Neighborhood effort keeps kids active, entertained

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Cannon, Kinsley and Kiarra Young went on a “bear hunt” in Marquette’s bench neighborhood last week. It’s part of an effort by residents to display items like shamrocks, teddy bears and Easter eggs in or outside their homes, then have local kids try to discover them all. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The first activity was on St. Patrick’s Day, and 32 homes participated, displaying over 100 shamrocks.

Now, kids are on the hunt for Easter eggs. It helps them remain active and entertained while they’re home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Shamrocks in the window one week. Teddy bears the next. Now, Easter eggs are popping up.

No, residents in Marquette’s bench neighborhood don’t just like decorating for holidays. It’s all part of an effort to keep local kids active and entertained while they’re home from school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The idea is for kids to travel around the neighborhood—while maintaining social distancing recommendations—and discover how many of a particular object they can find displayed in or outside people’s homes. Any items inside the home are hung in a window or door, where they can be safely spotted from the sidewalk.

“I was scrolling online and saw the idea and thought it would be something cute to do,” said Dacia Warrington, who spearheaded the effort. She shared it with a Facebook group of fellow bench residents, and it quickly took off.

During the first round, which was held St. Patrick’s Day, 32 homes participated. Families counted as many as 106 shamrocks.

In the Facebook group, “people were saying, ‘Oh, we found this many,’” comparing their totals, Warrington said. “It’s fun.”

Last week, kids went on a “bear hunt,” and now they’ll search for eggs, in anticipation of Easter. Warrington sees the activity continuing as long as people are instructed to remain at home to limit the coronavirus spread.

“The kids need something to do,” she said. “And things like this are important because it gives them a sense of normalcy. It’s something that’s not scary—something to get their mind off it.”

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