Yesterday saw us having our very first Build-A-Bear Workshop experience. We’d popped in to the shop a few weeks ago, as at the moment they have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles available, right at the front of the shop, so Boo spotted them, and as regular readers will know, Boo adores those turtles! When we were offered the opportunity to go and see what Build-A-Bear Workshop is all about, I was always going to have to say ‘yes’!
I was interested to see what it was all about, and Boo, well she was bouncing about and near to exploding with excitement! We went into Solihull’s Touchwood store, and were greeted with smiley, friendly staff, who were great at chatting to both of the children throughout our visit, and really putting Little Man at ease, as he can by shy around strangers.
So, step by step then. First up, you choose your ‘bear’. Unsurprisingly, Boo led us straight here…
She knew that she wanted a Leonardo as he’s her favourite, so she then spent a few moments choosing the right one. Little Man went for a Beach Buddy shark, which is also a hand puppet. There are loads of toys in the range, with plenty of different bears to choose from, including ponies, dogs, cats, zoo animals – believe me, there are loads!
Next stage is putting the stuffing in. Both of the kids liked this part, as Boo got to put her foot on the pedal to ‘operate the machine’, and then they could choose to add in three different things. They could add a sound, which I declined (they’re going to sleep with these, so I don’t want them rolling on them in the night and waking themselves up with them!). They could add a ‘Scentiment’ – they loved this! Both of them took their time to smell the 3 options available, frosted icing, bubblegum and strawberry. Boo chose strawberry and Little Man liked the bubblegum. The scent was rubbed on the toys, and then placed inside their tummies. And finally, they each added a heart. We went for the soft hearts, though beating hearts are also available.
The next part was Boo’s favourite, and I think judging by Little Man’s happy face, probably his, too (though he really liked sniffing those Scentiments!). They went over to the grooming area to give their new friends a clean and a brush…
Then you pop over to the computer and input yours and your bear’s details, to print out a birth certificate…
The final stage is popping your bear into their box, which Boo loved and was very happy to then proudly carry him about…
Whilst Little Man had fun peeking through the windows, checking on Sharkey..
And when we got home, Boo set about colouring in Leonardo’s box, with him looking on, of course. I do like this additional touch. I’m sure not every child would be interested in this, but Boo enjoys colouring in, and the fact that it’s for her new turtle’s home makes it all the more special to her.
And then? Well, then they went to bed….with their new toys!
Sharky retails at £12, which I think is good value for a big cuddly hand puppet anyway, aside from the addition of this experience. He is part of the Beach Buddies range currently in-store, which also features a dolphin and an octopus. The TMNT toys are more expensive, starting at £19, but then I’d expect that of a big brand that’s very popular at the moment, so the price tag seems reasonable.
Personally, I think the experience and quality of the soft toy is worth the money, though I’d reserve it as a special occasion treat, such as birthdays. The excitement and happiness from the kids was just so sweet to see, and I think having chosen and carefully made their cuddly toys themselves has somehow bonded them to them all the more. It put me in mind of buying a pet, with all that that entails, with both the fun and caring aspects. All much lower maintenance, too! The only downside that I see is getting caught up in buying lots of outfits and accessories. You may see that as a fabulous plus, or maybe a dangerous addiction – I’m a little afraid of it! Fortunately, Leonardo doesn’t require clothing, and Little Man’s not spotted this opportunity yet, so we made it out without all of that. But, I’ve a feeling that this is just going to be the first of our Build-A-Bear Workshop trips, so I may not get off so lightly next time…..!
Have your children tried the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience? What did they make of it?
Disclosure: We received the toys FOC for the purposes of this review, though all words and opinions remain my own.