Monday 17 February 2014

"I miss the days when all it took to make me feel better was my teddy bear."

There's something really quite magical about being able to walk into a cuddly toy store and create a life long buddy for either yourself or someone you love. Build a Bear Workshop is a great experience for your children and I like to think that seeing the process of bringing your bear to life gives the owner a little more respect and admiration for their new furry friend. We've written about build a bear before and this time we wanted to bring our friends in on the fun too. After asking them to join us we found out they had never been before so the trip was going to be even more magical.

Our friends Lucie, Seth and Martha met us in store where we were greeted by Shab a friendly member of staff with a smile that was contagious. She introduced herself to the children and asked all their names putting the more shy ones amongst us at ease. Shab explained the process of the experience and then guided us towards the limp bears so the troops could pick their new friend. Although me and Mrs M don't celebrate valentines we thought it would be nice for the boys bears  to create bears for the other two important ladies in their life, Nanny Roo and Auntie Lottie. Seth picked a bright pink elephant and Opeie (as always) followed suit. Martha seemed to have the same idea but Seth (I'm going to have to start saying little Seth and big Seth or it's going to become confusing) decided he wasn't going to conform and chose a cute larger headed bear, which would have been my choice.

Time to chose a voice/sound, there was a great range to choose from but as the boys were making them for those two special ladies they decided to record their own voices to make their gifts a little more personal. Laura, another of the friendly cheerful staff gave the boys a hand, explaining what to do with the voice boxes.

One by one the children joined Shab at the stuffing machine to plump up their new cuddly pals. (Little) Seth went first and made it quite clear that he wasn't a fan of the sound coming out of the stuffer...

The others managed okay though.

After the stuffing they each picked a heart, well they each picked 'hearts', (little) Seth picked two fabric hearts, a kind of furry Dr Who thing going on, we were told about the 'beating heart' so that went in too and that's also when we found out about 'million hearts, million wishes, million ways to help' an initiative that Build a bear Workshop are running with the 'starlight foundation', there are special Purple Hearts that cost £1 and the money goes to the charity. Also Build a bear Workshop are also inviting their customers to share photos of their “heart ceremony”  across their social media profiles with the hashtag #shareukbabwwishes, for every image they will donate £1 towards the charity, it's a great cause. Back to our 'heart ceremony' Each of the kids ended up somehow with three hearts (little Seth) however ended up with four, an apparent record for our local build a bear, somebody call Guinness! Each heart though was lovingly kissed, held to their own heart and a wish was made. As you can imagine, with 14 hearts the trip was a lengthy one, but the kids were having a great time.

 Fluffing time, the children lovingly brushed their bears to make sure they were nice and soft ready for cuddling.

We now had four plump looking bears ready for squeezing but Opeie pointed out that they were 'nudey rudey' so we all moved on to costumes. There are a great selection off costumes in store. We left the children to dress their bears how they wanted. (Big) Seth and Martha chose bumblebee costumes, Opeie chose a hoody and jeans with boots and (little) Seth chose a skater outfit with a Dinosaur on a skateboard T-shirt.

Andy gave us a hand dressing our bears and they were all looking pretty dapper. The children were so excited and Martha and (little) Seth were giving their bears a great squeeze. I always say I'd love to be a child for a day and if i had the option a trip to the build a bear would definitely on the cards. The thing that always appeals to me about build a bear is how they have added the interactive element to toy shopping, kids love to get stuck in and know that they have completed something themselves which is why the whole experience is so amazing.

 Before adopting our new family members we needed to make sure that all the correct documentation was in order. Its great that they take your details because the bear is also given a barcode that is placed inside during the 'heart ceremony' just in case the bear is lost and is handed back in.

Our Build a bear Workshop experience had almost come to an end. The bears and their birth certificates were boxed up in their temporary bear carriers ready to be coloured in by the children when they got home.

 But we couldnt leave without reciting the bear promise at the front of the store. Laura led the way with the other staff hand on heart while we all followed suit. A fun ending to our exciting experience at Build a Bear Workshop. 

Thank you Shab, Laura and Andy for looking after us during our visit  and making the children feel at ease. The children left the store as excited as when we arrived.

The following day we arranged to see Nanny Roo and Auntie Lottie to give them their bears, as expected they were a little shocked but the smiles on their faces said it all. The boys were clearly very proud of their creations and the happiness they had brought to those two special ladies.

Happy Valentines Nanny and Auntie Lottie xxxx

1 comment:

Rebecca Beesley said...

We've never been to a build-a-bear workshop. I think my kids would love it a bit too much as they adore their toys and cuddly bears so have managed to keep it quiet from them so far. It might be one to do when D's beloved Blue Bear goes to bear heaven to make a new special bear for him.