Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) is referred to as "firm but gentle squeezing, hugs, or holding that relaxes the nervous system."  DPS has garnered a lot of attention for its benefits in the treatment of people on the autism spectrum, as many who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to have an aversion to social touch. New research from Harvard University has found that utilizing touch with deep pressure produces a calming effect in people who otherwise get overstimulated in situations where touching is involved. 

This is where the benefits of Papap Pony as an emotional support toy begin to compound. Not only is the toy a stuffed animal (which provides a de-stressing sensory experience), it is also has a functional design with an adjustable strap that attaches around the waist of the child. This strap provides that same firm but gentle hugging sensation that DPS research suggests is wildly beneficial and therapeutic. The adjustable strap also means that you and your child are in control of how firm the hugging sensation is, which helps prevent the user from getting overstimulated.  

Deep Pressure Simulation can be seen emulated in products like weighted blankets and stuffed animals, however, they lack the portability, customizable pressure, multi-functionality and fun of a wearable wellness plush toy. 


Child with Papap and a suitcase

3. Papap Pony is a transitional toy. 

Most stuffed animals are associated with bedtime, as this is often a time when children are left alone and need comfort and soothing sensations to help relax them to sleep. However, studies also show that stuffed animals shine in the transitional areas of a young child's life. When leaving their caregivers, children often experience feelings of separation anxiety. According to Psychology Today, stuffed animals are classified as a transitional object: an item of special value that helps them transition from their relationship with their parents to forging new relationships out in the world. 

Something that comes up with stuffed animals actually being brought into the real world is the fear of losing them. This is another way that Papap Pony's design aids in supporting the child emotionally: Papap is attached to the child's waist, and therefore less likely to be left behind. Papap is also a toy that is meant to encourage kids to transition into the real world! That's why we here at Hugalongs are doing our best to always provide resources on how to make every day an adventure. Papap is not your average cuddle-at-bedtime stuffed animal; Papap is, by all accounts, a transitional toy for young children. 


Kid playing outside with Papap

4. Papap Pony encourages active, outdoor playtime. 

Finally, it is no secret that getting up, going outside, and being active is essential for a child's development. There are obvious benefits to playing outside: lower BMI, creation of an active lifestyle, and exposure to sunshine. But there are also some benefits that are not talked about as much. According to Harvard Health, children who play outside develop significantly better executive function skills than those who do not spend their time outdoors. Studies have also shown that playing outside can reduce anger and aggression in kids, improve their attitude, and help them develop motor skills and coordination. 

If you follow us on any platform, you know Papap Pony is all about going outside and exploring. We associate Papap with adventure, exploration, and active play so that children can have a mascot and friend that encourages them to do the same! 


Girl asleep with Papap

Papap Pony is undeniably a super cute toy, but it is so much more than that. While some stressful situations for kids happen in controlled environments where they have the ability to snuggle and cool down, so many more stressful situations happen out and about: at the grocery store, on the road, at the park, on play dates, etc. Papap Pony is a stress reducing stuffed animal that can be taken on-the-go, which is so important for children who are entering a stage in life where they are socializing and exploring the real world more frequently. And with the secure waist strap, parents and caregivers don't have to worry about Papap getting lost--a big source of stress in our household when it comes to regular stuffed animals! 

Think Papap Pony could make a positive difference in your child's life? Click here to shop now.