Triangle residents are finding ways to keep children excited and entertained while school is closed due to the spread of the coronavirus. 

Houses in the Raleigh’s Oakwood neighborhood are participating in a “bear hunt,” but don’t worry: no animals will be harmed in the process. Families simply place a teddy bear in a visible area of their home, like on a windowsill or a porch, and kids walk through the neighborhood, checking off as they find the stuffed animals.

Oakwood resident and mom Meghan Melo got the idea to set up a local bear hunt from seeing the success of other bear hunts online. 

“We have a friend in Durham and their neighborhood did it,” said Melo. “She sent me a little video of her and her son doing [the bear hunt] and I was like, ‘Oh, that’d be a really easy thing to put together in the neighborhood and keep the kids entertained.’”

After sending an email to her neighborhood listserv, over 120 houses signed up for the bear hunt. According to Melo, parents were replying within hours to participate. 

“My kids have been really getting into it,” said Melo.

For families like Melo’s, walking around the neighborhood is one of the only options to get kids out of the house and active during the coronavirus shutdown. 

Even Raleigh city councilor David Cox joined in on the fun this week, sneaking a purple Beanie Baby into the frame during the council’s virtual meeting Tuesday. 

Oakwood’s neighborhood hunt has a Google Map that includes all of the participating homes. Families interested in joining in the hunt can print out a checklist and use the map for navigation. Happy hunting!

The story has been updated to correct the spelling of Melo’s name. 

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