The city’s kids can’t go to school, can’t see their friends and now even the playgrounds are closed. Instead, they’re going hunting.
Teddy bear hunting, that is. Neighbors across the five boroughs have been doing simple acts to help distract and entertain kids who are cooped up at home. They’re creating scavenger hunts so kids can walk the streets — at a socially responsible distance, of course — and look for teddy bears hiding in windows, rainbows posted on doors and other symbols of hope peeking out from quarantined apartments.
“As you can imagine, it’s kind of hard right now with two little kids; my husband and I are both working,” says Elisia Abrams, a lawyer who was looking for ways to balance working from home and entertaining her 3- and 5-year-old sons.
Abrams had seen posts on social media about other communities across the country doing a teddy bear hunt, inspired by the kids’ book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” She proposed it to her Lenox Five 127th Street Block Association and the idea quickly took off: Now the association’s Facebook page lists more than 40 bears, and neighborhood kids are delighting in getting out of the house to track them down.
“People have had some really touching responses,” she says.
One neighbor didn’t have a bear, so he sewed one from scratch using old socks, shoelaces and buttons. The teddy bear trend has already spread to other neighborhoods, and others are talking about doing Easter egg hunts next week.
Marisa Migdal, a producer, had a similar idea for her two bored daughters in Cobble Hill after seeing people around the world putting rainbows in their windows. She floated the idea to a Brooklyn moms message board and it went viral. Another parent made a Google map to keep track of them, so now kids can hunt down 250 rainbows — many made by other kids — in every corner of the city. It’s also a symbol of hope for stressed parents, a reminder that New York neighborhoods remain tight-knit, even when you can’t see your neighbors.
“Now if you go out you don’t need a map, it’s just everywhere,” Migdal says. “The kids are so excited to spot one and see if there’s a kid to wave to. Any kind of connection during this time is nice. It makes me tear up every single time.”