I never thought I would be impressed by Build a Bear. It's a weird concept and seemed totally gimmicky and lame.
If you haven't been (as I never had before today), here's how it works - you (for "you" assume you or your child, if your child is old enough) choose an unstuffed animal, you can choose a sound pack to put in it (for an extra fee), you take the animal to the fluff machine where a staff member fills it with blown-in stuffing. You can press the pedal to power the machine if you like. Once the animal is full, you choose a small heart to add to the animal. Then the staff pull the pre-stitched threads to close it up, and you can either take it home like that, or spend more money in the "boutique" on outfits, shoes and accessories (even small plastic branded wardrobes, ugh) for your stuffed animal. A little upsell attempt at the till to negotiate, as they tried to sell me some kind of mesh carrying bag. If you don't opt for the upsell, you can take it home in a printed house-shaped cardboard box (I opted out of that too - it would just go directly in the recycling).
All that sounds awful to me as I write it out.
But I had a $20 gift card and also a $5 off $25 printable coupon for Build a Bear
(click the link to get your own coupon - not affiliated or anything,
just sharing). So with $25 burning a hole in my pocket, we had to go.
We took our 15.5 month old daughter there today, and here's the thing... she LOVED it. I mean, she was in a grouchypants, complainy mood (molars, I needn't say more). And the minute we went into the store it was all squeals of delight. She's in a phase where she adores stuffed animals, so it was really no surprise. She spent a great deal of time hugging and squealing at the unstuffed animals, armfuls at a time, until we spotted The One - a chocolate lab much like our beast of a dog, Cadbury.
The dog was $27 and we did not choose a sound pack or any outfits or accessories. Total cost to me after tax and my coupon and gift card? $3.10. She went to bed with it tonight.
So. Worth. It.
If you are thinking of what to get a child (anywhere from 15 months to, I don't know, 12?) for a gift, maybe a gift certificate for Build a Bear would be a good one! It's a fun experience for them.
Disclosure: This is in no way a sponsored review.