November 23, 2010

Holiday Gift Idea and Giveaway: Build-A-Bear Workshop

My little Kaitlin is almost 17 months now, and while she can’t really talk in sentences yet, she knows a lot of words, and especially she know her colors. The first color she learned to say was purple. For a couple of weeks everything was purple. If you asked her what color was the sky she would answer “Purple”. What color her hair, the answer “Purple”; what color the bananas on the table? “Purple”.

It took a bit, but then she learned to recognize purple and to distinguish it from the other colors. So now her color vocabulary includes black, yellow, blue, green, gold, copper, mauve, and pink.

And, oh boy, does she love pink!

Purple was merely a repetition exercise, but pink is surely her favorite color now!

Let me explain:

She has a colorful tea set with cups of different colors (blue, green, yellow and pink). Nobody can drink out of the pink cup anymore: that's just hers. If you try to take it, she'll scream. And to think that that was the cup she always used to give to me, associating mama with the pink cup (she knows her mama likes pink). Until the day pink became her favorite color, too. So now mama can drink tea out of the yellow cup!

When I let her have some junk food, and we share a bowl of Lucky Charms before bed, it’s hard work: I can’t just give her a spoon full of the cereal, no, I have to pick out the pink marshmallows and give her only those. I get to eat all the other marshmallows, but the pink ones are for her. And when all the pink marshmallows are gone, there is a moment of panic when she can’t find any of them in the bowl. At that point, she either stops eating or she lets me give her some of the yellow ones, but you can see that she is not crazy about those.

When I had the opportunity to review the Build-A-Bear Workshop with Kaitlin, I was thrilled, NY Spender and Little Spender working together for the first time! But when I was asked if I could please review any of the Holiday Bears, well, I knew it was going to be a problem: none of the holiday bears are pink!

I figured I was going to try and get Kaitlin to make this Snow Hugs Teddy, he was cute and snowy and cuddly and huggable, so why would she say no, right?

As soon as we got to the Build-A-Bear store, I felt a little disoriented, because as a first timer I really didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, the girls in the store are super helpful.

The first step, they explained, is to "Pick a Bear".
You start off by picking the bear you want out of a wall full of different bears.

Being the maniac nitpicker that I am, it would have taken me hours to pick the right bear: give me a lot of choices and I need to evaluate all of them before I can make a decision. 

Fortunately, Kaitlin is a little more relaxed than me, and she knows what she want, so it didn't take long for her to pick her bear. 

This one.

Are you surprised? Didn't think so.

I tried one more time to direct her interest towards the blue bear, but then my sister gave me a dirty look and said: “Let her pick! It's her bear and she likes the pink one!”

She had a valid point. We were going to stick with the pink bear.

First thing I didn’t know: The bear you pick is empty, and they fill it with feathers right in front of you, that way you get to pick the softness of it (like a mattress). You can have more feathers or less feathers and they let the baby test it a time or two before they sew the bear shut. 

You also get to make a wish and put a symbolic heart inside the bear before they give it to you.

Kaitlin picked a red heart, made a wish (I did that for her) and put the heart/wish inside the bear.

The nice lady then finished up the filling and the sewing (very quick process), and gave Kaitlin her brand new friend!

This is her with her new bear.

She loves it!

I was actually surprised because she has never been big on teddy bears.

In the next step you give the bear a bath.

Yes, a bath.

That’s what the girl told me and I thought: “Oh great, we’re going to get wet!” Thankfully it’s only an “air bath”. What you are really doing is brushing the bear under a jet of warm air to clean up any flyaway hair.

After the bear is ready, you need to pick the outfit, and the choices here are, again, so many it can make your head spin. Or dress up your bear in the coolest outfits ever!  ;)

Once again, Kaitlin showed no hesitation in picking the outfit!

Pink, of course.

But since I wanted more of an interesting contrast in color (pink bear with pink dress?!?), I told her to keep looking for something else.

So she went to look at the Santa outfit.

Not the contrast I was looking for.

"Keep looking Kate!"

"What else do you like?"

Hmm. Pink bear dressed up as a Christmas tree...?

Still not my favorite.

"What about this, Kaitlin?"

I'm thinking the white would look fabulous against the pink!

"Do you like this one, honey?"

No answer.

Then my baby, with her bear in her arms, walks away towards some distant rack full of bear clothes.

I try to play her pink card, and bring her some pretty pink choices.

"Do you like this sweater, honey?"

"The boots?"

No? Why not???????

At this point my sister shoots me another dirty look.

Yes, ok, I'll let the baby decide.

So she picked pink and fancy.

She went all out and dressed her bear for the Oscars.

She is her mother's daughter!

And how can I say no to this pretty face???

This is the complete outfit.

Kaitlin picked the dress, and my sister helped her with the shoes and the handbag.

There is a little corner where you get to dress your bear.

Here is "Pinky" all ready to go home with us!

Brand new BFF!!!  :)

I think the whole process of making the bear is so involving that at the end that bear feels that much more personal to the kids. It’s not just a bear they picked up from a shelf, no, this is a bear that has as much personal input as possible, and I think the whole idea is just great not to mention fun!

As I said before, Kaitlin is only 17 months, but she was able to understand most of what was happening. An older child will probably enjoy the experience even more, and while we were there, I saw kids in ages ranging from about 3 years old up to maybe 14!

And here is your chance to win a Build-A-Bear $25 gift certificate! 
As usual, my rules are very simple: just leave a comment with your favorite bear from the Build-A-Bear Workshop website. The contest ends Sunday, November 28th at midnight. I will pick a random winner on Monday.

Good Luck!  :)

Look at her! She loves her new bear!



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Mmley you are the winner!!!  :)


Daisy said...

This is too cute. Nevermind children ages 3-14, I want to go to the store to build my own bear. There was one special teddy bear in my childhood, I hugged it all the time. The photos are darling. Kaitlin is so big now! Shades of pink, from fushia to pale pink are my favorite colors, therefore I think Kaitlin has great taste.


Anonymous said...

How cute! My favorite is the Amur Leopard and the allergy friendly bear. Your baby is adorable by the way.

Anonymous said...

oops - forgot - my name is Marie