And they're fair game for bored kids turned hunters.
The stuffed animals are appearing in windows around the world in global "Teddy Bear Hunts" for children — uniting neighborhoods and giving children an exciting, social-distancing-safe scavenger hunt activity during coronavirus lockdowns.
The hunts are inspired by Michael Rosen’s 1989 children’s book "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt," which opens with the lines, "We’re going on a bear hunt/We’re going to catch a big one/What a beautiful day!/We’re not scared."
Playdates might be on hold, but seeking out the stuffed animals is the new bearable activity.
In northeast Iowa, a group of child hunters spotted more than 250 bears in the windows this weekend, an activity that impressed Raymond, Iowa, mayor Gary Vick.
"Just kind of that community involvement, trying to pacify the children,” Vick told The Courier newspaper. "They’re adapting very well, and they’re keeping their social distance. I’m just amazed at my community for what they’ve done."
Monmouth, Maine, resident Allison Angell told her local TV station that she took her kids on a hunt to forget about COVID-19 for a while.
"For about an hour we didn't think about anything else that was happening in the world," she said. "It was just about the bears. The kids sat in the back seat. My daughter kept a tally. We kept looking, and it was only that, and I had completely forgotten what was going on until we pulled back into the yard."
The bears are appearing in locations as far flung as New Zealand. Canadian journalist and mother of a 4-year-old Daniele Hamamdjian was impressed, tweeting, "To the parent (it’s gotta be a parent) who came up with this idea, THANK YOU. Explaining to a 4-year old why playdates aren’t allowed anymore is heartbreaking, so 'Going on a Bear Hunt' during our walks is the distraction we needed."
To the parent (it’s gotta be a parent) who came up w/ this idea, THANK YOU. Explaining to a 4yr-old why playdates aren’t allowed anymore is heartbreaking, so “Going on a Bear Hunt” during our walks is the distraction we needed. Our street right now:#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/aOhSlmJsVJ— Daniele Hamamdjian (@DHamamdjian) March 22, 2020