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Two teddies in a window
Photograph: Nicola Dowse

Here’s why people in Melbourne are putting teddy bears in their front windows

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Written by
Nicola Dowse
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The next time you go for your once-daily government-approved walk around your neighbourhood, keep an eye out for bears. Teddy bears have started popping up in front windows around Melbourne (and Australia) as a way to bring children a little bit of joy during Covid-19 shutdowns.

The game is pretty simple. Anyone can put one or multiple teddies in a window that can be seen from your street, giving local children and their parents the opportunity to go on “bear hunts” around the neighbourhood. It’s a fun, cheap and socially responsible way to get kids engaging with the world during the current health crisis.

As with many trends that start out online, now one is quite sure this whimsical fad began. The ABC has reported people putting out teddies as far away as the US, but there are plenty of people engaging with bear hunts in Australia, too. In Melbourne, Officer resident Melissa Kleynhans has even started a Facebook page encouraging people to put out their teds for children to spot.

Speaking with 3AW, Kleynhans said: “My three-year-old loves to go on a bear hunt and with the whole social distancing, and it’s such a tragic time for our nation, I thought it would be something fun for the community to get involved in.”

Since then lots more bear hunt Facebook groups and events have popped up, with people posting pictures of their bears or ones they’ve spotted out walking with their kids. If you want to get involved simply pop a teddy (or another stuffed animal) in your window and then go for a trot around your neighbourhood to discover more (or join a Facebook group for specific locations).

Here's how to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays (and while in isolation).

And here's our favourite kids shows that are streaming right now.

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