How going on a bear hunt can brighten isolation
A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD girl has turned the region's teddy bear hunt into a homeschooling exercise to keep busy amid lockdowns.
Communities across the globe have dealt with social distancing by placing teddy bears in their homes' windows to create a scavenger hunt-type activity for kids.
Mum-of-two Maria Cunning, whose family has been participating in the bear hunt in Beerburrum, said it had become more than just a game for them.
Her daughter, Mahalia has turned it into a homeschooling exercise and practised her reading, spelling and technology skills by creating a list of addresses and an interactive Google Map of participating houses.
"It's been a great tool for keeping the kids focused on something other than being in self isolation," Ms Cunning said.
"Mahalia has been able to incorporate reading the Facebook posts of where the bears are, writing the street addresses, creating the Google Map and plotting the addresses.
"And while going on the drive, Mahalia was able to read the map and give me directions."
They also built a sign, which Mahalia learnt to measure, saw and stain wood in their backyard, to direct people to the bear hunt on their street.
Peregian Springs resident and schoolteacher Jen Somerville, who spearheaded the Going on a Bear Hunt Facebook page, said there were now more than 500 members with families roaming neighbourhoods from Cooroy to Beerburrum, to see how many teddies they can spot.
"I only just put this out on Saturday night and it's already gaining momentum," Mrs Somerville said.
"Starting this was my way of helping spread some cheer to others and to help me through what's going on.
"It's bringing communities together in times we have never seen before."
Mrs Somerville said the bear hunt was a positive diversion for kids who might not understand why they can't go on play dates with friends.
"Reading people's posts about how their kids are thoroughly enjoying not just the hunt but also setting up displays each day is helping, hopefully not just me, but those families involved," Mrs Somerville said.