A nationwide teddy bear hunt has recently been set up in Dubbo to provide a nice distraction for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative has been welcomed by communities across the country after it first kicked off in the Australian Capital Territory when Canberra residents began joining in on the fun.
Teddy bears and other soft toys have been placed in windows, trees and on balconies to create some social-distancing surprise for families as they are still allowed to go for drives or exercise walks and bike rides.
A Facebook page, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Dubbo', was created on Monday for participants across the city to post their addresses to be included in the hunt.
An interactive Google map has also been created to help guide participants on their bear hunts.
The Facebook group now has more than one hundred participants and more than 600 members.
Two-year-old Lucy Horn went searching for teddy bears in Dubbo with her nannie earlier this week and Dubbo couple Melanie and Matthew Kaye took their son Oliver on a bike ride around their neighbourhood and have participated in the initiative by putting their own bears on display.
Mrs Kaye said the initiative gives something for local kids to look forward to in such a grim time.
"It's also an opportunity to get families out of the house for some exercise and fresh air, allowing a break from the isolation of staying home," she added.
It's heartwarming to see so many Dubbo families (and businesses) participatingMelanie Kaye
"I worry about the impact of isolation on the mental health of children and their families.
"My son lives with autism, his whole routine has been turned upside down and he is struggling to cope with the isolation.
"I am thankful that so many people in my neighbourhood have participated so he was able to go on a beautiful adventure."
Mrs Kaye said Oliver, who is four-years-old, was "delighted" to see all the teddies and other toys put on display in their windows.
"The following day, he remembered particular houses and asked to return for another look," Mrs Kaye explained.
"It's heartwarming to see so many Dubbo families (and businesses) participating."
The nationwide teddy bear hunt is inspired by the children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
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