Lions and Tigers and Bears…. oh my!

So I’ve heard about the Build-A-Bear Workshop for years as kids have spoken of them on the playground and in the classrooms, but we’ve never had one locally and it’s never really been something we’ve sought out. When the new Tsawwassen Mills mall opened up nearby recently, my daughter saw the sign for their new store and asked to go in. I didn’t see the attraction img_7347of stuffing a bear to bring home and add to the collection of other stuffies, but of course we took a stroll through and gazed at all the colours, the accessories, the costumes. Only to walk out again a few minutes later saying “wasn’t that cute?!”, but no real desire to go back.

By complete coincidence, someone from Build-A-Bear Workshop contacted me shortly after.  Good timing? Perhaps! They asked if we’d like to come down to the store for a Build-A-Bear experience. As much as I was cringing at the thought of adding more stuffies to our house, I thought I’d indulge my daughter and take her for a little surprise. img_7352

After school one Wednesday in November, we headed down to the store and was greeted by Jennifer, who couldn’t have been a more enthusiastic host. She had so much patience as Olivia carefully selected her “bear” to build… a black dog, just like the one she’d like to get in real life.

Olivia’s eyes lit up as the stuffing was added, along with a red satin heart kissed by Mama, of course. We opted for some special add-ins too: a scent, sound effects (barking by Olivia!), and a img_7372heartbeat. Then it was over to the accessories, which are endless.  And this is where things can get pretty special. Have a firefighter in your life? or a police man/woman? They’ve got you covered. Someone in a wheelchair, with a broken arm, or on crutches? Yup, they’ve got that too.  A toddler who likes pink and frilly, or one who likes hockey and football? It’s there! I had always thought of Build-A-Bear as girls looking for a cute bear to snuggle, but I realized it can go much further than that with all the options and accessories available.

img_7366Once you’re done building and accessorizing, the experience continues! You can name and register your new friend, print their birth certificate, take a special photo, and THEN you’re done. Almost.  Jennifer gave us a complimentary dog crate for “Midnight” to go home in and snuggle at night, and offered us half-price gift cards to come back anytime for more accessories.  I was thinking “Christmas” and added a couple to my tab.

Now Build-A-Bear Workshop isn’t always an inexpensive endeavour. By the time all was said and done, our total was just over $65, but we had added on some extras that we could have easily done without. A basic “bear” starts at just $29 and includes stuffing, satin heart, naming and registering, birth certificate and box.

They have birthday parties too, so your little one can bring a few friends down and enjoy watching their faces light up. It makes for great photo opps, and big smiles. Bring them back to your place or out for a nice lunch, with their new friends.

If you’re interested in learning more, go to www.buildabear.ca

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