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Folks Are Setting Up Neighborhood ‘Bear Hunts’ To Keep Kids Busy While Social Distancing

bear hunts

Now that social distancing guidelines have been extended through April 30th to continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s time for parents to get creative with how they keep stuck at home kids entertained.

Luckily, some brilliant mom or dad out there had the idea to set up a “bear hunt” for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. People are putting stuffed bears in their windows so that kids on walks with their families can find them. Kind of like an analog, quarantine-approved Pokémon GO.

The scavenger hunt is inspired by the 1989 children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. In the book, a family and their dog weather a snowstorm, mud, and a river on their hunt for bears.

The stuffed bears are appearing in windows all over the world, from the US to Australia and New Zealand.

In northeast Iowa, children impressed the mayor after they spotted 250 bears in windows last weekend.

“Just kind of that community involvement, trying to pacify the children,” Raymond, Iowa mayor, Gary Vick told The Courier. “They’re adapting very well, and they’re keeping their social distance. I’m just amazed at my community for what they’ve done.”

Allison Angell of Monmouth Maine told local media she and her children became so immersed in the hunt that she almost forgot about the coronavirus pandemic, “For about an hour we didn’t think about anything else that was happening in the world… It was just about the bears. The kids sat in the back seat. My daughter kept a tally. We kept looking… and I had completely forgotten what was going on until we pulled back into the yard.”

At a time when school and playdates are impossible, the much-needed distraction helps communities with young kids who can’t always understand what is going on stay connected.

Plus the hunt gives us all an excuse to safely break out of lockdown, even for just a moment.

In Canada, journalist and mother, Daniele Hamamdjian tweeted her gratitude.

For more information about the bear hunts happening all around us check out the “Going On A Bear Hunt” website that just popped up or find inspiration on the #Goingonabearhunt thread.

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca