Build-A-Bear Workshop at Fair Oaks Mall

I’m not sure if my kids’ little bodies will be able to handle the excitement of Disneyworld—they could barely contain themselves at the new Build-A-Bear store in Fair Oaks Mall!  I’m stingy on stuff like this; I always opt for nature-filled adventures rather than stuff-centered activities, so my kids fully appreciated the outing.

I don’t have any previous experience in a Build-A-Bear Workshop, so I was pretty blown away by the new store at Fair Oaks, VA.  We were met at the door by one of many helpful and cheerful employees.  Here’s what the lucky Lorelei (5 ½) and Ben (4) got to do for the next 30 minutes:

1.    Choose your animal.  There were about 20 options, mostly bears but also rabbits and penguins and even a snake, ranging from $10 to $20.  Lorelei chose a pink bear; Ben chose a camouflage bear.  

 

2.    Build the bear’s heart.  With the help of a huge touch screen computer about the size of a small table, they entered their own names and placed a small satin heart on the screen.  They then selected characteristics they wanted in their bear to have towards the heart. 

As kids who don’t use computers and rarely touch my iPhone (I’m a proud and stubborn Luddite), they were in hog-heaven!  They made their bears caring, adventurous, sporty, fun and…even dazzling.  (In case you’re wondering, “dazzling” means that you like to dress up in sparkly things.)  

 

3.    Select a sound.  Using another touch screen computer, each kid chose a sound for their bear.  Here’s where this Fair Oaks store really stands out from other stores in the area—rather than just having 16 voice options, but this one has over 50 choices of songs and animal sounds and funny voices from movies my kids haven’t seen.  They cost $3 to $8 (the most expensive option is to record your own voice into the sound box).

4.    Stuff your bear.  Lorelei wanted soft and cuddly while Ben wanted his more firm, but each got to press the pedal to make the fluff blow into their bear.  

5.    Bathe your bear.  Yet another touch screen computer!  They plopped their bears on the screen-inside-a-tub and heard water dripping and bubbles popping.  The “soap” made more fun sounds, including giggles from Lorelei and Ben.

 

6.    Dress your bear.  I was overwhelmed by the options of attire for these little animals, but my kids zeroed in on what they wanted.  A princess dress for Lorelei and…a cheerleader outfit for Ben’s camouflaged bear?! 

Luckily, his bear ended up with a basketball uniform instead.  The clothes were $15-$25, but that was for the main outfit.  There were (of course) shoes and purses and robes and socks and wigs and…you name it, it was available for purchase.  At the dressing area, there was underwear for your bear, too—of course the kids didn’t realize that was another $3.50.

 

 

 

 

7.    Name your bear. Another way cool touch screen computer!  The kids were having a blast figuring out what their names should be and entering their own information in the computer.  As we checked out, the kids each received a “birth certificate” for their bears.

Lorelei has been to a birthday party at a Build-A-Bear Workshop, and I’m sure both kids fingers are crossed that one of their friends will have one there again.  For these parties, the “party mom,” decides how much each guest can spend (the minimum is $10), and the company stands behind their promise on providing options that are within this budget. For parent reviews of parties, check out www.buildabear.com/partyreviews.

Overall, I felt a little rushed and wished that we could play more at each station.  Even though we went on Superbowl Sunday at 2pm, and we escaped the lines that normally exist on weekend afternoons, I felt like we finished too quickly.  

The other clear downside was the cost.  A naked bear costs about $15, but if you choose a more expensive animal and an outfit, that quickly increases to $40 and can easily keep climbing when your powers of resistance get demolished from the constant desires of your little ones.  It was a lot of money for not a lot of time.

While this sort of event is unusual for my family, it was a great reminder of how stepping outside our norm can be great for the kids.  Both my daughter and son had a great time, and they had a blast doing this together, too.  And they are currently snuggling with their bears right now, and I know they’ll be talking about it for weeks, if not longer.  

Check out www.buildabear.com for more information and other store locations.

 

 Convenient  4
 Kid-Friendly  5
 Expensive  5
 Customer Service  5
 I Would Return to This Store  yes
 I Would Recommend to a Friend  yes
 Overall Rating  4

All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.

Meet the Reviewer!

Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom

and wife living in Great Falls, VA. 

In addition to reading to her three

small hildren, Kate runs marathons,

Crossfits, and blogs about raising

kids with books at

www.katesbookery.blogspot.com.





About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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