At Build-A-Bear Workshop®, our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. An American icon, the Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Build-A-Bear Workshop embodies those thoughts in how we run our business everyday.
With locations throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom (and expanding further!), there’s sure to be a location near you where you or your child can experience the excitement that is Build-A-Bear. After all, it’s not just a store where you buy a bear and are on your way- Your child truly ‘builds’ their animal friend!
We were able to go to our local Build-A-Bear store recently to have our own Build-A-Bear experience, and my kids’ Grammy joined us for the fun. Upon walking into the store, we were greeted by a Bear Builder Associate who talked us through the process. There were tons of different animals to choose from (over 30 and starting at $10), and my kids were thrilled with the choices. From bears to dogs, bunnies to penguins, even My Little Pony, Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman and more, there were plenty that caught their eyes.
After much consideration, my 2 oldest boys decided on the camouflage bear, my daughter decided on the colorful Furever Hears Bear (after going back and forth between that and one of the adorable My Little Ponies), and my youngest son chose the Paperback Pup. I was thrilled with their choices, but especially the Paperback Pup. Why? Paperback Pup is one of the cause animals that “gives back”. When you purchase a cause animal, a $1 donation is made to designated causes through the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation!
You can choose to add a sound to your animal, either one you or your child records, or a pre-recorded sound. We decided to forgo adding a sound to the animals and moved on to have them stuffed and “bring them to life”. This process was a lot of fun for all of us; the kids got to step on the pedal which added the stuffing, and press the different buttons to “add in” character traits such as kindness and friendship.
Then you choose your animal’s heart, and the Bear Builder Associate directs you through a series of ‘tasks’ with the heart. Our Associate (awesome manager Steve) made this part so much fun. He changed it up with each kid, but some of their ‘tasks’ included rubbing the heart on your side so your furry friend would always be by your side, rubbing the heart on your funny bone so your furry friend would have a sense of humor, rubbing the heart on your knee so your friend would always need you, and patting the heart to give your furry friend it’s heartbeat… The kids loved this part. Steve knew my oldest had plans to dress his bear up as a Star Wars character, so he even had him “add the force” to his bear’s heart. The kids then put the heart inside their furry friends to “bring them to life”, and the associate stitched up the animals using their patented pre-laced system.
Here’s a little video of that process. Not a great one, but if you listen carefully you can hear some of the tasks. So fun!
The kids were then able to give their newly stuffed friends a “bath”, which blew air on the animals to get the fuzzies off and allowed them to brush the fur.
Next up was the longest and possibly most exciting part for the kids; finding the perfect outfit to dress their new friend in. There are hundreds of outfits and accessories to choose from. Before the kids made it to the wall with the outfits, Steve made sure to show them the boxer shorts and underwear for the bears and told the kids, “You don’t want your new friend to have a ‘bear’ bottom”! Haha!!!
My 2 oldest boys knew they were going to dress their bears as Star Wars Characters. My oldest really wanted Yoda, but my other son had already grabbed that outfit, so he tried both the Darth Vader and Jedi outfits on his bear to see which he liked best. Jedi it was! They boys picked lightsabers for their bears (they really light up!), and another associate helped both of the boys find shoes for their bears.
My youngest son jumped back and forth between the Iron Man outfit and the Diamondbacks baseball outfit (he’s a HUGE fan of our local Major League Baseball team), but once the associate showed him the cleats that went with the baseball outfit, he was convinced.
My daughter had the hardest time; there were just way too many cute girly outfits!
The next step in the process is to head to the computers to name your furry friend and make them a personalized birth certificate.
This is also where your friend is registered in the Find-A-Bear ID tracking system. If your friend is ever lost, the person who finds it will see on the tag that it says to bring the friend to a Build-A-Bear store. An associate will scan your bear for the ID (which was placed inside when the heart was placed inside). The ID will tell the associate where to send your child’s lost animal to so it will find it’s way home again!
Lastly, your animal’s birth certificate is printed out, and your animal is put into a ‘Club Condo Carrying Case’ (a decorated cardboard box) to take home!
Here are my kids with their new friends; From left to right, meet Diamond, Slugger, Obi Wan Bear-Nobi, and Yoda Bear.
Here is me with the kids and their friends, all ready to go home in their Club Condo Carrying Cases. It happened to be raining that day too, so this kept their new friends safe from getting wet on our run to the car. 🙂
To say we had an absolute BLAST at Build-A-Bear would be a huge understatement. Not only was the experience of choosing and creating a furry friend fun, but the associates made it immensely better, and the finished products are amazing; truly one-of-a-kind. My kids have had them for a few weeks now and they still love them as much today as they did the day they “created” them. The kids sleep with their new friends every night, and also bring them with us most places we go.
The experience doesn’t end at the store, however. Kids can have more fun at bearville.com!
Build-A-Bear Workshop® friendship adventures continue in our fun and safe online world. This extension of our in-store experience enhances the traditional play patterns kids have with their stuffed animals, encouraging imagination, socialization, self-expression, creativity, self esteem and personal development. Signing up is FREE and there are no membership fees to enjoy the exclusive benefits of being a Bearville citizen.
Although the kids have already experienced Build-A-Bear, I can guarantee you they are anxious to go back and make more friends. With all of the different animals, sounds, and outfits, the possibilities are endless.
Look at these adorable holiday friends (and these are only a few of the many to choose from)!
If you’re looking for a fun gift idea for the special kids in your life, I guarantee they’ll love Build-A-Bear! You can select an animal and outfit for them online and purchase on the Build-A-Bear website. Currently Build-A-Bear is offering free shipping on orders over $25! OR you can gift your child a Build-A-Bear “Bear Bucks” gift card so they can experience the fun at Build-A-Bear! Spend $30 or more at Build-A-Bear and get a $10 g/c for only $5! Who doesn’t love a great deal?
Amanda was also able to review the Build-A-Bear experience with her little one. Check out her review here.
Would the little one in your life love to build their own friend? Enter to win a $25 Build-A-Bear gift card by completing the rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends at 12:01am EST on 12/23 and is open to the US. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway