Former preschool teacher creates weighted stuffed animals for kids with special needs

Similar to the effects weighted blankets can have on children with anxiety or sensory disorders, these smaller, and arguably cuter, toys help kids de-stress.


Tania Bolton taught preschool for 14 years prior the the pandemic, but says COVID-19 pushed her away from her teaching career. She knew she still wanted to help children, and she was handy with a sewing machine.


She was familiar with the concept of weighted blankets helping children with special needs, ranging from anxiety to sensory disorders. "Therapists would send weighted vests or blankets and those are hot. And, if you're the only one in the classroom and you’re carrying this big blanket, sometimes that stands out a little bit," Bolton said.

So why not a cuddly giraffe instead? The weighted stuffed animals are not only helpful for kids similar to the weighted blankets, and are much more portable — and arguably, cuter!

Bolton's business, "The Firefly Patch," is now a full-time endeavor, selling the animals both locally and online. You can watch more on Bolton's story in the related video above.

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