Whether it is through a Build-A-Bear birthday party or from a random stop into a store when visiting the mall, most children, at some time, will venture into a Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Visiting one of the Build-A-Bear locations is more than just buying another cute stuffed animal off the shelf. It is a really fun experience that is memorable not only for kids, but for parents, too!
At a Build-A-Bear store, which is usually in or near a mall, kids have the ability to choose, stuff and create a new best friend they have a personal connection with.
Most kids make a bear for themselves to take on their own adventures and use their imagination with. Many families and children enjoy visiting the store to create a bear for other reasons.
Some children might make a bear for a new brother or sister, a sibling headed off to college, a friend who might be celebrating a special occasion or for a friend or family member recuperating from an illness or surgery.
While certainly the best age for engaging in the store experience is for children between the ages of 3-8, there really is no age limit on creating a one-of-kind pal that will meaningfully brighten someone else's day.
Upon entering a store, there are many bins of stuffed animal friends to choose from. For children, making this decision is not always easy! There are so many options.
There are many types of traditional teddy bears. The Promise Pets feature many popular breeds of kitties and puppies.
There are also limited edition stuffed animals featuring popular television and movie characters, too.
Friendly, staff members in the store help children choose a bear, then walk kids and families throughout the store during the experience.
Bears and stuffed animals can also be personalized with noise in a small plastic device placed inside the bear's paw.
There are dozens of sounds like giggles, puppy sounds, monster sounds, a hurl and a burp, or a simple, "I Love You." The audio sounds also come in the way of theme songs and popular radio songs. Audio can also include sayings and voices from their favorite movie character or be personalized with their own message.
Bears can also be personalized with scents like banana, pizza, honey, donuts, cotton candy, bubble gum and marshmallows.
Staff use a machine that fills the bear with stuffing. Children are allowed to hug and squeeze their bear and determine if it has the right amount of stuffing for them. They also choose a soft, satin heart to place inside the bear during the Heart Ceremony. Before the bear is stitched up tight, a barcode is entered into the toy so it can be reunited with its owner should it get returned to a Build-A-Bear Workshop store.
Then comes the tough decision of finding accessories and clothing that matches their style or the bears personality.
There are "dressing room" tables throughout the store where kids can dress their bear and use a brush to groom and care for it.
Upon leaving the store, kids not only leave with a new stuffed animal, but they head to the computer to create a personalized birth certificate featuring the name that the child gives them upon adoption.
Guests are also provided with a cardboard house for their bear.
While it is more interactive and fun to visit the store to build a bear, toys can be purchased online, too.
Tips When Visiting Build-A-Bear Stores
- A fun experience at the store will take about an hour, schedule enough time for a visit. The store has a lot to offer, do not rush to get a more rewarding experience.
- The store is big and there are many choices. It is not uncommon for kids to have a hard time making decisions. They will need to not only choose an animal, but create a name and decide on accessories.
- Preview the costs of the bears and the accessories online before visiting a store. Certainly have a budget in mind, but expect to spend more than what you have set aside.
- Consider discreetly sharing your budget and expectations with staff members so they can assist you with a positive visit and not make additional suggestions for items you are not willing to buy, placing you and the child in a difficult situation.
- There are so many amazing accessories like sounds, smells, clothes, shoes, leashes, bowls, roller skates, sports equipment, sweat shirts, brushes, sunglasses, headbands, blankets and toys. You may need to set a limit or an expectation with the child on how many accessories you will allow the child to purchase.
- Not everyone can shop without a budget, but there are a lot of choices, so be ready and willing to engage in negotiations with your child, no matter what your budget is.
- Visiting a Build a Bear Workshop is not a one-time experience. The bears and stuffed animals change with the seasons and with popular movie releases.
- Bring a camera and take videos as a memory. Children will say and do very adorable and funny things during their visit, and you will capture it for the future.
- Every visit to a store for the child will be different, especially as their age and interests change. There are always new memories to create.
- Check the website for store experiences and opportunities. Often times during the holiday, bears can also be made for free which are donated to the Toys for Tots program.
- While the best experiences will be created in-store, Build-A-Bear accessories and toys can be purchased on Amazon.com.
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