Nothing puts a brighter smile on a young parent’s face than that gleeful pure expression you can only see on the delighted face of a child given a Happy Nappers pillow. While everyone knows that the videogame industry – targeted at older kids, and teens – is brimming full of innovation, not a lot of people realize just how much creativity goes into pleasing the youngest generation – toddlers. Like their older counterparts, they’ve gotten more demanding (and more easily bored) and, in response, people that make a living off their entertainment have had to get increasingly creative. Rattles and coloring books just aren’t cutting it anymore.
In what almost seems to be a direct attempt at filling this void, Happy Nappers are the latest rage in kids’ toys. With this in mind I did a little “investigating” among my friends that have indulged their kids in this trend and got mostly positive feedback.
As seen on most child-oriented TV channels, these adorable toys combine pretty colors and comfort into an almost sickeningly cute set of “pets” – perfect for little kids with bubbling imaginations. Happy Nappers do, however, take it a few (hundred) steps past being a pretty pillow. Initially, they take the form of houses – each tailored to match whichever of the six currently available animals that it houses – and make great pillows.
The color designs are nice and bright while creating a warm – maybe even “fuzzy” (no pun intended) – atmosphere – perfect for naptime. Playtime, however, is when the real fun starts. Each of these “pillow houses” converts into an even more adorable pet – in a way only a kid could fully appreciate. Unlike similar toys that just require a flip (sort of like flipping a pillow case), Happy Nappers use a slightly more interesting approach. From a child’s point of view, you ring the door bell on the animal’s house and take him out to play – almost like going to a friend’s house. Once out, the kid can play around with his/her pet friend until naptime comes around again – and then they can put their pet back “home” and use the house as a pillow again. This is a nice summary of the Happy Nappers’ concept that has kids so addicted.
Let’s look at some instances – other than typical playtime – when these plush dolls could be really useful. On long flights, kids tend to do two things more than anything else – play and sleep. Rather than complain during such a flight, a Happy Napper can provide a comfortable pillow (in distinct contrast to the flimsy complimentary pillows typical of airlines) to make it easy to sleep the flight away. Then, if he gets bored, an adorable companion is just a doorbell away and provides comforting entertainment if he’d prefer not to sleep.
As amazingly convenient as that would be, my personal opinion is that these dolls make great sleep-over toys. From what I’ve seen, kids can take these toys into a full adventure with enough imagination and creativity. With six pets available, there are lots of options for each child in a group to have his, or her, own Happy Napper and for them to turn their cuddly friends (and their real friends) into the sort of fascinating fantasy world only kids can create.
Finally, after a hard nights play, they can put their friends to bed and drift off to their dreams in the comfort of the soft pillows that these plush dolls make. I’m not sure if it’s the soft material that makes the difference – maybe it’s just the friendly color design – but something about Happy Nappers make them far better than any typical pillow – in kids’ opinions anyway (and what else matters if it’s them you’re buying for?).
The first thing that crossed my mind as I looked at some of these toy pillows is how something so implicitly simple can have so many positive effects – and be so appealing – with a little ingenuity and imagination on the part of its makers and users.
Happy Nappers make life easier on parents who used to have trouble getting their kids to cooperate.
Let’s face it – kids as that age have short attention spans and are far more pre-occupied with exploring their own little world than listening to parents. They’re also stubborn and, often, bribes are the easiest (if not the best) was to get them to do what they’re supposed to. I’ve personally seen just how hard it can be to get a really active child to take a nap – and no parent wants to deal with the tears that come from trying to force the issue.
The first challenge is getting their attention and I’ve come to realize that these toys – as simple as they are – have more than enough appeal to do just that. Between their soft comforting feel, and adorable companionship, they do a far better job of getting kid/s’ attention than old fashioned shouting and pleading. It’s also a lot less stressful for parent and – on that note – I’ll go into my views on how these toys make it easier to get kids to do what they should (while keeping them happy).
Happy Nappers –as their name suggests – make nap time fun by providing a cuddly companion to play with until sleep finally sets in. Similarly, when it’s time for bed at nights, these adorable animal pillows make going to bed a much more welcome idea for hyperactive kids. Instead of dragging him/her – kicking and screaming (maybe not literally but still) – to bed, try using the Happy Napper as motivation and chances are they’ll run eagerly to bed after it. Personally, I much prefer to leave the room with a smile on his/her face as they cuddle their toy than that “puppy-dog” pout that never ends well. In short, I’ve seen these pets do a great job of getting kids to bed – even the most hyperactive and energetic.
The flip-side to this coin is kids that prefer a laid-back – and inherently unhealthy – lifestyle. Kids need to be active and Happy Nappers seems to put just the right amount of excitement into them – keeping them actively occupied for hours. This, in turn, fits right into the sleep time dilemma above because they’ll be so worn out from all the playing that they’ll want to just put their little pet away and go right to sleep on the ready-made (and comfortably adorable) pillow – problem solved.
I’ve even noticed a handful of extra – presumably originally unplanned (unless the makers are just that genius) – bonuses to these pets. Happy Nappers seem to encourage social growth among kids, i.e. form the basic building blocks of friendships. The two ways in which I’ve noticed this are:
(i) They make good practice “dummies” for interacting with others. Kids can learn to play and have fun with their new companions and put these social skills into practice at school – or on play dates, etc.
(ii) On the note of putting these skills into practice, I mentioned earlier how great these pets are for sleepovers. They can teach kids about sharing (with a little supervision) and how to have fun with friends and their imaginations. Anyone who’s ever seen kids playing with even regular dolls can imagine what I’m talking about – multiplied a few times over.
Happy Nappers also encourage respect, and love, for animals.
While this is just my theory, starting out life in the company of these addictive animal themed pillows should foster a pre-disposition to being friendly towards animals – and might even lay foundation for a budding veterinarian. Either way, a healthy respect for wildlife is always a good thing as it should translate easily into respect for people – critical to success in the world.
Finally, I’ve seen Happy Nappers do a great job of keeping active kids occupied and out of trouble. A bored child is a destructive child and no parents, that I know, want to spend all day chasing after their kids (not to clean up after them anyway). In the company of their Happy Nappers, kids can get lost in a world of blissful imagination and stay away from typical no-nos. This makes life easier on most parents who can do other things – if they need to – or simply watch their kids play and have fun. A few parents I know have even taken it a step further to playing with their kids and their pets (some even buying one for themselves to play along) and seem to have more fun doing it than you might expect. This is probably more the fun of watching their son, or daughter, have fun than anything else – but it’s still a very rewarding experience.
One other thing I forgot to mention is how incredibly light – as you’d expect from a pillow – Happy Nappers are. This makes them really portable which brings two pros of its own. First, it makes them easy for the smallest of children to carry around – essential since kids tend to get attached to them. This portability also means that they can be taken almost anywhere. They come in very handy, (i) in supermarkets while shopping – keeps him/her occupied while seated in the cart, (ii) while waiting at doctor’s appointments, school, etc., (iii) while out for a walk through the park – or maybe just a stroll around the block – keeps him/her occupied while they get some exercise and fresh air.
Overall, most people I know agree that there’s a lot to like about these cuddly animal pillows – for parents and kids alike.
Happy Nappers: Six varieties of pet pillows available.
(i) Cow – converts into his barn-pillow form easily.
(ii) Dragon – converts into his castle-pillow form easily.
(iii) Ladybug – converts into his bungalow easily.
(iv) Penguin – converts into his igloo easily.
(v) Dog – converts into his dog-house easily.
(vi) Unicorn – converts into his palace easily.
Although I haven’t seen them all first-hand, I know the unicorn is a big favorite among girls while the dragon is more popular among boys. The best way to decide on which one to buy is to ask your kid which one he/she likes the most (showing them the pictures) and buy that one. If, however, you want it to be a surprise, I would recommend using experience – and maybe a trick or two – to get the right one. It might be as simple as asking their favorite animal and extrapolating a choice from there. I doubt there’s much potential to go wrong though – they’re all pretty cuddly.
All in all, I’m as much of a Happy Nappers fan as any adult can be and I know countless kids who love the little dolls. They really do grow on kids, and parents, very quickly with their cuteness and eye-catching bright colors. Between that and the ingenuity of their dual-purpose design, they’ve found their way on every major child’s TV network and have almost developed a cult following among kids. As a result, their appeal stretches beyond how fun, and useful, they are. Rather, kids – just like many of us – are shallow and are, therefore, attracted by popularity as well as having one of these might even be considered a “status symbol – if you will – among kids. It’s all well and good that these pets double as pretty pillows but the combined effect of this mass appeal and their simple adorability is what (in my opinion) really makes them an absolutely perfect child’s gift. After all, twenty dollars also doesn’t seem like much to pay for a toy that will put a priceless smile on his/her face while keeping them occupied – and you less occupied (unless you want to be) – as they amuse themselves with their stuffed friend/s.
Best of all, it’s an investment in an addictive toy that will never break and is strong enough (despite its cuddly softness) to withstand the roughest play while remaining comfortable for hugging and sleeping on. Add that to how easy it is to get them to bed at naptime with their Happy Nappers and you have a treat for both parents and kids.