Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Build a Bear Birthday Party that took a life of its own

My daughter asked if she could have a Build a Bear Birthday party. She is turning 6 so sure that sounded like a great thing to do. We knew we needed 6 kids, but in a pinch my husband or I could get a bear. We invited one of her friends, and her sister, and one of my son’s friends. My daughter asked if she could bring a friend from her class. Sure, but our rule is that if you invite one kid from a group you have to invite everyone. No kid should feel left out.

It did not seem like a big deal inviting her kindergarten class to her birthday party, last year we invited her class and only had 4 kids from it. We figured we would have maybe ten kids in total. Last count 19 kids. That is 19 kids each getting a bear from Build a Bear! The limit is $25 per kid that is almost $600. Even if we dropped the limit to $15 it’s still just under $400. OMG! That is much more than the $150 we usually budget.

The strange thing is that we are still letting the kids have a limit of $25. They get one bear. The parents can buy outfits. On top of that we are making cupcakes. Each child is getting a bear, a cupcake, a drink box and a gift bag with toys (we spent about $60 on that already).

Can we afford this, not really! I just started working a part time job and my husband is looking for work. What we have done is saved every penny we have for months so we can do this. Why, because we love our daughter and we committed to the party months ago. We did not expect the number of kids, but we will deal with it. What gets me are the parents of kids we don’t even know asking if their kids can come to the party. Nope, sorry the party is limited to her class and one friend outside of school. That is it. We also had parents complaining about us not buying outfits and lunch for all the kids. They were quickly told that if they don’t like it they don’t have to bring their kids. This party is for the kids, not the parents and the kids are more than happy to be able to pick out and make their own bear.

At this point we have 19 very excited kids counting down the “sleeps” until her party this Saturday. Some kids have been looking online and have already picked out their bear. Others have just been talking about it at school. It has become a major event for all the kids. They are all so happy and excited that it makes us feel good about the party, even if we wished it was not going to cost so much. On top of that we have had several parents take us aside and thank us for doing this. They could not afford to do this for their kids, and they really appreciate that we are willing to do this and include their children. Things are hard for a lot of people, and to be blunt we live in an area full of poor people just like us. It’s only money after all. Making 19 kids happy, giving them positive memories and maybe a much needed bear friend is worth it. After all you’re only a kid once.

Build a Bear Birthday Party was a Success please read all about the party.


  1. The party was wonderful, the kids loved it and so did the parents.

  2. Its very beautiful in this shop :) We've made a Bear too there! Very Sweet.

  3. I hope your Build-a-Bear party turned out great! Just wanted to let you know that there's a less expensive alternative that you can do at home - Noah's Ark Animal Workshop - and the kids get to handstuff the animals:)
    Visit for details.