AvaStars: New interactive toy experience comes to Oakbrook Center

It never fails; when the holiday season rolls around each year, and my daughter’s eyes begin to twinkle with thoughts of snowmen, Santa and of course, presents, I can’t help but reminisce about the times when I, too, would feel giddy with anticipation over what could be waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

If you go

AvaStars Grand Opening weekend


Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. – Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.

Oakbrook Center (Free standing enclosed kiosk between Macy’s and Lord and Taylor)


100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523


A staple on my gift wish list each year was a new doll. And for good reason: Gift a child a doll and watch their imagination soar. I remember spending hours creating my own worlds and adventures with my dolls and their friends. It was the best part of Christmas for me and I couldn’t wait until Dec. 25 rolled around.

Luckily, Chicago area families don’t have to wait until December for Christmas to arrive. AvaStars – a new interactive product program that teaches kids to dream their biggest dreams – debuts on Friday, Nov. 21 at Oakbrook Center in a Grand Opening ceremony that includes raffles and a chance to meet Chicago Bears’ kicker Robbie Gould.

The four-part experience takes kids on a journey where whatever they dream for their futures can come true. The best part? The opportunity for kids to create their very own doll or action figure in their likeness.

For $40, kids begin by choosing one of nine dream careers at the Possibility Portal: pop star, princess, fashionista, cheerleader, veterinarian, firefighter, member of the special forces, cool rocker or martial artist. (More characters are on the way in early 2015.)

Then, they customize the doll or action figure to look just like them by choosing an eye color, and a hair and skin color combo.

Finally, they place the order (parents can step in to handle this part) and voila! Their look-a-like keepsake will be mailed out within about two weeks.

In the meantime, the digital journey continues aboard the AvaStarShip where 3D imaging technology takes photos of their face, transforms them into an avatar and implants them into the middle of a short video where they can see themselves as the character they just created. The video is available to download immediately and kids can enjoy watching it over and over again from home.

The message of AvaStars is one every parent can get behind: The star inside is you. I love the idea that there is a product out there that is helping me teach my daughter that anything and everything is possible because she dreamed it.

My daughter and I each made a doll (a princess and a fashionista) and I can’t wait for them to arrive. We have a ton of adventures to begin.

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