Hunting for stuffed animals becoming a popular activity among families during coronavirus

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Participants are placing stuffed bears in their windows for families driving by to try to find as part of a "bear hunt" during the coronavirus pandemic. (WCHS/WVAH)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) – The idea is a simple one, but it’s bringing communities together while staying safely apart.

If you drive down Cabin Creek Road, it’s impossible not to notice all the bears just hanging out.

“I really just wanted to find something to do for families that didn’t involve a lot of contact from the outside world,” MaryAnn Taylor said.

It’s part of a bear hunt, based off the popular children’s book by Michael Rosen called "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt."

Participants place stuffed bears in their windows for families driving by to try to find.

Taylor saw the idea on Facebook and it’s quickly spreading in the Cabin Creek area among people of all ages.

“I’ve seen a lot of people,” Taylor said. “My aunt and uncle – they’re not kids – and even they went out a did it. My mom went out and did it. I’ve seen every age group out doing this.”

Alisha Carper said it’s amazing how quickly the idea has spread.

“We’ve counted, so far, 15 bears and we’re not quite done yet,” Carper said. “We’ve heard there’s almost 100 now and it’s amazing how quickly the word has spread.”

It’s not just in Cabin Creek, the bears are popping up in communities all over the region. You can find them in Point Pleasant, too.

“I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot of participation, but I was shocked,” Meagan Bonecutter said. “Almost everybody in our neighborhood now is doing it.”

Berklee Bonecutter said participants have been getting creative with where they place their bear.

“This one neighbor we have is so creative, they put it in their chimney and then today they had it in a tree with an umbrella so it wouldn’t get wet while it was raining,” Berklee said.

Bonecutter said the idea has spread far and wide in the Point Pleasant area as well.

“It’s starting to spread countywide, which is kind of what we wanted to see in case we get cooped up for a while,” Bonecutter said. “We can take some longer drives and see some bears and just have some fun for the kids, or even the adults too.”

Bonecutter said it’s a great way to bring communities together during a time they’re being asked to stay apart.

“Everybody wants to provide a smile for someone else during this time and I think we’ve kind of found a solution for the time being to do that,” Bonecutter said.

The idea is to go on the bear hunts as families, not in big groups, so that you’re following social distancing guidelines.

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