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Going on a bear hunt

With everyone under the governor’s Stay-at-Home Order, parents and caregivers are looking for fun and creative ways to entertain their children, all while practicing social distancing.

A few Farmville citizens, following the lead of many other neighborhoods in surrounding counties and across the country, have begun a county-wide “Bear Hunt.”

The hunt is inspired by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s 1989 children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” In the story, a group of children overcomes obstacles to “catch a big one” while out on their hunt.

In Farmville and Prince Edward County, families have the opportunity to drive around looking for stuffed bears and other stuffed animals, all the while singing the popular children’s song, “We’re going on a bear hunt.”

Sandy Yeatts, who has placed a bear in two of her upstairs dormer windows, says children can come by and find the country bears hanging out.

“I just think it’s a great idea to give kids a fun thing to do and makes their parents happy to see smiles on their children’s faces,” Yeatts said. “It’s something to bring happiness during a time that a lot of kids don’t understand.”

For Crystal Paulette, she said the bear hunt has made “all the difference in the world” to her two children.

“My children have been isolated for two weeks, they have not seen relatives or friends, and do not truly understand why,” Paulette said. “Taking a Sunday drive through town and seeing all of the teddy bears in the windows made them giggle and smile.”

Morgan Mahan says her daughter has enjoyed doing something different by going out looking for bears and other animals.

“She enjoys picking her favorites along the way,” Mahan said. “I also think the bear hunts are a fun and easy way to engage children and families during this challenging time. They display unity in our communities.”

Unity and helping to brighten someone’s day is why Allison Travis said she and her daughter decided to place two stuffed animals in their windows.

“I have been looking at different ways to give back and help out during this time,” Travis said.

“I feel like this is a very small way of bringing a smile to anyone’s face who might happen to walk or drive by and see them, especially children or even elderly people who are needing something to brighten their day. It’s all about helping each other. We are all in this together, and I think it’s also a reminder to others to look for a way to help our neighbors out.”

Citizens can get in on the bear hunt fun by placing a stuffed bear in a window of their home, so when families go for car rides or walk during this quarantine, they can hunt for bears.

Photos by Crystal Vandegrift