Monday, 10 December 2018

Making New Furry Friends At Build-A-Bear

A couple of weeks ago, the boys were very kindly invited along to our local Build-A-Bear in Exeter to create their very own furry pals.

We were given the friendliest of greetings by the staff in store who were so warm and engaging toward the children from the moment they stepped through the door. I have to admit, I always feel a little on edge when taking the boys anywhere as I worry about them having tantrums or running riot - my anxiety does not cope with public meltdowns! - but the staff here put me at ease right away as they obviously knew how to talk to kids, get them interested and keep them entertained!

They gave the boys name stickers and had a little chat with them before leading them over to the huge selection of bears available to create. The staff talked the boys through the process, explaining it all in a way they could understand and then set them loose to decide which bear they wanted to take home.

They were encouraged to pick up and look at all of the available options - they were never rushed or pressured into choosing anything in particular, but were simply allowed to browse and get hands on with everything until they'd made their choices.

Tyne opted for the traditional teddy bear, while Sailor went for the Toothless Dragon. Noah was determined from the start that he was going to create an Elsa his choice was firmly set in stone!

Once their bears were chosen, the boys then moved on to the sound area where they could choose a sound bite to go inside their bear if they wanted to.

This was optional, and each sound had a different price point ranging from £3-£5 approximately. There were some simple sound effects such as roars or giggles, and there were song clips from popular movies and TV shows too.

The boys got to flick through and listen to as many of the sound options as they wanted before deciding on what they wanted for their bears.

Tyne chose to have the Power Rangers theme song for his bear, Noah chose Let It Go (of course!) and Sailor decided that his Dragon was not going to roar as I suggested...but was instead going to sing the theme song from Moana! And why not!

After they had put their sounds into their bears, it was time to stuff them - they moved on to the stuffing machine where they given the task of pressing the pedal to release the "fluff" into the bears before giving them the cuddle test to make sure they weren't too full or too thin.

After deciding that they were just right, there were more choices to make as it was time to put a heart inside their new special friend to bring them to life.

There were plain fabric hearts or, for an extra cost, beating hearts. The boys all chose beating hearts and they were asked to close their eyes and make a special wish as they clutched their hearts tight before placing them into their bears.

They were also given the option of adding a scent which they all wanted to do. They were allowed to sniff each of the scent options before choosing which they wanted. They giggled in delight as they were instructed to rub the scent on their bears feet, armpits and bottoms before it was placed inside the body and stitched up.

So now we had a Candy Floss scented Elsa bear singing Let It Go, A Peppermint scented Teddy bear singing Power Rangers and a Bubblegum scented dragon singing Moana - surely there was nothing left to do?!

Oh but there was!

It was time to fluff the bears up by giving them a special bear bath!

The boys were led to a special area where they sit their bears under air blowers and use special brushes to fluff them up - they absolutely loved doing this and would have happily spent ages doing it!

After they were happy with their freshly fluffed bears it was time to dress them.

There is an AMAZING selection of teddy bear outfits available at Build A Bear - from Disney themed outfits including Princesses and even the Beast, to vocational outfits, pyjamas, shoes, hats and even accessories.

They were thoroughly spoiled for choice!

After much deliberation, we ended up with a soldier outfit for Tyne's teddy bear who he named "Tough Teddy", a full Elsa outfit including sparkly shoes and a wig for Noah's bear, and  - bizzarely - sparkly red shoes and a Moana dress for Sailor's dragon!

Once the outfits were chosen the boys got to enter their details on the computers - this means that if they ever lose them and the bears are returned to a Build A Bear store, they can be reunited with their owner.

Once this was done, it was time for the Bear Promise Ceremony where another lovely member of staff got the boys to repeat the Promise after her and do lots of jumping up and down, which of course they loved!

Then there was one final decision to make as they were asked to decide between a traditional cardboard bear box to carry their friends home in or a special bear backpack - they chose the backpacks which were very cute!

Then it was time to write their names on Santa's Nice List before taking their bears home.

We had such a wonderful time at Build A Bear, the boys smiled and laughed nonstop for the hour or so we spent there and the staff couldn't have been more engaging with them.

What I enjoyed most was the chance for the boys to be as creative as they liked with their bears, really letting their imaginations run wild and never with any unwanted input from adults - it was all totally child-led which I thought was brilliant.

The possibilities are endless at Build A Bear, with such a fun and diverse range of products available - we've already decided to go back for a birthday party next year as the boys enjoyed it so much!

To find out more about Build A Bear, please visit

*We were gifted our experience and bear creations in return for an honest review, as always all words and thoughts are my own.

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