Abby Glassenberg from While She Naps, and author of The Artful Bird, shares a tutorial on her blog showing how you can make an octopus softie out of a square of fleece, no sewing required. This would be a fun project to do with a child! She uses a styrofoam ball to get the perfectly round octopus head, but if you wanted a softer version you could probably substitute some tightly packed polyfil. Get the tutorial.
[photo from While She Naps]