I have a shelf full of puppets and stuffed animals.
I recently was searching Barnes and Nobles, and noticed they have several Character Plush dolls and animals.
Most are under 12.95!
I often take a few with me down the halls or into the classrooms. I call them my friends, and students quickly want to meet them. I tie them into my guidance lessons or allow students to hold one while they are sharing.
They help students want to talk in group settings.
B&N has several, like Junie B. Jones, that older elementary students would love.
Check them out!