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If you've never gone to a Build-a-Bear Workshop and you're a fan of teddy bears, you're really missing out. If you have a custom-made bear from the workshop however, the next place you need to go to is the Buildabearville website. Even if you haven't made a teddy bear in one of these unique retail outlets however, this is a site you really need to check out. Buildabearville is teddy bear-filled fun for the whole family, and its sure to bring out the kid in you. Lets take a look at just what this unique and cheery place has to offer.
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Bears Never Looked This Good
As soon as you get to the site, you can definitely tell this is a kid-friendly place. But its not so over-the-top that parents can't have a little fun as well. The website is very cartoon-like, featuring some warm colors and a nice tour guide to help you get around. The load times - possibly due to the graphics and design - were a little slower than some web pages I've seen, but it's about comparable to other sites of this type.
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Cool Tunes For Fuzzy Ears
In addition to a great look, the site sports decent audio to go along with the young theme. Your introductory guide will speak to you as she helps you through the signup, and there are areas where music plays in the background. And of course, who would want to miss out on the sounds of the minigames you get to explore. So make sure you have your speakers turned on to get the full effect. Its not something you want to miss out on.
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This Bear-y Nice Town Has It Alll
From the moment you start creating your personal avatar - or one for your child if you're helping them along - you get the idea that a lot of work has gone into creating a fully functional online world for teddy bear fans. Buildabearville is a town where you can meet friends online, play minigames, and extend your love of teddy bears beyond the one sitting on your bed. There is of course a way to shop for more teddy bears or accessories, but its nicely unobtrusive and doesn't detract from the fun. This is a big bonus in my book, because you can just have fun and its free. There are of course areas that you can't get to unless you have a furry friend from one of the retail stores, but even without a Build-a-Bear teddy you can still play many of the games and browse around.
The minigames are quite fun, and they can actually be very challenging. The Bear Hugging game I found almost addictive. Think of Whack-a-Mole where the object is instead to hug teddy bears as they pop up through the clouds. It was very fast-paced and I can definitely see my young one asking me to play along with them. The availability of chat, emotes, and avatars are something I can see my much older niece being interested in, which shows the designers were thinking of a very broad age range. The site does seem to be more bent towards females - every "male" avatar customization choice still seemed a bit female to me - but younger male children who enjoy teddy's will most likely still enjoy the content available.
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Overall Buildabearville is a great site, particularly if you already have a teddy of your own. But even if you don't, there is a great deal of content and enjoyment to be had by both children and parents alike. Its nicely designed, has good visuals, good sound quality, and compelling minigames. The online community aspect is nice as well, particularly for those slightly older children. If you're looking for a decent site online that your kids can visit and enjoy, this is one that really can't be beat. Who knows, you might just crack a smile yourself as you hug a teddy.