Thinking about attending a Build-A-Bear Workshop you could be fooled into thinking it is just about choosing a bear, getting it stuffed and possibly adding some clothes. Last weekend we made our way into Norwich city just as the shops were opening to try out the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience for ourselves.
Arriving at the Norwich store Roo and Tigger peeped through the shutters at all the different bears on display and watched in amazement as the big red shutter slowly lifted up. Entering the store we were greeted with friendly faces and welcomed into the store by Sam, who immediately had Roo and Tigger’s attention. Which knowing Tigger isn’t easy as he is usually very shy around new people but was happy chatting to Sam about superheroes.
With introductions out of the way it was time to start our Build-A-Bear Workshop experience, which of starts with choosing that all important bear…
Choose a bear
Sounds simple – choose a bear… however the reality of it that it is far from simple.
Do you make a traditional bear? if so, which colour? which design?
Do you opt to make one of your TV/Movie heroes? if so, do you opt for Frozen? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? or maybe a superhero like Spiderman or Batman?
Or do you opt for one of their seasonal selection? They currently have Santa and two different styles of reindeer’s (which come with their own medallion) to choose from. There is also their special Spots of Fun Pup which the Build-A-Bear Workshop is donating £1.oo from every one bought to BBC Children in Need until the end of 2014.
So many choices it can be difficult to decide on just one! With Roo opting for a white Elsa bear, I have to admit to being a little surprised that Tigger didn’t opt for a reindeer (he has a thing for reindeer’s) instead selecting a red Spiderman bear.
Give your bear a voice
After making that all important bear selection you then have the option to give your bear a voice. With 16 different options, again you maybe here for a little while selecting the perfect voice for your bear. With Roo having an Elsa bear it was only fitting that she she should sing Let It Go!, whilst Tigger opted to for the ROAR! for his Spiderman bear – personally I loved the 6-in-1 voice box.
The next all important step is to make your chosen bear soft and snuggly by filling it with stuffing. The children are invited to help with this by pressing the foot pedal to control the amount of stuffing that is placed within their bears. Tigger especially enjoyed watching his Spiderman fill out with each press of the pedal.
Whilst Roo was getting her bear stuffed Tigger was so happy to able to help refill the stuffing machine, giggling and laughing as the stuffing was magically sucked up the pipe… whoosh!
Every bear requires a heart
This is the most important step in creating your very own Build-A-Bear – every bear requires a heart. You are able to pay a little extra and have a heart that when pressed will beat just like a real heart added inside of your bear along side the red satin hearts that are added to every Build-A-Bear. However it is not just a simple case of selecting a heart, popping it inside and sewing up your bear – you have to make sure that you every your bears heart all it will need to be able to be the best it can be.
Sam had Roo and Tigger, as well as me holding a heart tightly within our hands, as we started the heart ceremony…
- Spin around in a circle one time so it never gets lost.
- Put it on your side, so it’s always by your side!
- Put in on the person next to you so it will have lots of friends.
- On your head so it’s super smart like you!
- On your knee so it ‘needs’ you!
- Do your best dance move, so it dances as good as you!
- Put it on your cheek for lots of smiles, and your other cheek for EVEN more smiles!
- Hold it up in the air so your bear grows tall!
- Shout “I love my animal!” as loud as you can!
Now we didn’t shout loud enough so we had to complete the last step a few times (it’s that point in a parent’s life where you just do it and avoid eye contact with anyone else in the room – the things us parents have to do!)
Returning missing Build-A-Bear’s
Just before your chosen bear is sewn up the lower part of the tag is added inside, this is to enable any lost bears that are found and handed into a Build-A-Bear Workshop store can be reunited with their owner. Such a simple idea but something that may just bring the biggest smile to a child’s face if they loss their much loved bear.
A lick and a polish
After being sewn up it it time to give your newly created bear it’s first bath, all that voice adding, stuffing and creating a good heart can take it’s toll on a bear. With a press of a pedal jets of air come whooshing out and a good brush soon gets them looking their best once again.
Clothing, shoes and accessories
Wardrobe darling, wardrobe! Like anyone it is all about what you wear so you can either opt to leave your bear ‘au naturel’ or find the perfect outfit to dress your bear into.
With a wide range of outfit choices along with accessories it can take some time to decide upon the perfect attire for your bear. Roo immediately set her heart upon a beautiful Elsa style dress, shoes and wig. Tigger however wasn’t sure what his Spiderman bear should wear, with a range of superhero outfits to chose from. With no Spiderman outfits left on display, Ellie, kindly looked in the store room to see if any had arrived on delivery and Tigger was very happy to see her come back with one for his bear.
Register your bear
The final step in the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience is registering your bear. Selecting a name and adding your details into the system to enable any lost bears to be returned to us along with signing up to Build-A-Bear Workshop offers.
Once registered bears are issued with a birth certificate and their very own box which can be coloured and decorated to make it a very special home and travel carriage for your chosen bear.
Boo Roo and Tigger Too’s thoughts…
Our Build-A-Bear Workshop experience lasted about an hour and I have to say that we all enjoyed it, even me!
Whilst at first glance you might not think that buy a new bear would be an experience you obviously haven’t been to Build-A-Bear Workshop before. This isn’t just about grabbing a bear off the shelf because it looks good, this is about making memories, creating the perfect bear that your child will hold, love and rely upon. The staff are friendly, warm and welcoming – ready to answer any questions thrown to them by little ones. They help bring the magic of building a bear alive and instil some wonderful memories of heart ceremonies in their heads.
So if you have little ones or what to make yourself the best Aunt or Uncle then I urge you to take a child in your life to Build-A-Bear Workshop to give them an experience they will never forget.
Disclosure: We received a complimentary Build-A-Bear Workshop experience for the purpose of review.