Kirsty McCabe braves Build-A-Bear with her two boys.
Stay calm - and Build-A-Bear
If you happen across a Build-A-Bear store and find yourself trapped inside - don’t panic. In this life you can, sometimes, be pleasantly surprised. Kirsty McCabe recently found herself in that exact situation. And pleasantly surprised, she was. Here she shares her experience with Junior.
“It was our first time in Build-A-Bear and (unsurprisingly) they loved it. Surprisingly for me, I survived. The idea is simple, based on any parenting technique: involve a child - for example by letting them help make dinner - and they are more likely to eat it and declare how much they love it. The principle is the same at Build-A-Bear - without the eating part.
Going on a bear hunt
The range of toys is huge at Build-A-Bear. If you’ve only ever seen pink monstrosities being dragged around by wide-eyed toddlers, you’ll be relieved to see the full collection in store. There are bears, astronaut monkeys, horses, dogs, Pokemon bears (yes, really)... The first job (and it can take some time) is to choose one to build.
The boys opted for different styles. Logan chose the Monster Mixters range, where the bear’s body parts come separately, creating a (highly) personalised colourful furry friend. Ethan chose the Now Playing range, which features characters from major movie blockbusters, as well as timeless classics. His reason for choosing his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? The ability to flip its face from combat to smiley, of course.
Making the bears
Bears chosen, construction begins. Again, this is something that the kids do themselves. The boys were unsure about standing on the pump pedal to get the fluff into their bear, but the staff were great at getting them involved. They each picked hearts for their bears, then followed further instructions to bring them to life. Finally, it’s time to name them (Lightning and Rainbow Boy in this case). You then print off their certificates and put them in a Build-A-Bear backpack (or box) to take home.
The Build-A-Bear empire knows its market - and with over 400 stores globally, they've got the model right. Their success lies not just in the making of bears, but in the optional extras. You can add sound, smell and just about any accessory you want. Think jewellery, shoes, handbags, hats, multiple outfits and you can see why it's the bear factory of choice for today's style-conscious kids. You can even chip your bear for security purposes - so, it can be traced back to you should it ever get lost.
So what news of Lightning Bear and Rainbow Boy? They have now settled into their new homes, taking pride of place in the boys’ respective beds. They await National Teddy Bear Day when they will accompany the boys to school."
Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on Junior Magazine.
"If you are in need of a little friendly, advice, have a read of some of my other columns..." Kirsty McCabe