My kids have been Build A Bear crazy for a few years now. They made their first ones in late December 2010 and then we visited again in 2011 for a review and since there then has been an abundance of teddies, clothes and accessories bought.
So when my 8 year old twin girls were given the chance of making a new Honey Girls bear each they were a little bit (read extremely) excited. The Honey Girls are brand new and are aimed at a slightly older audience than the classic Build A Bear teddies, although personally I think both span all ages.
In case you are not familiar with the Build A Bear experience, let me show you the stages the child gets to enjoy when they create their own bear. All the little steps really are part of the fun and you can easily spend an hour in the shop, so it is not just a purchase, it is a full-on experience.
1. We were greeted as we entered the store by Xowie and she took the girls over to meet the Honey Girls and to tell them all about this new range. So first they choose their bear each. Miss M choose Risa (the pink bunny), who is the guitarist of the Honey Girls band. Her tag said 'This imaginative girl always finds the perfect harmony! Shes all about music and being creative' and as Miss M loves to sing and make music this appealed to her.
Miss E choose Viv (the blue bear), who is the drummer of the band but of course nothing is set in stone so she turned her into a guitarist too. The tag on Viv says 'She'll always have your back and help you solve any problem, she is a great friend and talented inventor' and yep this is Miss E.
A nice touch with the Honey Girls is that you can choose a star to put in them before they are stuffed. Each of the six stars available has a trait on it - smart, fearless, talented, strong, confident and creative - and I really liked this as I felt my girls were empowered as they got to choose one for their bears.
2. Stuffing time and Chloe chatted away to the girls and thoroughly entertained them. You can't knock the staff in Build A Bear, they genuinely like kids and have time for loads of chit-chat! Chloe got my girls to put the sounds they had chosen into the bears foot. There are loads of little sounds you can choose but extra special with the Honey Girls is that they have their own personal or band song and now I can't stop humming 'Everything is Better' as I hear it so often! My girls got to take turns with the foot pedal to control the stuffing of the bear along with Chloe.
3. Once they are fully stuffed, the girls got to insert their star and also choose a heart to go in their bear. There are lots of fun (and slightly silly) things that the kids have to do, like rub the little heart against their heart to ensure the bear will always be loved. All these little extras really make the kids smile and make this a memorable event for them. Chloe then laced up the bears backs, no needles involved, it is a very clever concept.
Time to listen to the song your sister has chosen for her Honey Girl.
4. Now the bear is fully stuffed and set up it is time to shower her and get her all fluffed up ready for her outfit. (This is really a puff of air and little brushes)
5. Time to choose an outfit. The girls went for outfits from the new Honey Girls range but all the outfits fit, so you can mix and match and whilst each Honey Girl character does have her own signature outfit and instrument, your child is free to be creative and express her or himself in the way they choose.
6. Once your bear is dressed in the outfit of your choice (or not if you don't wish to buy an outfit - there is no pressure at all) then it is time to create their birth certificate and this was easy enough for my 8 year old's to do on their own. The certificate is printed and presented to you at the till when you pay.
Then finally time to pay the bill and collect your birth certificate. The Honey Girls are normally presented in a special Cub Condo box with carry handle. It can be cut open to make a stage area for the bear to perform in front of at home. My girls choose to have a rucksack each though, so they can carry their bear wherever they fancy.
Each Honey Girl bear is 46cm tall and they feel a bit more streamlined and long limbed than the classic teddies we have had before. The basic Honey Girl bear is £21 and she comes complete with white vest and sewn on knickers to protect her modesty. Each of the Honey Girls bears has some synthetic hair too and again this is a change from other Build A Bear teddies and something my girls really like.
You can style your Honey Girl bear anyway you fancy and accessories cost from about £2 for a hair band or bows, up to £10 for a dress outfit. The instruments (which make a noise when pressed) are £6 each and the carry backpack is £3 each.
If you want to fully style up your Honey Girl you are looking at a cost of about £45 for the fully styled bear and outfit/ instrument. So this is an investment buy but I can honestly say that my girls have played with theirs every day since they have had them and they just adore them. Each night they are in their beds and the Honey Girls have been on loads of day trips with us already.
You can discover more at buildabear.co.uk/honeygirls and there is even an interactive app you can download from the Apple App store or Google Play.
Also, at the beginning of this post I mentioned we have made a few Build A Bear teddies in our time and some of the ones we made back in 2010/11 still look like new. Others have got a bit worn looking but that is due to kids being rough and taking them outdoors rather than the quality. I believe they are built to last and as such I'm happy to recommend Buils A Bear and the Honey Girls as lovely toys.
Thanks so much to Xowie, Chloe and all the staff at the Bournemouth Build A Bear Workshop, you are doing a fantastic job.
Disclosure: The girls were provided with a Honey Girl each of their choice for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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