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A pink stuffed bear gazes out of a homeowner's window waiting to be spotted by children playing the teddy bear hunt game.

IRON RANGE — Katelyn Wilson and her two young boys of rural Eveleth are looking forward to heading into Virginia and surrounding communities sometime this week to do a little “hunting.”

Teddy bear hunting, that is.

Residents across the Iron Range have jumped on the teddy bear-hunting bandwagon, placing stuffed bears and sometimes other stuffed critters in their home windows to create a scavenger hunt for youngsters as a fun and safe activity during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I look forward to bringing my boys around town to hunt for bears in our community,” Wilson said. “It’s a great way to get out of the house in a safe way in accordance with social distancing.”

Her sons, Britt, 6, and Lane, 9, are excited to search for the bears, she said.

Teddy bears have been spotted in windows from Hibbing to Virginia, and beyond.

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A teddy bear is attached to a porch railing on First Street in Hibbing Tuesday morning. Stuffed bears are popping up in windows and porches across the region as an informal COVID-19 Teddy Bear Hunt game catches on. The hunt gives children out of school because of the pandemic a fun adventure to take part in during a family walk or car trip in their neighborhood. Children make their own maps of where the bears are located as they search them out.

The craze has been catching on across the country — globally, even, particularly in the United Kingdom — fueled by photos popping up on social media of bears posed creatively in windows in neighborhoods of cities big and small.

The scavenger hunt was inspired by the children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” written by UK author Michael Rosen.

The 73-year-old Rosen is currently in intensive care in a hospital in the UK, suffering from suspected COVID-19, according The Guardian newspaper.

The hashtag #GetWellSoonMichael began to trend Monday night on Twitter. His wife, Emma-Louise Williams, thanked the thousands of people who wished him well.

“Michael is still poorly but continuing to improve. He has been able to eat today and will be getting a more comfortable oxygen mask soon. All good signs. He does know you’ve all been rooting for him with this lovely wave of support,” she wrote on Tuesday.

In some cities around the country, people are even drawing bear prints in chalk on sidewalks for young teddy bear scavengers to follow. And some children are dressing in safari garb as they stroll neighborhoods on the lookout for stuffed animals.

Wilson said the outing with her kindergartener and third grader will be a welcome change of pace from home-schooling and being cooped up inside.

“I’m grateful to everyone for participating and bringing smiles to our kiddos during such a stressful time,” she said.


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