“Build” a Lifelong Furry Friend- Build-A-Bear Review and #Giveaway | 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

build a bear logoWe were given a gift card to review the following. All opinions expressed are our own.

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.

Choosing friendAfter 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.

stuffingThen 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.  outfits and accessoriesBefore 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!!!

BoxersMy 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! 

outfitsAfter a few different outfit changes, she finally decided on the wedding dress with glass slippers. So pretty!

The next step in the process is to head to the computers to name your furry friend and make them a personalized birth certificate.

Naming and birth certificateThis 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.

Furry FriendsHere 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. 🙂

all ready 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.

sleepingcuddlesThe 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)!

holiday friendsIf 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?

Holiday Button 200Amanda 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


  1. My daughter really loves My Little Pony. I’m sure she would love Fluttershy!

  2. joanna garcia says

    twilight sparkle!

  3. Teresa Honores says

    Fluttershy! my girls are pony obssesssed!

  4. Amanda Alvarado says

    Dd would be building Fluttershy!

  5. My daughter would want to make the winter white polar pup!

  6. I’m thinking Pengy the Penguin

  7. I think he would like to build midnight bear.

  8. I still have kids that would love to Build-a-Bear!

  9. my son says he would like to make Spike the Dragon from My Little Ponies. He technically said he wanted all the ponies, but if he could only choose one he would pick spike 🙂

  10. joanna garcia says


  11. Teresa Honores says

    i agree w spike the dragon!

  12. Joanna Garcia says

    rainbow dash!

  13. teresa honores says

    Obi Wan Bear-Nobi

  14. I like the 17 in. Snowy Sparkles Bunny

  15. rayraycartucci says

    The my little pony or the Santa!

  16. joanna garcia says

    pinkie pie!

  17. teresa honores says

    love the Yoda Bear

  18. I also like Frosty the Snowman

  19. joanna garcia says

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer®

  20. Teresa Honores says

    Cool Dude Pengy the Penguin

  21. My daughter would love to have a Rainbow Dash doll!

  22. joanna garcia says

    Elf Merry Mouse

  23. Teresa Honores says

    Blue Beauty Tropicolor Teddy

  24. joanna garcia says

    i love the clarice!

  25. Teresa Honores says

    Elf Merry Mouse

  26. My daughter would do rainbow dash or the elf mouse one!

  27. joanna garcia says

    Ultimate Sleepover smallfrys® Pawfectly Pink Flamingo

  28. Teresa Honores says

    Snowy Sparkles Bunny

  29. 15 in. Winter White Polar Bear

  30. joanna garcia says

    Glistening Winter White Polar Bear

  31. Teresa Honores says

    love the Merry & Bright Clarice®

  32. Sparkle bunny blue

  33. Penny Powell says

    I have 2 grandson and I would love to take them to pick what they like.

  34. Penny Powell says

    I have 2 grandson and I would love to take them to pick what they like. Nursetoes@gmail.com

  35. joanna garcia says

    14 in. Yorkshire Terrier
    14 in. Yorkshire Terrier

  36. Frosty the snowman is cute

  37. Teresa Honores says

    love the Pinky the Penguin

  38. joanna garcia says

    love the Merry & Bright Clarice

  39. Teresa Honores says

    any from the my little pony collection!

  40. The Penguin is so cute

  41. Amy Gramelspacher says

    Not sure which one we’d get there are so many I love!

  42. joanna garcia says

    15 in. Bearemy’s Kennel Pals® Golden Retriever

  43. Teresa Honores says

    Snowy Smiles Bunny

  44. I like the snowman

  45. joanna garcia says


  46. Teresa Honores says


  47. Lindsay Leigh Seaman says

    Pinky The Penguin!

  48. Shanna Uptergrove says

    I know one of my girls would LOVE to have Clarice the Reindeer!

  49. i like the snow smiles bunny 🙂

  50. Allison Downes says

    She would love to build the Sweet Smiles MY LITTLE PONY FLUTTERSHY®

    Thank you for such a nice giveaway!

  51. My son would like the Lil Sandy Cub

  52. joanna garcia says

    Disney Princess Bear

  53. Teresa Honores says

    any of the my little pony characters!!!

  54. we love my little pony

  55. Shanna Uptergrove says

    Gotta go with another pony 🙂 Rainbow Dash!

  56. joanna garcia says

    love the cute caramel pup!

  57. Teresa Honores says

    i would love the completely dressed fluttershy for my girl;!

  58. i would get a my little pony

  59. frosty

  60. frosty
    the snowman

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