Rani Wallace and her family are going on a bear hunt through Queanbeyan. They're gonna catch a big one! It's a beautiful day, and they're not scared, either of bears or the bug.
This morning, they walked through the suburbs, spotting teddy bears in windows, their arms up as if waving; banana yellow Minions on rooftops; and pop-eyed Pig the Pug with his storybook.
"They loved it," Rani said. "We ended up walking 4.8 km; they wanted to keep going for more, where usually we walk down the street, and they ask: Can we go home now? But because we were searching for the bears, and they were excited, we kept going and going."
For young families like Rani's, boredom may be one of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown. Her three boys are all under eight - and, Rani said, they're going a little bit crazy. "They're not enjoying it at all! But activities like this help."
Inspired by Michael Rosen's classic picture book, London householders began putting stuffed toys in windows this week to entertain bored kids. From there, the idea spread to the USA, New Zealand, and here.
Rani runs the Queanbeyan Christmas Light Trail page on Facebook; she loved the idea and shared it with the community. A dozen houses in town have already taken part.
"It's a great idea to get the kids out and about exercising while maintaining that social distancing," Rani said. "It occupies the kids for a good hour and a half; now it's lunchtime, and the morning's eaten up.
"It's great exercise. I'm really into fitness, and I like to keep my kids active. When we're out looking for teddy bears, they didn't even know they were exercising. You can make a game of it; we were singing, and the three-year old was counting - putting a bit of education into it as well!"
Rani and her family have two stuffed toys at the front of their home: a giant teddy bear in the window, wearing an Easter hat the boys made (the school's parade was cancelled), and a big Easter bunny on the door.
To give a sense of normality, Rani tries to maintain a school routine. "P.E. for us is obviously our bear hunt," she said. "We're going to sit down and make an Easter story later on for English. Our idea was to photocopy our storybook and drop it off into the mailboxes of old people's homes. We're going to do school stuff, but involve the community as well."
If you want to put a teddy bear in your window, let Rani know through https://www.facebook.com/Queanbeyanchristmas.
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