The excitement of school’s cancellation faded for kids once the COVID-19 stay-at-home order closed parks and banned gatherings.
No playgrounds? No friends? No fun.
Neighborhoods around Clark County — even around the country — have responded by inviting kids to hunt for bears.
No, bears wandering out of the woods haven’t suddenly overrun city streets. Inspired by Michael Rosen’s 1989 children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” residents are propping stuffed bears — and bunnies, elephants and other plush toys — in their windows for kids to spot.
The “hunts” coax kids outside to get some fresh air while still complying with the social distancing necessary to curb the novel coronavirus’s spread.
Nextdoor.com and other social media sites are full of posts from people participating.
Tara Hackett, a resident of the Lincoln neighborhood, encouraged her children, 9-year-old Lucy and 10-year-old Henry, to join the hunt.
When they didn’t find any bears in nearby windows, Hackett suggested her children write notes to leave on front porches. Hackett figured if nothing else, it was a good home-school writing assignment.
“We wrote 60 notes,” Lucy said.
“No, more than that,” her brother countered. “Like 70.”
In any case, they handed out a couple dozen notes at a time. The response was swift.
“After we handed out 20 notes, we thought we would find two or three bears. We found 11,” Henry said.
“I was so excited!” Lucy said.
The bear hunt is an antidote to the gravity of the pandemic and the social isolation it has forced.
“This is a fun, cheerful thing to do,” Hackett said. “It’s an easy way for people to feel like they’re doing something for someone.”