Spike has always been a fan of soft toys. Quite often he can be found walking around with one under his arm and he sleeps with the whole cast of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every night. Recently every time we have gone into town he has started squealing with excitement at the sight of the Build a Bear Workshop store so when we were asked if we would like to review the Build a Bear experience I couldn’t turn it down.
As soon as we walked into the Build a Bear Workshop store we were greeted by a very friendly member of staff. She didn’t know who we were at the time so it was nice to see that every customer gets treated nicely and not just the ones there to review. After saying a quick hello to me and the Hubby she started talking to the boys and making an effort to get them to interact with her which was great as Spike can be quite shy with new people.
The boys were shown the vast range of bears that they could choose from and the shop assistant explained to us how they vary in price from basic bears to limited editions. There was a lot of choice with bears, cats, dogs, monkeys all waiting to be built and taken home. Each one has a completed version sitting on a shelf so that you can see just how they will look when finished.
Spud immediately chose a blue bear and helped us decide on a monkey for Spike who was still acting a bit nonchalant. Next we moved onto the sound machine where the boys could press buttons sampling the available sounds that can be placed inside the bear. Spud opted for a huge roar and Spike (who was starting to show a lot of interest) chose the monkey noises.
Next the boys were taken over to the fluff machine, the shop assistant was still talking to them explaining everything in a way that they would understand and getting them involved with every step. I didn’t think Spud would be quite as interested as he was because soft toys are way down low on his list of favourite toys but he was hanging off of her every word. He helped her to operate the machine and filled his blue bear with fluff giving it a squeeze test and helping Spike to do his. Once the bears were full of fluff they were asked to choose a heart and make a wish before putting it into the bear and having it sewn up. Both boys thought this was great and did everything she told them to do.
As she went the shop assistant did explain certain things to us like how a bar code gets put inside the bear like a micro chip so if it gets lost and returned to a store it can be traced back to its owner. I thought this was great because I still remember how utterly devastating it can be losing a teddy when you are young. I now know that if I ever find a Build a Bear Workshop teddy the best place to hand it into is the store in the hope it can be returned.
Next it was time to give the bears a “wash” and a brush. I have never seen Spud be so thorough with something! He scrubbed every inch of that bear before decided he was ready for an outfit. I thought we might have a problem deciding on how to dress the bears but earlier in the day Spud had phoned Nana and told her he was going to get a blue bear and dress it as Batman. Low and behold the first outfit he saw was Batman. Right next to Batman sat a Spiderman outfit which caught Spike’s eye so without even looking at the rest the decision was made.
The boys were taken over to a table with a mirror and helped to dress their bears. I really can’t praise the interaction that the shop assistant had with the boys enough, she really did seem like she loved her job and it made the experience extremely enjoyable for everybody. Once dressed the boys were asked if they were happy with their choice and taken over to a computer to register their bears. The registration provides the boys with the opportunity to name their bears, get a certificate and it logs my details incase their bear is lost and handed in. She then explained to me that if they went onto the PC at home and logged onto the website their bear could “come alive” for some adventures and games. We are yet to try this but it’s definitely on our list when the boys are having a bored day.
After registering all the details the boys were taken to choose a ribbon for their certificates and to pop their bears into a special box or “house” as it was called to them. They were given some stickers and both of them decided to decorate the boxes before we left the shop. Because of the run up to Easter we were given an Easter craft kit which is available to every customer when they make a purchase.
Whilst the boys were distracted I had a proper look around and they literally have everything you could imagine for your bears. They have seasonal selections so at the moment there was a module full of St Patrick’s Day things. The outfit choices are amazing and even have funky accessories to go with them. Spike showed a massive interest in the Spiderman Pjs and slippers for his monkey which we thought we quite cute. They both insisted in carrying their own boxes and kept a close eye on them all the way home.
It’s been nearly a week since we visited Build a Bear and the boys have taken their bears (Harry and Bananas) everywhere. In Tesco last week I even had to retrace all my steps when Bananas lost his Spidey mask.
Now the one thing I hear about Build a Bear Workshop is that its expensive. If i’m honest it was the one thing putting me off taking the boys before but I must say that the whole experience makes it all worth that little bit extra cash. The bears vary in price from £9 and with sounds and an outfit you can get a complete bear for just over £20. The quality of the bears and outfits is fantastic so I would definitely say combined with the experience that even £30+ is worth it as a special treat. Both boys have a much bigger attachment to their Build a Bear Workshop teddies than I have ever seen with any other, I would go as far as saying they are at the top of the list with their baby comfort blankets.