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A stuffed toy is a toy with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and then stuffed with a flexible material . In North American English, they are variously referred to as plush toys , stuffed animals , plushies, snuggies, stuffies, or snuggled animals . In British English, they are soft toys or cuddly toys . The toys developed in their current form in the early years of the 20th century and have remained consistently popular with children throughout. Different fads have caused specific toys to surge in popularity among adults and collectors. Noticeable examples include Tickle Me Elmo and Beanie Babies. Textiles commonly used include plain cloth and pile textiles like plush or terrycloth. Common stuffing materials are synthetic fiber batting, cotton , straw , wood wool , plastic pellets or beans. Stuffed toys are made in many different forms, often resembling real animals (sometimes with exaggerated proportions), legendary creatures, cartoon characters or inanimate objects. They can be used as comfort objects, for display or for collecting ; or given as gifts , such as for graduation , Valentine's Day or birthdays.