Neighborhood 'Bear Hunts' Are Here To Occupy Kids While Social Distancing

Stuffed bear in window
Courtesy of Maria Guido

Need a fresh way to distract your kid from social distancing boredom? Say hello to “stuffed animal safaris”

ICYMI, the federal government just extended social distancing guidelines through April 30. Although, we probably don’t have to tell you that. You’ve undoubtedly been watching the news like us, anxiously awaiting the green light to go out into the world — let’s be real, if you have kids, the walls have started to close in, right? With schools closed indefinitely at the moment, life at home has gotten a lot more chaotic thanks to the novel coronavirus.

But parents are nothing if not resourceful, so it’s not altogether surprising that some genius out there (likely a mama, holla!) created a clever new way to fight social distancing boredom. In full disclosure, though, it means you’ll have to take a walk on the wild side. Why? You’re rounding up your brood and heading out on a “bear hunt.”

That’s right; communities are coming together to give kids a much-needed distraction during these trying times… not to mention a good and still social-guidelines-acceptable excuse to get out of the house. The idea appears to have been inspired by the classic 1989 children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. And if you can believe it, it’s even cuter than it sounds.

Photographic evidence of these apex predators popping up in neighborhoods all over the world have been surfacing on social media, from Australia to the U.S. Explained one participant who shared a photo of a bear in her home (gasp!), “My neighborhood is asking families to put a teddy bear in the window so families can go on a walk for a ‘Bear Hunt.’ Such a great way to get people out of their homes at staggered times to get fresh air. Our little ones need this distraction and so do adults.”

If you’re interested in taking your stir-crazy little ones on a walkabout to track bears, you have a few options. You can start by checking out the “Going on a Bear Hunt” website that has popped up to check for known Grizzly stomping grounds. Or, if your neighborhood doesn’t show up on the map, you can kickstart this movement in your own community. If you need inspo, spend a little time scrolling the #GoingOnABearHunt thread — it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

And if you’re feeling really inspired, you don’t have to stop with just bears. In Florida, communities have expanded the fun to include all sorts of creatures in the animal kingdom. Like the bear hunts, these “stuffed animal safaris” offer kids a fun respite from being stuck in the house 24/7. Plus, watching your kids get creative as they play along with this special type of social distancing activity is priceless.