Since the lockdown in Belgium families are searching for original and fun activities to do with their kids. And as we have multiple mom-bloggers in our team, we’re going to share some inspirational quarantine games to play with the family. Today we start with the bear hunt.
Going out for our daily walk or run session was never as important as it is nowadays. Also with kids it is fun to go outside, to have a family moment and being thankful for the time you spend together. And did you notice something while walking around the neighborhood with your kids? Maybe you spot a bear or multiple ones sitting at the houses windows. We secretly hope you did as this means that people are aware of the awesome hunt that’s going on since a couple of weeks.
Your kids will remember the adventures you went on, not the stuff you bought them. Kids outgrow stuff, they never outgrow adventures.
The story behind bear hunting
‘We’re going on a bear hunt’, the popular book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury (1995), is the inspiration behind this gesture. It all started in Australia and the UK were they would ask people to place a stuffed bear behind their window. An initiative that motivates the kids to go outside for a walk during the lockdown. It keeps them active, avoids them to be stuck behind the television or other devices and it’s a fun moment to spend together as a family.
Other countries picked this up and now it’s becoming quite popular in Belgium as well. Lots of people are sharing the idea on Social Media and even our national news reporters have picked it up. There are even people who collect all the addresses in the city! This helps you to organize a whole tour around your neighborhood.
Our mom bloggers went on a hunt
Joke and Stephanie are mom bloggers and writing for Blogzine.be. As they are currently at home with their children, they wanted to go on a bear hunt themselves and today they share their experiences with you.
Bear hunting in Ghent
Joke, mother of Liam, 8 years old: “I love this. I’m more like a stay-at-home person and you will need to give me a great reason to get me out of my house. Now with the self-isolation it’s even getting worse as I’m totally not in the mood to go out. But this week I needed to get some groceries and my son came with me. It actually was so much fun! While walking to the store we searched for the bears in the streets. And because we became so curious about who would be friendly enough to get a bear in front of the window, we decided to put the groceries at home and make a big walk for one extra hour.”
While going on the tour, Joke took pictures of the different bears she found and counted them as well. She was surprised by the many bears at the windows in Ghent. And even if some are loving the idea, others are asking to stop. This because of the social distancing measures since the lockdown took place in March. We understand these concerns, however we noticed that all the parents were loving the search and were keeping the necessary distance.
Joke also said: “The thing that got my attention was the fact that people were so relaxed! Everyone I saw wished me a ‘good day’. This wasn’t the case at all before the lockdown. It looks like the distance between people is bringing us more together and it warms my heart.”
Bear hunting in Mechelen
Stephanie, Annabel Julie’s mom, 2.5 years old: “After two weeks of sticking to the “stay in your house” rule, I had enough of it. When I felt suffocated inside the house and thought it was time to take a walk outside. But since my daughter is not a big fan of the stroller, I had my doubts about going outside. Until I remembered the whole bear hunt! When I told her we were going bear hunting, she sat down in the stroller without a murmur. I was completely unprepared and had no idea where and if I would encounter bears. But it soon became clear to me that the neighborhood in which we lived had done their best.”
“Everywhere we walked by you could see one or more bears at the window. Annabel thought it was all a crazy sight and said: “Look mama bear!” Although at first I was a bit scared to end up in the situation of having too many people together, I have to honestly admit that I didn’t meet anyone outside. Only a jogger and some cyclists.
Besides the fact that the bear hunt is a fun extra for children, Stephanie thinks that the best thing about this initiative is that it no longer made her feel like I’m in some scary movie. When she came outside there was a peaceful atmosphere, the bears brightened up the whole situation a bit and that’s the beauty of the initiative.
Go out for a walk and discover
Since the initiative started, the bear hunt also got upgrades. This for older children and the parents. For example: there are assignment sheets that you can take with you. If you see two bears, you sing the bear song. If you see a white bear you turn around and it goes on. The whole bear hunt goes fast and is a huge success. But we all remember the Pokémon fuss a few summers ago. Suddenly, hordes of people went looking for Pokémons, which isn’t the intention in corona times.
During the bear hunt, the same guidelines apply. Keep your distance and be alone with your own family on the street. The bear hunt is only meant as extra fun while taking a stroll. So if you go bear hunting with the children, keep your social distance and enjoy the walk.