My 5-year old son is a stuffie-collecting fiend. My elder son has a number of stuffies and loves a few a whole lot. My youngest loves all stuffies more than I ever imagined possible. Every time he has a bit of pocket change, he is dragging us off to the nearest toy store to add to his stuffie collection.  Recently, we had occasion to give him a gift and I thought a trip to Build-A-Bear would be a special treat. Yup, I hit that one out of the park!

Before we visited Build-A-Bear, I hopped on YouTube to see if someone had made a video of the experience. Of course videos existed…oodles of them! As I had never experienced the Build-A-Bear phenomenon it was great to have a little peak at what to expect. If nothing else, I was prepared for all the possible add-ons we would be offered.

Visiting mid-week, after school, was an ideal time. The store wasn’t jam-packed and we were able to go through the bear-making process (or in our case, dog-making process) without feeling rushed. After my son selected Marshall (from Paw Patrol), it was time to make him fluffy.

Build A BearI sort of fell in love with the heart-part of making Marshall. My son was asked to pick a heart (there are free ones, there are scented ones for a few dollars, and there are purple ones which include a donation to the Build-A-Bear Foundation – we went with the free one). There is a little ceremony that all the kids go through (though I understand the ceremony can be customized by employees). My son had to rub the heart on his ears, so his dog would listen well. Give the heart a few taps to get it beating. Rub the heart on his funny bone so the dog would be silly with him. And give the heart a big kiss so his stuffie would know he was loved. My son’s smile stretched from ear-to-ear the entire time.

After the heart was carefully put inside Marshall, the final bit of fluff was added, and the dog was closed up. We visited the bathtub station to ensure any extraneous stuffing was removed. Our final stop was at the Adoption Centre where we created a birth certificate for Marshall. There was an option to purchase clothes and accessories for Marshall, but I had warned my son, before we arrived, that we would be just getting the stuffie. I figured if he wanted clothes for Marshall he could save his pocket change…which might result in one less stuffie in our house!

Marshall resides in our 5 year old’s bed every night. During the day he hangs out on the pillows. If you manage expectations, the Build-A-Bear experience doesn’t need to be cost prohibitive. I also found it very helpful to go online, ahead of time, and show my son the selection of stuffies available. He had already narrowed down his options before we arrived which made the experience more successful for all of us.

Build-A-Bear Store Details:

When: 7 days a week
Time: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Sat); 11am – 6pm (Sun)
Where: Metropolis at Metrotown
Address: 216 4800 Kingsway, Burnaby