Worry Gobblers
Photo Credit: Adele Adendorff (dfordandelion)

The Worry Gobblers are an endearing toy that gives children and adults alike, a way to deal with the things that are causing them discomfort.


South Africa (24 September 2023) – Linda Jackson has created a character that is designed to help children and adults deal with the things that are worry. Meet the the Worry Gobblers.

Linda shared her creations with Good Things Guy, explaining how they work. A Worry Gobbler is a helpful tool designed to assist both children and adults in managing their anxieties and worries. They have a zipper mouth with a small pocket and the idea is to write to draw ones worries on a piece of paper and feed it to the Worry Gobbler.

“By doing this, you are sharing your worries, and as a result, those worries become a little less taxing.”

Linda shared that she became inspired to create the characters during the pandemic.

“The inspiration for Worry Gobblers came during the pandemic and the initial lockdown period. My family and I developed a nightly ritual of expressing gratitude by writing down positive things and placing them in a glass jar, then lighting a tea candle. We were aiming to focus on the positive aspects during the uncertainty. However, after a few weeks and an extended lockdown, we realized that our children were still experiencing anxiety.

It became clear that, in addition to emphasizing the positive, we needed to create a safe space for them to voice their fears and concerns. So, my boys and I sat down together, started sketching, and that’s how the idea for Worry Gobblers was born. With access to a sewing machine and a stash of my mother’s old fabrics, we experimented until we were satisfied with our designs.”

The the Worry Gobblers are based on the idea of a child’s drawing brought to life. There are currently six designs and each has a unique appearance.

“I have a lot of fun working with fabrics, and often, the most mismatched combinations turn out to be the most beautiful. The thread colors may not always match the buttons, but that randomness adds to their charm. The stitches intentionally display imperfections to highlight the “wonkiness” of the world – it’s about colouring outside the lines. Life is far from perfect, and it’s crucial to teach our children that.”

Helping adults and children process anxiety

Linda has seen the characters helping both adults and children. Parents use this as a tool to help their children manage their emotions. Often children do not know how to express what they are feeling and equate the feeling to tummy ache.

“Worry Gobblers are instrumental in helping individuals identify and manage their emotions. Children often struggle with recognizing and articulating their feelings beyond a vague “sore tummy” sensation. These characters provide a means to share worries and offload them. The act of sharing a worry can make it feel less daunting and initiate a conversation, giving parents insight into what is troubling their child. It’s important to note that Worry Gobblers don’t make worries disappear but help shrink them, lightening the load.

As parents, we often share stories and life experiences emphasizing positive emotions. However, it’s crucial to normalize feelings of fear, worry, or anxiety. Encouraging children to write down or express their worries helps them cope better.”

As for the adults, Linda says she has many happy customers.

“Surprisingly, many of my Gobblers are purchased by adults and even pensioners. I compare it to making a “to-do list” – it often seems more overwhelming in your mind, but once you write it down, it feels more manageable. The same principle applies to voicing or jotting down our worries.”

She has sent her creations to 17 different countries. Often the characters are used by schools, play therapists, and psychologists.

“Classroom Gobblers have been particularly popular, providing teachers with insights into potential problems and supporting students’ mental health and well-being, especially in the face of rising issues like bullying.”

Giving Back to Causes

While these clever characters are available for sale, Linda wanted to make sure that they reach the children and adults that need them. The family started donating Worry Gobblers to various organisations and causes.

“Since our inception in 2020, we’ve donated Worry Gobblers to various organisations, including an oncology ward in a Johannesburg hospital, schools, and NGOs working with children affected by trauma. During the Durban riots, we sent Gobblers to a psychologist whose young patients were struggling with the unrest.

When a Worry Gobbler is for someone affected by cancer, we often waive the courier charge and redirect the funds to a cancer-related charity instead.”

This past week, a pair of Worry Gobblers was sent to a retirement community in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) for a feedback session aimed at assessing their ability to provide support to the elderly residents who frequently grapple with feelings of depression and isolation

The best part is that each Worry Gobbler comes with a little poem in either English, Xhosa, or Afrikaans, explaining how they work.

If you would like to know more, you can reach out via Facebook or via email here.

Sources: Supplied
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *